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Drivers breathing in brake dust?


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#1 SophieB

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 15:46

This sounds concerning.

 

@autosport

Vettel is asked about having black dust on his face post-race:

 
"To be honest with you that's something they need to work on because the design of the brake ducts this year, the front axle, it's blowing all the brake dust into our faces and it's not good"
 
#F1 #AustrianGP


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#2 hayabusasc

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 15:54

Definitely something that needs to be looked into and a bit concerning.

#3 ARTGP

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 15:56

Terrifying actually. iirc, these types of carbon brake byproducts don't leave the lungs once ingested.



#4 Jazza

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 16:00

I remember Mika Salo talking about how they found carbon in his lungs several years back.

I was actually thinking just before this race how we don’t see the big clouds of dust in pit stops, or even in hard braking zones anymore. They seem a lot better than 20 years ago. Cars used to literally disappear in a cloud in the pits. But it’s obviously still an issue.

#5 FLB

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 16:01

Definitely something that needs to be looked into and a bit concerning.

Agreed. 

 

Factor of risk in developping COPD.



#6 Ali_G

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 16:03

Assume the dust is going through the venturis and is being blown out the back as a haze?

#7 AlexS

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 16:06

Some of it is inevitable.



#8 Wuzak

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 16:07

Have other drivers had this issue?



#9 gillesfan76

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 16:09

Some of it is inevitable.

 

Yes but that’s not what Vettel is talking about.



#10 Bloggsworth

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 16:20

Pneumoconiosis is a definite future possibility.



#11 Ivanhoe

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 16:25

Well let’s fix that first, before worrying about the smoke of flares shall we.



#12 SophieB

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 16:26

Have other drivers had this issue?

Be interesting to know, Vettel’s words suggested it was more widespread than just him.



#13 OO7

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 16:27

Assume the dust is going through the venturis and is being blown out the back as a haze?

I don't know the exact path of airflow from the brake ducts (other than exiting inboard of the wheels rather than outboard as in previous years), but it wouldn't be into the tunnels.  I assumed he may be talking about cars ahead, but it may be that his front brake ducts are being deflecting the airflow upwards and inwards.


Edited by OO7, 10 July 2022 - 19:33.


#14 P123

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 16:30

 

This sounds concerning.

 

@autosport

Vettel is asked about having black dust on his face post-race:

 
"To be honest with you that's something they need to work on because the design of the brake ducts this year, the front axle, it's blowing all the brake dust into our faces and it's not good"
 
#F1 #AustrianGP

 

 

Definitely something they have to look into.  I remember the 90's or early 00s where nearly every pitstop there was a plume of brake dust that would free itself as the old tyres came off - often thought that must be no good for the mechanics.  I don't think we see it as bad now, but if during a race it is enough to mark the face of a driver despite the balaclava and full face helmet, then a bit of a concern.



#15 ANF

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 17:15

This sounds concerning.
 
@autosport
Vettel is asked about having black dust on his face post-race:
 
"To be honest with you that's something they need to work on because the design of the brake ducts this year, the front axle, it's blowing all the brake dust into our faces and it's not good"
 
#F1 #AustrianGP

Are the brake ducts a standard/spec part this year?



#16 MasterOfCoin

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 17:20

Terrifying actually. iirc, these types of carbon brake byproducts don't leave the lungs once ingested.

Face masks will be mandated to the driver wardrobe requirements soon enough.....



#17 PayasYouRace

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 17:42

I'd have thought the driver's balaclava would be enough to stop them breathing in brake dust.



#18 Fox1

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 18:01

I'd have thought the driver's balaclava would be enough to stop them breathing in brake dust.

 

Very disturbing to see that much carbon dust on his face.  I've always worried about mechanics inhaling carbon dust during pitstops, but what I've seen with Seb is even worse considering the elevated respiration over the space of a GP.



#19 absinthedude

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Posted 10 July 2022 - 19:05

I'd have thought the driver's balaclava would be enough to stop them breathing in brake dust.

 

Which is why it could be concerning. It is a *long* time since racing drivers routinely ended races with faces blackened by brake dust and oil. I used to wonder if the asbestos that used to be in brakes was an issue for racing drivers (it was behind the death of my paternal grandfather, a mechanic on Kent buses). 

 

Presumably it's possible to vent the brake dust out of the drivers' way.



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#20 AustinF1

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 06:02

I'd have thought the driver's balaclava would be enough to stop them breathing in brake dust.

Not sure about the filtering properties of the balaclava, but iirc some of the drivers wear them below their noses rather than over them. It certainly seems like a balaclava with a built-in filter wouldn't be that hard to devise.



#21 Dolph

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 08:20

I remember after Grosjean's Bahrain crash in 2020 that there was a surprise that he had not breathed in smoke, because the filter of the helmet worked so good. Now the carbon break dust is getting into the helmet. At first glance these two realities do not seem to match. I know I'm missing smth, but what that is then? And couldn't the filter then be made better or is there a reason why not? Carbon particles are smaller than smoke particles? On the Mendeleev's table I see that the carbon atom has a mass of 12.01 whilst oxygen is 16.00, so ultimately we are comparing C with mass 12 vs O2 with mass 32 and we want to let in O2, C will also get in?


Edited by Dolph, 11 July 2022 - 08:27.


#22 William Hunt

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 08:24

The fine dust particles from for example brake dust are indeed extremely small particles



#23 SenorSjon

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 08:31

Is it due to the coffee tables on the front wheels?



#24 Clatter

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 08:55

Are the brake ducts a standard/spec part this year?

 


If they were, Mclaren would not have been the only team having brake problems in testing and the early part of the season.

#25 BRG

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 09:04

Well let’s fix that first, before worrying about the smoke of flares shall we.

Really?  Toxic smoke that is being breathed in by thousands of spectators, marshals, other circuit workers, and even the drivers, is less important than something affecting just 20 people at most?

 

And I would hope that even a body as inept as the FIA could handle two issues at once!



#26 PayasYouRace

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 09:08

I don’t think the smoke flares the fans have been bringing are going to be toxic. I mean I wouldn’t make a habit of breathing that stuff, but they’re probably fairly safe. They’re really more of an anti-social problem.

Brake dust can actually be toxic.

#27 Clatter

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 09:17

I don’t think the smoke flares the fans have been bringing are going to be toxic. I mean I wouldn’t make a habit of breathing that stuff, but they’re probably fairly safe. They’re really more of an anti-social problem.

Brake dust can actually be toxic.

 


Without knowing what flares they are it's impossible to say, but many of the ingredients used in flares are toxic, and inhalation should be avoided. No idea how much would be considered "safe".

#28 BRG

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 09:23

These damned flares are getting everywhere these days.  They are being used by idiots in pro-cycling now.  Imagine you are leading a race up a steep climb, gasping for every atom of oxygen, and some muppet lets off a smoke flare right at the roadside.  Just what you need as you breath in the smoke deeply.  It cannot be remotely good to breath in that muck.

 

And how is it people are allowed to take fireworks into the race track, when often other things are banned (eg. booze, glass bottles)?



#29 Clatter

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 09:26

These damned flares are getting everywhere these days.  They are being used by idiots in pro-cycling now.  Imagine you are leading a race up a steep climb, gasping for every atom of oxygen, and some muppet lets off a smoke flare right at the roadside.  Just what you need as you breath in the smoke deeply.  It cannot be remotely good to breath in that muck.

 

And how is it people are allowed to take fireworks into the race track, when often other things are banned (eg. booze, glass bottles)?

 


The risk of fire or being burned must be extremely high. I'm surprised we haven't heard of any injuries associated with their use in these crowded areas.

#30 JimmyClark

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 10:19

These damned flares are getting everywhere these days.  They are being used by idiots in pro-cycling now.  Imagine you are leading a race up a steep climb, gasping for every atom of oxygen, and some muppet lets off a smoke flare right at the roadside.  Just what you need as you breath in the smoke deeply.  It cannot be remotely good to breath in that muck.

 

And how is it people are allowed to take fireworks into the race track, when often other things are banned (eg. booze, glass bottles)?

 

They're becoming more apparent in football too, despite being banned. 



#31 Sterzo

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 10:19

Redesigning the brake ducts may be necessary, but it doesn't sound like a full answer. Scattering the dust more widely is obviously better than squirting it at the driver, but it's still toxic brake dust. Maybe there needs to be some research into better materials. Steel brake discs, anyone? Pads made from hemp rope? Or maybe there's something else that could be developed.



#32 onewingedangel

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 12:02

You'd imagine going the route of a pressurised filtered air intake feed would be the simplest route to go down, but to remove carbon dust perhaps filtering through water (like you get with steam vacuum cleaners) would be more area efficient than a dense air filter.

#33 Wuzak

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 13:03

Be interesting to know, Vettel’s words suggested it was more widespread than just him.

 

I haven't noticed any other driver with the face so dirty. Maybe something to do with Aston's aero?



#34 PlatenGlass

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 13:40

Redesigning the brake ducts may be necessary, but it doesn't sound like a full answer. Scattering the dust more widely is obviously better than squirting it at the driver, but it's still toxic brake dust. Maybe there needs to be some research into better materials. Steel brake discs, anyone? Pads made from hemp rope? Or maybe there's something else that could be developed.

I've often thought about this. We'd probably be better off with less effective brakes anyway with regards to overtaking. Hemp rope it is then.

#35 Tenmantaylor

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 13:44

Having a HEPA filter helmet shouldn't be too difficult.

 

<PM2.5 of any compound can be extremely dangerous for health. From tyres, brakes, exhausts, liquids.

 

If Dyson can do it in this form factor it can fit in a helmet.

 

DysonProductLaunchEdit_02.jpg

 

Who wants to see Max in a Mask?



#36 Pete_f1

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 16:34

I remember 15 or more years ago this was brought up after one ex driver found he had carbon dust in his lungs...

'Former grand prix driver Mika Salo first highlighted the brake dust problem nearly 20 years ago after revealing that doctors found a high content of carbon dust in his lungs during an operation he had after his retired from F1 in 2002.'

#37 cpbell

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 16:37

Not sure about the filtering properties of the balaclava, but iirc some of the drivers wear them below their noses rather than over them. It certainly seems like a balaclava with a built-in filter wouldn't be that hard to devise.

I think the eye-hole type that were common in the '80s should be mandated these days.



#38 SophieB

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 16:41

It is understood that the FIA was made aware of Vettel’s concerns immediately after the Red Bull Ring race, and has now elected to look into the matter as it is involves drivers’ health and safety. 
The FIA has tabled the subject onto the agenda of the next meeting of the Sporting Advisory Committee, which is made up of team members, to see what action can be taken to improve matters.

 
https://www.autospor...cerns/10336654/
 
Good.
 
Article also has this comment, noting Bottas talking about it in 2019:
 

Then Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas revealed that he often sneezed black dust after races after breathing in brake dust through races.
Asked what could be done about the problem, he said: “I don’t know if there is anything that can be done.
“For sure there is some dust from your own brakes but that is minimal. It is the cars ahead, it is always going to be there.
“Any time after the race when you sneeze it is black, so year after year, I am not sure what it does to your body. No idea.
“I think no one ever looked into it. I would rather be breathing clean air, but not sure what can be done.”
 



#39 AustinF1

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 17:01

I remember after Grosjean's Bahrain crash in 2020 that there was a surprise that he had not breathed in smoke, because the filter of the helmet worked so good. Now the carbon break dust is getting into the helmet. At first glance these two realities do not seem to match. I know I'm missing smth, but what that is then? And couldn't the filter then be made better or is there a reason why not? Carbon particles are smaller than smoke particles? On the Mendeleev's table I see that the carbon atom has a mass of 12.01 whilst oxygen is 16.00, so ultimately we are comparing C with mass 12 vs O2 with mass 32 and we want to let in O2, C will also get in?

Helmets aren't sealed off at the bottom or at the visor. I'm not sure what filter there even is, but in order to filter the air entering the helmet in any meaningful way, the inside of the helmets would have to be much more of a sealed-off environment than they are now. IMHO, Grosjean was just extremely lucky he did not get a significant whiff of the hot, toxic gases swirling around him. If he had, he'd likely never get out of that car alive. Even without breathing it in, he was still extremely close to the point of no return. 



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#40 AustinF1

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 17:11

Without knowing what flares they are it's impossible to say, but many of the ingredients used in flares are toxic, and inhalation should be avoided. No idea how much would be considered "safe".

Yep. Any smoke from any fire produces very toxic gases in spades. CO, etc. Smoke from burning rubber, for example, is worse for you than wood smoke, but they're both very bad.



#41 MikeTekRacing

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 18:03

Smoke is really bad, but your car is on fire way less than you use carbon brakes.

I think the brake dust topic is a huge must address. 



#42 masa90

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 19:35

I remember Mika Salo talking about how they found carbon in his lungs several years back.

I was actually thinking just before this race how we don’t see the big clouds of dust in pit stops, or even in hard braking zones anymore. They seem a lot better than 20 years ago. Cars used to literally disappear in a cloud in the pits. But it’s obviously still an issue.

Came here to post this. Actually I think this must be quite a common issue around this sport.



#43 F1 Mike

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 19:50

Yep. Any smoke from any fire produces very toxic gases in spades. CO, etc. Smoke from burning rubber, for example, is worse for you than wood smoke, but they're both very bad.


In the UK in the last few years welding fume extraction has seen some new very strict workplace regulations enforced because of the harmful nature of these fumes. It seems kinda crazy that flares are still allowed in these events. I'd expect the fumes from flares to be just as harmful as from welding.

#44 Roadhouse

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 20:31

In the UK in the last few years welding fume extraction has seen some new very strict workplace regulations enforced because of the harmful nature of these fumes. It seems kinda crazy that flares are still allowed in these events. I'd expect the fumes from flares to be just as harmful as from welding.


Contrary to welding fumes at work you're not spending much time in flare smoke, so it's not really comparable.

#45 GregThomas

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 20:49

There are helmets available now with skirts for sealing and built in filters or access for a pressurised air supply. Have a look at helmets for Nitro burning dragster drivers. 

Wouldn't surprise me if FIM come out with something like a "strong recommendation" to drivers to start wearing something similar.



#46 BoDarvelle

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Posted 11 July 2022 - 21:09

Or, if they are so concerned about it, they can easily wear a dust mask under their helmet.



#47 FirstnameLastname

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Posted 12 July 2022 - 05:28

Or, if they are so concerned about it, they can easily wear a dust mask under their helmet.


A carrier bag over the helmet :thumbsup:

#48 Beri

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Posted 12 July 2022 - 07:59

Ofcourse carbon brake discs are relatively new. Some odd 20 year-ish in circulation now? But I have never heard any driver complain before.

And even before that I would not want to know what went into the lungs of the drivers. But its good that they address this issue. So.. hip hip hurray?



#49 PlatenGlass

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Posted 12 July 2022 - 09:53

I'm surprised nothing was done after the Salo thing. F1 doesn't need carbon brakes does it?

#50 cheekybru

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Posted 12 July 2022 - 10:11

Contrary to welding fumes at work you're not spending much time in flare smoke, so it's not really comparable.


The people in the grandstands were certainly exposed to it for quite a while

https://youtu.be/3U2rRVitQW4

I've seen videos with even more flare smoke than this aswell