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As I was watching today’s USGP, I listen to someone explain the heal toe method. He, of course, had a manual clutch. Another said many F-1 drivers are using their left foot on the brake. I said, “Whoa! I have followed too many left footed brake people. Their brake lights are always on. The brakes are wearing.”

Is this what happen today? As I was driving to an event, I caught up with a 360. I noticed the Ferrari a ways away in front of me because it rear lights were on. At the event, he told me his was an F-1. Do F-1 drivers driver using their left foot for the brakes?
 

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Hmmm - good question.

I'm afraid I don't have a definitive answer, as I'm not an F1 driver but I can give you an opinion.

The thought of an F1 driver left foot braking strikes me as rather odd.

The whole point of Heel/Toe or Left foot braking is to ensure that the engine revs don't fall too far while you're on the clutch, and mess up the smooth transition down the gearbox when you come off the clutch.

With an F1 gearbox obviously you don't have a clutch, but you DO still have to take into account the effects of engine braking. If you're charging down the gearbox "ahead" of your braking, you can still reach a point where the effects of the engine braking outweigh the effects of the brakes - upsetting the smooth weight transfer associated with braking. But to do that you'd be crucifying the engine by left foot braking so you can keep the engine revs high enough (with your right foot) to overcome the problem. This doesn't sound like a very clever idea at all!!

On the other hand, if during braking, you're not changing down quite as agressively - i.e. so the primary stopping force is always the brakes, then I can't think of a reason why you'd want to left foot brake.

Alternatively, I could be talking complete rubbish, so feel free to call me a fool if someone actually DOES know the answer!!!

Bazil
 

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Yup.

No heel and toeing in F1/SMG type transmissions.

Left foot braking would be the logical thing to do to improve roll on reaction times and braking reaction times.

It is definitely prevalent in rally racing and it is not uncommon even in stick shift cars.

Cheers
 

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Yes, that's what I thought. I would imagine the left foot on the brake would give the driver more confidence into turns and such because their reaction time would be much better. They therefore would take turns at higher speed because they feel safer. It definitely takes skill to start using two feet with an F1 transmission. Also, after you are coordinated enough, it is advantageous to use two feet instead of one in almost every possible scenario.
 

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Another reason that makes it advantageous is when you brake hard the tires will grip more, but if you downshift the same effect doesn't happen. Using the left to brake will give you more control as well as increase your exit speed on the turn.

Interesting topic Bart. Thanks for bringing it up.
 

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I attended the Ferrari Pilota course at Mugello in April 2000 and then the Advanced Course at Fiorano in June 2002. In both courses the director of the course Mr Andrea de Adamich told us not to left-foot brake. The advantage that you gain is in the 1/100 of a sec and it is not worth it. For a race driver 1/100 sec a lap may mean winiing or losing but for normal drivers it makes no difference. Even Rubens and David Coulthard do not left foot brake and they still perform well. So left-foot braking is an ego trip as far as normal drivers are concerned.

I race karts and left foot braking is a must, because the steering column is between your legs. Yes it is great to balance the trottle and the brakes as you go around corners and that is the way to drive the cart. You have to slide the kart a bit to get the best time. But sliding a car by by balancing the trottle with the brakes will certainly end you in the ditch. The moment the car slides, most ordinary drivers will not be able to control the car.

I have driven my 360 around Sepang "trying" to left foot brake. It is all right when I slam the brakes hard to the maximum but gentle touch to facilitate changing direction, I either get it too much or too little brake. the left foot is not used to finesse the brake. Besides hitting the home straight and changing to 6th as you hit 220kph and then having to brake hard and full with just 160 metres to the apex with your left foot is something that you'll pray hard hoping that you'll pull it off. You can do it pussy footing around the track. But on an all-out drive, left foot braking is best left to the professionals. When it's decision time I bet you'll love your car more than you ego.

I was taken around Sepang by the Ferrari Pilota Instructor in a demo lap in a Stradale. And even he didn't left-foot brake. So left-foot braking is nothing to boast about. Sounds good to those who don't know though.
 
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