About F1


The point on the corner at which the drivers aim their cars to achieve the quickest racing line. Theoretically, reaching the apex correctly leads to the fastest way round a corner.

An action that a team takes on its drivers' behalf if it feels that the race officials have unfairly penalized them. The appeal is presented to the FIA.

It presents when in heavy rain when the tyres lose grip and the driver has no control, thus sliding over the water with almost or no contact with the track.

Armco Barrier
The generic term for the safety metal barriers that line the sides of race circuits.

Lead weights fixed around the car to maximize its balance and bring it up to the minimum weight limit. Their location usually changes per race, given the differences among circuits.

A piece of bodywork located vertically between the front wheels and the sidepods to help smooth the flow of air around the sides and the body of the car.

The consequence of a tyre, or part of a tyre, overheating. Excess heat can cause rubber to degrade and break away in chunks from the body of the tyre.

Black flag
A black flag is most often used to signal to the driver that he has been excluded from the race.

Black with orange circle flag
It warns a driver that he has a mechanical problem and must return to his pit.

Blue flag
It warns the driver that he is about to be lapped and to let the faster car overtake him.

The car exterior where much of the aerodynamics and design are applied. Specifically: the carbon fiber sections fitted onto the monocoque before the cars leave the pits, such as the engine cover, the cockpit top and the nosecone.

When a car's chassis hits the track surface as it runs through a sharp compression and reaches the bottom of its suspension travel. The well-known spark shower in the back of the car is a consequence.

Brake Balance
The distribution of braking power between the front and rear wheels. It can be altered by the driver with the turn of a switch in the cockpit.

Brake Duct
A type of air duct that directs air onto the brakes to cool them down. These can vary from race to race, following the needs of brake cooling, as one circuit may demand more brake performance than another.

Brake locking
Under heavy braking when a wheel stops rotating, can often cause a flat spot, which wears the tyre down quicker, thus loosing grip.

The angle of the wheel and tyre in relation to the track surface. Formula One car tyres are not positioned perfectly vertical.

Carbon Fiber
It revolutionized Formula One when it arrived in the early 1980’s brought by McLaren. It’s four times Lighter and three times stronger than steel, almost all of the Formula One car is made of carbon fiber.

Chicanes are usually inserted into a circuit to slow the cars, often just before what had been a high-speed corner or straight.

Clean air
Air that isn't turbulent, and thus offers optimum aerodynamic conditions, as experienced by a car at the head of the field.

The section of the chassis in which the driver sits.

Tread compound is the part of any tyre in contact with the road and therefore one of the major factors in deciding tyre performance. The ideal compound is one with maximum grip but which still maintains durability and heat resistance. 

It is the device connected to the rear wheels, which allows each wheel to rotate at different speeds when cornering, too ensure balanced handling.

It’s an aerodynamic element located close to the ground and in between the rear wheels of a Formula One car. A diffuser is designed to speed up airflow under the car by extracting it. The faster its exit, the lower the air pressure beneath the car, and hence the more downforce the car generates.

It’s an aerodynamic force that presses the car downwards. Drivers use this to improve the car's traction and handling through corners especially. Circuit’s layout, and driving styles might require different configuration.

It is the resistance a car encounters from the air as it moves forward. Drag and Downforce are opposites; so the better the relation between the two, the better the performance. Given the particular characteristics of the circuits: long straights, fast corners, etc. achieving the ideal combination represents the most important goal for F1 teams.

Drive-through penalty
A penalty that can be handed out at the discretion of the stewards during the race. Drivers must enter the pit lane, drive through it complying with the speed limit, and re-join the race without stopping.

Engine Electronic Unit (ECU)
It’s the brain of the engine, which controls all of its functions and registers its behavior. Drivers can adjust the settings before and during a race, often to alter strategy.

Called an F-duct for the shape of the opening. The system features an hole (inlet) in the noscone at close distance from the driver that allows airflow through a ducting system through the bodywork onto the rear wing, where a slot rearward of the rear wing can cause the wing to stall. Such change in the rear wing configuration reduces downforce and drag hence allows an increase of speed in straights of around 10km/h. McLaren introduced it in 2010, but it has been banned for 2011.

Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA)
The FIA draws up the technical and racing regulations for Formula 1 and was founded in 1904. The FIA is based in Geneva and the current president is Jean Todt.

Formation Lap
The lap before the start of the race when the cars are driven round from the grid to form up on the grid again for the start of the race. Sometimes referred to as the warm-up lap or parade lap.

Fluid mechanics
Is the science that provides the theoretical foundation for hydraulics, which focuses on the engineering uses of fluid properties. It encompasses must of the theory behind aerodynamics and its application for F1 cars.

Formula One Group
The Formula One Group is a group of companies responsible for the promotion of the Formula One World Championship and consists of Formula One Management (FOM), Formula One Administration (FOA) and Formula One Licensing BV, which are subsidiaries of the Formula One Holdings (FOH) holding company headed by Bernie Ecclestone.

Formula One Teams Association (FOTA)
FOTA is a group of Formula One teams formed in July 2008. All current teams are members and was formed with the objective of presenting a united voice in their ongoing discussions with the FIA and the Formula One Group regarding the future of Formula 1.

A physical force equivalent to one unit of gravity that is multiplied during rapid changes of direction or velocity. Drivers experience severe G-forces as they corner, accelerate and brake.

Graining is a particular way that a tyre wears. It starts when very high side forces are exerted on the tyre, leading to high sliding. This occurs when small rolls of rubber move over the surface of the tyre effectively separating the tyre from the track surface very slightly.

Gravel Trap
A bed of gravel on the outside of corners designed with the aim of bringing cars that fall off the circuit to a safe halt.

Green Flag
All clear. The driver has passed the potential danger point and prohibitions imposed by yellow flags have been lifted.

The magic word for Formula 1 drivers and engineers. It describes how well the car adheres to the ground and how this affects cornering speeds. High grip means high cornering speeds. Main factors of grip are the aerodynamics, the downforce created by the vehicle and the tyres’ properties. Without grip, a vehicle will begin to slide or skid.

Ground effect
Type of downforce that is generated from underside of a racecar. Since FIA rules only allows flat stepped bottoms, the diffuser generates the current ground effect. This increases the speed of air flowing under the car, and thereby generating a suction effect.

When a driver moves off his grid position before the five red lights have been switched off to signal the start. Sensors detect premature movement and a jump-start earns a driver a penalty.

The Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems were introduced at the start of the 2009 season, but were only used by a limited number of teams. The system recovers waste energy from the car during braking and deceleration and stores it to use as a power boost during periods of the lap. The driver triggers the power surge by pressing a 'boost button' on the steering wheel.

A very tight and slow corner, that usually is a bend of more than 100°. The most known examples are 'Grand Hotel' in Monaco en 'La source' in Spa-Francorchamps.

The Head and Neck Support System, a black collar that fits over driver’s shoulders and attaches to the helmet. Straps restrict the movement of the head in case of an accident, reducing the risk of injury.

A tyre with features somewhere between those of dry and wet weather tyres. The intermediate has more tread than dry weather tyres and less tread than wet weather models. It is used for mixed weather or light rain.

International Court of Appeal
The FIA’s Court of Appeal is composed of professional judges, and its 15 members are appointed for a three-year term. In order for the court to make a legally binding decision, the presence of at least three judges is required, none of which may be of the same nationality as the parties involved.

The stick held in front of a driver during a pit stop, and used to signal to the driver when he should engage first gear and when he is clear to exit his pit box. Nowadays few teams use a traffic light to help the exit process.

Small bits of rubber that wear off the tyres and come to rest on the track, these build up off the racing line making the track surface slippery.

A course official, normally a volunteer, who has numerous jobs which ensure the safe running a race, including giving flag signals and reporting the facts of an accident.

The single-piece 'tub' where the driver's cockpit is located. The car's engine is located behind it and the front suspension on either side at the front. Nowadays the monocoque is made out of carbon fiber, which surrounds the driver and is designed to stay intact in case of an accident.

The name of the fire-resistant material used to make the driver's suits, gloves and shoes.

Normally aspirated engine
An engine that uses intake air at atmospheric pressure and temperature to mix with the fuel for combustion. Generally this means that a supercharger or turbocharger does not assist the intake. Super and turbochargers are banned from Formula One since 1988.

In cornering, oversteer exists when the rear part of the car swings wide. The rear end of the vehicle wants to swing toward the outside of a turn, which can easily cause a car to spin. Usually, more front downforce helps to reduce overteering.

Levers located on either side of the back of a steering wheel with which a driver changes up and down the gearbox. Ferrari introduced them in the late 80’s.

The private area behind the pits in which the teams keep their transporters and motorhomes. There is no public admission for these premises.

Parc Fermé
Restricted area of the pit lane in which the FIA's technical commissioners inspect the cars after each race to make sure they conform to technical regulations. Since the 2003 season, the cars must be taken into the Parc Fermé after the qualifying session. They are not cleared until Sunday morning.

Pit board
A board held out on the pit wall by team members to inform a driver of his race position, the time interval to the car ahead or the one behind, plus the number of laps of the race remaining.

Pits or Pit stop
An area of track separated from the start/finish straight by a wall, where the cars are brought in for maintenance. This includes tyre changes, and re-fuelling during the race. Each team has its own 'garage' area.

The area of the circuit separated from the pit straight by the pit wall in front of the garages. Where the cars brought for pit stop for tyre changes, fuel, replacing parts, etc.

Prime tyres
The harder of the two Bridgestone tyres available to the team during a race weekend

It is a hard wooden strip is fitted under of all cars to check that they are not being run too close to the track surface, which could be determined by depth of the plank at the end of the race.

Pole position
First place in the starting order for the race, which is given to the fastest driver in qualifying.

The periods on Friday and on Saturday morning at a Grand Prix meeting when the drivers are out on the track working on the set-up of their cars in preparation for qualifying and the race.

The starting order for the race is determined during qualifying. The driver with the fastest lap time qualifies for the best starting place: pole position. Currently, qualifying is divided into three sessions (commonly referred to as Q1, Q2 and Q3) with the slowest drivers dropping out at the end of each of the first two sessions before the top 10 is decided in the final session. From 2010, the drivers in Q3 will have to start the race on the same set of tyres that they set their fastest lap time on.

Rear Wing
It’s a piece of the of a F1 car that creates downward pressure mainly upon the rear axle. The rear wing is adapted to the conditions of the tracks (the steeper it is, the more downforce is created). The settings and angles of the surfaces can be additionally modified.

Red flag
A red flay indicated that the race has been stopped. In most cases due to an accident or poor track conditions due to weather, especially rain or fog.

When a car has to drop out of the race because of an accident or mechanical failure

Rollover Bar
The rollover bar is a curved structure above the driver’s head made of metal or composite materials that protects the driver in case of an accident.

Safety car
The high performance course vehicle, which is deployed during a race to slow the pack down, normally to allow marshals and officials to clean debris from the circuit or tend to a driver who has crashed.

The technical checking of racecars by the officials to make sure that they comply with all the regulations and specifications before and after the race.

The final test drive of a newly set up car before the team departs to a Grand Prix. The main objective is to make sure all the components on the car are in proper condition.

The part of the car that flanks the monocoque and houses the radiators.

An aerodynamics term, where a driver is able to catch the car ahead of him and use the air coming off the car in front to reduce drag on his car. This allows the driver to achieve a higher speed with less engine power, creating an opportunity to pass.

One of three high-ranking officials at each race appointed to make decisions and make sure drivers and teams adhere to regulations. Stewards have the discretion to hand out penalties to drivers and teams during and after the race.

Formula 1 driving license issued by the FIA. In the interest of safety, it is only granted on the basis of good results in the junior series or, in exceptional cases, if other proof of ability can be supplied. It may also be granted under provisional terms.

Tear-off strips
Each driver has several layers of see-through plastic film covering the visor of their helmets, which they can tear-off as the visor gets dirty during the race. This eliminates the need to keep wiping the visor, for which the driver would not have time during the race.

System of sending radio signals from the car to the pit box and vice versa. It contributes to determine the right setup as revs, throttle and brakes can be studied based on these reports.

Literally, the turning or twisting force of an engine, torque is generally used as a measure of an engine's flexibility; it has to do with acceleration capacity. Good torque is particularly crucial on circuits with a number of mid- to slow-speed turns, where acceleration out of the corners is essential to a good lap time.

Tyre Warmer
The tyres require an operational temperature of around 100 degrees Celsius to achieve optimal effectiveness. These special blankets pre-heat the wheels to between 60 and 80 degrees Celsius. Cold tyres do not develop enough grip. If they are too hot, they wear out quickly.

A lack of grip at the front wheels, which makes the car feel like slipping away at the front while cornering. Softening the front suspension or adding downforce on the front wing could solve this unbalance. It represents the opposite of overteering.

White flag
A white flag warns drivers of a slow moving vehicle on the track.

Wing or aerofoil
A type of upside-down wing-shaped fixture used to keep the car firmly on the track at high speed, to provide maximum downforce.

Yellow flag
A yellow flag indicates danger, such as a stranded car or an accident ahead. A single waved yellow.

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F1 Standings

1 Lewis Hamilton 126
2 Nico Rosberg 116
3 Sebastian Vettel 98
4 Kimi Räikkönen 60
5 Valtteri Bottas 42
6 Felipe Massa 39
1 Mercedes 242
2 Ferrari 158
3 Williams F1 81
4 Red Bull Racing 52
5 Sauber 21
6 Sahara Force India 17

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