My job in F1: Brake engineer at Brembo

Motorsport.com met Andrea Pellegrini in the Formula 1 paddock. The Italian engineer talked about his job at Brembo.

My job in F1: Brake engineer at Brembo

Andrea Pellegrini is race engineer and Program Manager at Brembo, the Italian producer of high performance brake components.

The company is located in Curno, Italy and supply brake discs, pads, callipers and/or master cylinders to the Formula 1 teams that are under contracts: Mercedes AMG, Ferrari, Toro Rosso, Red Bull Racing, Sauber, Renault and Haas (the American team is also testing the brake components of another supplier).

My job consists in...

I started at Brembo in 2005. My job is to attend most race weekends, and to make sure that everything runs smoothly. We are supplying teams with discs, master cylinders, pads and callipers, and I have to make sure that the teams have everything they need in hand for the weekend.

Ferrari SF70-H front brake and wheel hub detail
Ferrari SF70-H front brake and wheel hub detail

Photo by: Sutton Images

What your typical weekend programme?

On the Thursday prior to the Grand Prix, I am conducting meetings with all our teams and review the plans for the weekend. I talk with the drivers, the chief mechanics and the track engineers. Not all tracks require the same level of energy; the most difficult being Montréal, Monza and Singapore. It’s important for the teams to set-up the braking system to the best for each circuit. We have different disc cooling solutions, disc sizes and master cylinders to suit the braking requirements.

On Friday, we start collecting data from the telemetry, such as the temperature of the discs and the callipers – front and rear to help balance the car - check the pressure and the maximum torque, and make sure everything is correct. We have the calliper temperature sensor and the master cylinder travel sensor, so we know the force exerted by the driver on the pedal and the travel of the brake pedal.

On Saturday, we make some adjustments. The track changes a lot during the weekend. We usually start with little grip, the grip improves a lot, day after day. Consequently, the braking performance increases too. We must make sure that the temperatures are kept low during practice and qualifying to ensure that they don’t go beyond the maximum limit during the race.

On Sunday, I don't have not much to do, to be honest. I attend the start of the race, then I get in the garages and I cross my fingers that everything runs smoothly. The teams tell their drivers how to adjust the brake balance if the front or the rear brakes start to overheat. The teams will also warn their drivers if the discs are getting dangerously thin.

Most important aspect of your job

I’d say its confidentiality. Discretion. I have access to the garages and I see the data being transmitted by telemetry. I must keep all that information for myself and not divulge sensitive knowledge to other teams.

Red Bull Racing brake system, Brembo
Red Bull Racing brake system, Brembo

Photo by: XPB Images

Three tools that are essential to my job

My laptop computer, of course, my smartphone to be in contact with my colleagues in Italy and a lot of passion for Formula 1.

People I’m always in contact with

My boss, of course, my colleagues from the research and development department and the other technical engineers at Brembo.

When you're away from motorsport...

I am at the office. I must analyse a lot of data, find new solutions and materials, new ideas to keep the company on top. I’m also in contact with the team to plan the production and delivery of parts and components.

Sebastian Vettel and Maurizio Arrivabene, Ferrari Team Principal at Brembo factory
Sebastian Vettel and Maurizio Arrivabene, Ferrari Team Principal at Brembo factory

Photo by: Brembo

What is your hobby?

I really enjoy working on my motorcycles and ride them on beautiful roads.

F1 is...

It’s like a second family for me. I have a lot of friends here in the paddock. I like my job a lot. I like being here and talk to drivers, the engineers. I really like the Formula 1 cars. You know, I started working in F1 at the Bahrain Grand Prix in 2005. It was also my birthday. It was amazing. I was like a little child at Christmas!

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