Aerodynamics : The study of airflow over and around an object and an intrinsic part of Formula One car design.
Apex : The middle point of the inside line around a corner at which drivers aim their cars.
Appeal : An action that a team takes on its drivers' behalf if it feels that they have been unfairly penalised by the race officials.
Ballast : Weights fixed around the car to maximise 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.
Blistering : The consequence of a tyre, or part of a tyre, overheating. 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.
Brake balance : A switch in the cockpit to alter the split of the car's braking power between the front and the rear wheels according to a driver's wishes.
Chassis : The main part of a racing car to which the engine and suspension are attached.
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.
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.
Diffuser : The rear section of the car's floor or undertray where the air flowing under the car exits. The design of the diffuser is crucial as it controls the speed at which the air exits. The faster its exit, the lower the air pressure beneath the car, and hence the more downforce the car generates.
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 its handling through corners.
Drag : The aerodynamic resistance experienced as a car travels forwards.
Drive-through penalty : One of two penalties that can be handed out at the discretion of the Stewards whilst the race is still running. Drivers must enter the pit lane, drive through it complying with the speed limit, and re-join the race without stopping. (not 2004 !)
Flat spot : The term given to the area of a tyre that is worn heavily 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 may force a driver to pit for a replacement set of tyres.
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.
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.
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 halt.
Grip : The amount of traction a car has at any given point, affecting how easy it is for the driver to keep control through corners.
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 a full 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Parc ferme : A fenced-off area into which cars are driven after qualifying and the race, where no team members are allowed to touch them except under the strict supervision of race stewards.
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, each stopping at their respective pit garages.
Plank : A hard wooden strip (also known as a skid block) that is fitted front-to-back down the middle of the underside of all cars to check that they are not being run too close to the track surface, something that is apparent if the wood is excessively worn.
Pole position : The first place on the starting grid, as awarded to the driver who lapped fastest during Saturday's qualifying session.
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 in preparation for qualifying and the race.
Private testing : The two-hour period on the Friday morning of a Grand Prix during which only those teams that have signed up for the private testing agreement may practice (currently Jaguar, Jordan, Minardi and Renault). In return they are allowed to carry out only limited testing between races.
Protest : An action lodged by a team when it considers that another team or competitor has transgressed the rules.
Qualifying : The one-hour periods on Friday and Saturday in which drivers are allowed one flying lap to set the best time they can. The fastest driver on Friday gets to run last in Saturday's session. The fastest driver on Saturday takes pole position.
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 an 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.
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.
'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.
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 refuelling or tyre-changing allowed. (not 2004)
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 : A system that beams data related to the engine and chassis to computers in the pit garage so that engineers can monitor that car's behaviour.
Traction : The degree to which a car is able to transfer its power onto the track surface for forward progress.
Traction control : A computerised 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.
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.
Warm-up : The half-hour period on Saturday morning in which the teams and drivers make final adjustments to their cars ahead of final qualifying and the race.
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