Formula 1

Lasies, are you too busy watching those fast cars race around the extravagant circuits, to notice the array of terms repeated by the commentator?!!

Well, why not take a pit stop of your own girls, in the shape of our glossary to help you out with all those F1 terms…

Aerodynamics: An intrinsic part of the Formula 1 car design and a key part of Formula One Engineering. Aerodynamics is concerned with studying the motion of air. The study of airflow over and around an object.

Apex: The middle point of the inside line around the corner, at which the drivers steer their cars. Considered as the ideal racing line!

Ballast: Are fixed weights around the car to maximise the balance, bringing it up to the minimum weight limit.

Barge Board: The piece of body work that is mounted vertically between the front wheels and side pods. Helps to smooth the airflow around the sides of the F1 car.

Blistering: Occurs when the tire overheats. Blistering can be caused by incorrect car set up, high tyre pressure or inapt tyre compound, i.e: when the tyre is too soft or hard for the race conditions.

Body Work: The exterior of the F1 car.

Boots: Is the F1 jargon for the tyres of the car.

Bottoming: As F1 cars are so low to the ground, this is the term used to describe when the underside of the car touches the floor or “bottoms out”

Brake Balance: A switch made in the cockpit, which alters the split in the cars breaking power between the front and the back tyres.

Carbon Fibre: Arrived in F1 in the early 1990’s and transformed F1. It is lighter than steel and makes up most of the car.

Chassis: Is the main part of the car, which the engine and the suspension are attached to.

Chicane: Is a very tight corner or a sequence of alternate tight corners on a circuit. Designed to slow the cars down.

Constructor: Often referred to as the F1 Manufacturer. Otherwise known as the team the driver is driving for.

Cockpit: Is the area of the car in which the driver sits.

Compound: Tread compound is the part of the tyre in contact with the road, one of the major features which determine overall tyre performance.

Diffuser: Is the rear section of the car. It funnels the air to slow the car down and lower pressure.

Drag: Refers to the resistance the F1 car encounters from the air as it advances forward.

Drive Through Penalty: One of the two F1 penalties that can be handed out by the stewards. Drivers must enter the pit lane, drive at the speed limit and then re-join the race.

ECU: Electronic Control Unit, or the brain of the F1 engine that controls all of its functions.

Flags: Are used to communicate with the drivers, each colour has a different meaning.

Blue: competitor close behind or about to overtake.

Green: track is clear

Yellow: danger ahead , no overtaking

Red and Yellow Stripes: slippery track

Red: race stopped immediately

White: Slow moving ahead i.e: safety car.

Black with Orange: with drivers number.. disqualification of driver, must return to the pits.

Chequered: end of the race or qualifying.

Formation Lap: Can also be referred to as a parade or warm up lap, where the cars get ready to form the Grid.

FOM: Refers to Formula One Management, company owned by ex F1 commentator and now F1 business man, Bernie Ecclestone.

Free Practice: Is the first practice session of each Grand Prix weekend.

Gravel Trap: An area of gravel on the outside of the circuit designed to slow the cars down if they come off the track.

Grid: Is the starting formation of drivers at the beginning of the race, dependant apon the qualifying times.

HANS: The Head and Neck Support System, is a black collar that fits over the drivers shoulders and is attached to the helmet. HANS reduces the risk of injury as the straps reduce movement.

Installation Lap: This is the first lap by the F1 car around the circuit to test the car’s functions such as the throttle and brakes before it returns to the pits.

Jump Start: This occurs when the driver advances forward from their grid position, before the official start of the race, I.e: when the five red lights have been turned off.

Lapped: Is when the lead car overtakes the last marker (car).

Lollipop: Refers to the long stick that is held out in front of the F1 car during a pit stop. Is also used to signal when the driver is safe to move off out of the pit lane.

Monocoque: Is the carbon fibre safety shell of the F1 car that surrounds the driver.

Option Tyres: These are the softer of the two types of tyre available during a race. Option Tyres can be identified by a green stripe around the sidewall.

Paddles: These are the levers either side of the steering wheel, used to change through the gears.

Pits: Area of the circuit in front of the garages, at the end of the pit lane, where the cars are brought in for maintenance.

Pit Board: Is a board which displays race information from the pit wall to the driver. Is also used when signalling for the driver to come into the pits.

Pit Wall: Is the area where the teams engineers, managers and owner are situated throughout the race.

Prime Tyres: Opposite to the Option Tyres, these are the harder of the two used throughout the F1 race.

Pole Position: Is the F1 car in first place on the grid. First place is determined by the fastest lap in qualifying.

Practice: Is the period of time given to drivers to practice the circuit. Throughout a Grand Prix weekend the practice sessions usually take place on the Friday and Saturday with race day on Sunday.

Qualifying: Is the time given to drivers to complete the circuit in the fastest lap times possible, this then determines their position on the grid. Qualifying is split into three knock out sessions over the first two days of competition.

Retirement: Occurs when a car has to drop out of a race.

Rookie: Refers to a driver in their first season as an F1 professional.

Safety Car: The safety car is diploid in the event of a problem, where the drivers need to be slowed down. The vehicle is called from the pits to run in front of the leading F1 car.

Scrutineering: Is the technical checking of all F1 cars.

Sectors: The race lap is split into three sections,  each is a third of the circuit.

Stop Go Penalty: This is a penalty given to the driver where he is required to stop in his pits for 10 seconds without refuelling or changing tyres.

Telemetry: Is the system used by engineers in the pit garage, to monitor the F1 engine, chassis and overall performance of the F1 car.

Tyre Compound: Refers to the type of tyre used dependent upon the race conditions. Involves a rubber mix ranging from, soft, medium and to hard each offering a different performance ability.

Under Steer: Occurs when the back end of the car slides wide, as the driver attempts to turn into the apex.


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