F1 Dictionary
ADR
Accident Data Recorder. Black Box for Formula 1 Cars.
 
Aerodynamics
The study of airflow over and around an object and thus an intrinsic part of Formula One™ car design.
 
Airflow
The movement of air around the chassis of the race car. 
 
Anhedral
The angle between an aerofoil and the horizontal when the wing is inclined downwards from its mounting.
 
Apexf1dictionary

The middle point of the inside line around a corner at which drivers aim their cars.
 
Appeal
Something that a team does on its drivers' behalf if it feels that they have been unfairly penalized by the race officials.
 
Ballast
Weights fixed around the car to maximize its balance and bring it up to the minimum weight limit.
 
Bargeboard
The piece of bodywork mounted vertically between the front wheels and the start of the sidepods to help smooth the airflow around the sides of the car.
 
Bernoulli Effect
States that the pressure of a fluid (liquid or gas), decreases as the fluid (liquid or gas), flows faster.
 
Blistering
This is what happens to a tyre, or part of a tyre, when it overheats. Excess heat can cause rubber to soften and break away in chunks from the body of the tyre.
 
Bodywork
The carbon fibre sections fitted onto the monocoque before the cars leave the pits, such as the engine cover, the cockpit top and the nosecone.
 
Bottoming
When a car's chassis hits the track surface as it runs through a sharp compression and reaches the bottom of its suspension travel.
 
Boundary layer
A layer of static to slow moving air adjacent to the surfaces of a moving body. Friction between the body and the surrounding air holds back the flow nearest the surfaces, whilst the air further from the body in the mainstream flows past at unabated speed.
 
Brake balance
A switch in the cockpit to alter the split of the car's braking between the front and the rear according to a driver's wishes.
 
Camber
An aerofoil with one surface (top or bottom) curved more than the other side is said to have camber.
Tyre camber is the amount that the top of the tyre leans into, or away from the car.
Track camber is the horizontal angle or curve on a track surface.
 
Carbon fiber
Carbon based composite material that is strong in tension but reasonably flexible. It can be bound in a matrix of plastic resin by heat, vacuum or pressure. It is strong, light and expensive.
 
Cd
Drag coefficient or coefficient of drag. It is determined by the shape and smoothness of shape of the object. In this case the car.
 
Cfd
Computational Fluid Dynamics. Equations that are known are programmed into computers. The computers provide solutions to the problem of external airflow over vehicle shapes. The body of the configuration and the space surrounding it are represented by clusters of points, lines and surfaces; equations are solved at these points. CFD is divided into three steps. Grid generation, numerical simulation and post-process analysis.
 
Chassis
Refers to all mechanical parts of the car attached to the structural frame.
 
Chicane
A tight sequence of corners in alternate directions. Usually inserted into a circuit to slow the cars, often just before what had been a high-speed corner.
 
Chord
The distance between an aerofoil's leading edge and its trailing edge.
 
Clean air
Air that isn't turbulent, and thus offers optimum aerodynamic conditions, as experienced by a car at the head of the field.
 
Cockpit
The section of the chassis in which the driver sits.
 
Compound
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. A typical Formula One race compound will have more than ten ingredients such as rubbers, polymers, sulphur, carbon black, oil and othercuratives. Each of these includes a vast number of derivatives any of which can be used to a greater or lesser degree. Very small changes to the mix can change compound performance.
 
Differential
A set of mechanical gears that equalizes the power between the left and right drive wheels, particularly when cornering, when the outside wheel travels further than the inside wheel.
 
Diffuser
The divergent (expanding) section of a duct which slows down airflow to reduce pressure loss. On an F1 car it is an upswept panel at the rear of the underbody.
 
Dirty Air
If another car is driving in front, it produces turbulence that can drastically reduce the effectiveness of the front wing. This is the so-called "Dirty air" effect. Under ideal conditions the front wing produces 25% of the cars total down force.
 
Downforce
The aerodynamic force that is applied in a downwards direction as a car travels forwards. This is harnessed to improve a car's traction and thus its handling through corners.
 
Drag
The aerodynamic resistance experienced as a car travels forwards.
 
Drive-through penalty
Drivers must enter the pit lane and re-join the race without stopping. One of two penalties that can be handed out at the discretion of the Stewards whilst the race is still running.
 
Flat spot
What happens when a tyre is worn through on one spot after a moment of extreme braking or in the course of a spin. This ruins its handling, often causing severe vibration, and forces a driver to pit for a replacement set of tyres.
 
Force majeure
A situation in which a team or driver had no option given the circumstances. Often cited for example if torrential conditions have left a driver or drivers outside the 107% qualifying target in qualifying, and they are duly admitted to the race.
 
Formation lap
This is the last 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.
 
G-force
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
When a car slides, it can cause little bits or rubber ('grains') to break away from the tyre's grooves. These then stick to the tread of the tyre, effectively separating the tyre from the track surface very slightly. For the driver, the effect is like driving on ball bearings. Careful driving can clear the graining within a few laps, but will obviously have an effect on the driver's pace. Driving style, track conditions, car set-up, fuel load and the tyre itself all play a role in graining. In essence, the more the tyre moves about on the track surface (ie slides), the more likely graining is.

 
Gravel trap
A bed of gravel on the outside of corners with the aim of stopping cars that fall off the circuit there. 
 
Grip
The amount of traction a car has at any given point, thus affecting how easy it is for the driver to keep control through corners.
 
Ground Effects
Downforce created by an a low pressure area between the underbody and the ground, and downforce created by the front and rear wings.
 
Installation lap
A lap done on arrival at a circuit, testing functions such as throttle, brakes and steering before heading back to the pits without crossing the finish line.
 
Intermediate tyre
A tyre that has more grooves and a more treaded pattern than the dry weather tyre, but fewer than the wet weather tyre, and is used in mixed conditions.
 
Jump start
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.
 
Laminar
Laminar flow means the fluid is moving in smooth layers around the object. Air flow becomes turbulent moving from the front to the rear of the car, forced around obstructions such as mirrors, helmets, and rollbars.
 
Left-foot braking
A style of braking made popular in the 1990s following the arrival of hand clutches so that drivers could keep their right foot on the throttle and dedicate their left to braking.
 
Lift
The upward reaction of an aircraft to the flow of air air forced over the shape of the wing (airfoil). The front and rear wings of ground effect cars are shaped like inverted wings to create downforce or negative lift.
 
Lollipop
The sign on a stick held in front of the car during a pit stop to inform the driver to apply the brakes and then to engage first gear prior to the car being lowered from its jacks. 
 
Marbles
Loose balls of track surface that have been pulled up at the corners by the grippiness of the cars' tyres. These can then catch out those drivers drifting off the racing line.
 
Marshal
A course official who oversees the safe running of the race. Marshals have several roles to fill, including observing the spectators to ensure they do not endanger themselves or the competitors, acting as fire wardens, helping to remove stranded cars/drivers from the track and using waving flags to signal the condition of the track to drivers.
 
MMC
Metal Matrix Composite (MMC) material developed for Formula One piston .The aluminum and ceramic alloy in question offers a weight saving approaching that of aluminum-beryllium, togetherwith excellent thermal characteristics. Unlike aluminum-beryllium, it has a lot of potential for inlet valve as well as piston manufacture, promising significant gains over titanium valves.
 
Monocoque
The single-piece tub in which the cockpit is located, with the engine fixed behind it and the front suspension on either side at the front.
 
Oversteer
When a car's rear end doesn't want to go around a corner and tries to overtake the front end as the driver turns in towards the apex. This often requires opposite-lock to correct, whereby the driver turns the front wheels into the skid. 
 
Paddles
Levers on either side of the back of a steering wheel with which a driver changes up and down the gearbox.
 
Paddock
An enclosed area behind the pits in which the teams keep their transporters and motor homes. There is no admission to the public.
 
Paintwork
Both vehicles belonging to a competitor must retain their paintwork throughout the racing season for which they are entering. Any changes have to be approved
by the Formula 1 Commission. Every vehicle must bear the start number of the respective driver; the number must be clearly visible from the side and the front on a 25 cm TV screen. The manufacturer's logo must be visible on the front of the vehicle's nose. The name of the driver must also be printed and clearly legible either on the bodywork, the outside of the cockpit or the helmet.
 
Parc Ferme
A fenced-off area into which cars are driven after the race, where no team members are allowed to touch them until they have been passed as legal by the scrutineers.
 
Pit board
A board held out on the pit wall 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.
 
Pit wall
Where the team owner, managers and engineers spend the race, usually under an awning to keep sun and rain off their monitors.
 
Pits
An area of track separated from the start/finish straight by a wall, where the cars are brought for new tyres and fuel during the race, or for set-up changes in practice and qualifying, each stopping at their respective pit garages.
 
Plank
A wooden strip that was fitted front-to-back down the middle of the underside of all cars in the mid-1990s to check that cars were not being run too close to the track surface, something that was indicated if the wood was worn away.
 
Pole position
The first place on the starting grid, as awarded to the driver who lapped fastest during qualifying.
 
Practice
The periods on Friday and Saturday mornings at a Grand Prix meeting when the drivers are out on the track working on the set-up of their cars for the qualifying that follows. 
 
Protest
Something that is lodged by a team when it considers that another team or competitor has transgressed the rules.
 
Races
The distance of a Grand Prix corresponds to the number of laps that are required to attain the minimum distance of 305 km. This guarantees that all teams participating in each race can become accustomed to roughly the same distance. A Grand Prix may be cancelled if less than 12 vehicles are available, or if an unforeseeable occurrence three months before the event makes it impossible to proceed with the race.
 
Racing line
An imaginary line around a circuit that provides the quickest lap time. When turning into a right-handed corner, the quickest line is to enter on the left side of the track, turn in and 'touch' the apex and ease back out to the left side of the track. Opposite for left-handers.
 
Ride height
Synonymous with ground clearance, the ride height can be taken as the size of the gap between a vehicle underside and the ground.
 
Qualifying
The one-hour period on Saturdays in which drivers are allowed a maximum of 12 laps to set the best time they can, with the driver who laps fastest then starting the race from the front of the grid.
 
Reconnaissance lap
A lap completed when drivers leave the pits to assemble on the grid for the start. If a driver decides to do several, they must divert through the pit lane as the grid will be crowded with team personnel.
 
Retirement
When a car has to drop out of the race because of accident or mechanical failure.
 
Ride height
The height between the track's surface and the floor of the car.
 
Safety Car
The course vehicle that is called from the pits to run in front of the leading car in the race in the event of a problem that requires the cars to be slowed.
 
Scrutineering
The technical checking of cars by the officials to ensure that none are outside the regulations.
 
Sectors
For timing purposes the lap is split into three sections, each of which is roughly a third of the lap. These sections are officially known as Sector 1, Sector 2 and Sector 3.
 
Shakedown
A brief test when a team is trying a different car part for the first time before going back out to drive at 100% to set a fast time.
 
Sidepod
The part of the car that flanks the sides of the monocoque alongside the driver and runs back to the rear wing, housing the radiators.
 
Slipstreaming
A driving tactic when a driver is able to catch the car ahead and duck in behind its rear wing to benefit from a reduction in drag over its body and hopefully be able to achieve a superior maximum speed to slingshot past before the next corner.
 
Spare car
Each team brings an extra car to races, or sometimes two, in case of damage to the cars they intended to race. Also called a T-car (Test-car).
 
Splash and dash
A pit stop in the closing laps of the race when a driver calls in for just a few litres of fuel to be sure of making it to the finish.
 
Starting grid
The starting grid consists of two cars per row in staggered formation, with an interval of eight metres between each row. The driver who set the fastest time will start from the front in the so-called "pole position", and the others will line up on the grid in the order of the times they have achieved. In the event of a tie, the driver who achieved the time first is given priority.
 
Steward
One of three high-ranking officials at each Grand Prix appointed to make decisions.
 
Stop-go penalty
A penalty given that involves the driver calling at his pit and stopping for 10 seconds - with no refueling or tyre-changing allowed.
 
Tear-off strips
See-through plastic strips that drivers fit to their helmet's visor before the start of the race and then remove as they become dirty.
 
Telemetry
An electronic device which transmits specific data (measurements) to a remote site. It electronically records performance of engine and actuation of controls by the driver. The data is then used as a foundation for determining car setup. After 1993 electronic data could only be received from the car, but no data could be transmitted back to it. However, this ban on two-way telemetry has now been lifted and bi-directional communication is once again allowed.
 
Tpc
Tyre Pressure Control. Tyre Pressure Control permanently monitors pressure and temperature inside all four wheels, warning the driver of possible punctures or tyre defects. The system ensures a higher standard of active safety, greater economy and extra comfort.
 
Traction
The degree to which a car is able to transfer its power onto the track surface for forward progress.
 
Traction control
A computerized system that detects if either of a car's driven (rear) wheels is losing traction - ie. spinning - and transfers more drive to the wheel with more traction, thus using its more power efficiently.
 
Turbulence
The result of the disruption of airflow caused by an interruption to its passage, such as when it hits a rear wing and its horizontal flow is spoiled.
 
Tyre compound
The type of rubber mix used in the construction of a tyre, ranging from soft through medium to hard, with each offering a different performance and wear characteristic.
 
Tyre warmer
An electric blanket that is wrapped around the tyres before they are fitted to the car so that they will start closer to their optimum operating temperature.
 
Turning Vane
Deflectors located between the front wheels and sidepods to direct turbulent flow away from the tunnels. This eliminates a source of turbulent air to the tunnels. Cleaner air to the tunnels creates more downforce.
 
Understeer
Where the front end of the car doesn't want to turn into a corner and slides wide as the driver tries to turn in towards the apex.
 
Undertray
A separate floor to the car that is bolted onto the underside of the monocoque.
 
Venturi
A narrow tunnel under the side pod, shaped like an inverted wing. As air enters and is forced through the narrow center, its speed increases, creating a low pressure area between the bottom of the car and the track. This creates a suction effect, which holds the car to the track.
 
Venturi Effect
Fluid speed increases when the fluid is forced through a narrow or restricted area. The increased speed results in a reduction in pressure. The underbody venturi is shaped to create a low pressure area between the road and chassis which creates downforce.
 
Visualization
Complex analysis tool that presents CFD data as an image.
 
Warm-up
The half-hour period on race morning in which the teams and drivers concentrate on the set-up of their cars for the race, running with full tank loads of fuel.
 
Weighing
During qualifying each vehicle will be called in at random for weighing. A red light on the approach lane to the pits indicates exactly when the driver concerned is to drive on to the scales. If the vehicle fails to comply with the regulations, it will be excluded from the race by the stewards.
 
Wind Tunnel
A tube like structure where wind is produced usually by a large fan to flow over the test object. The object is connected to instruments that measure and record aerodynamic forces that act upon it.

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