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A  Glossary


Accident Data Recorder (ADR) or 'Black Box'
A data recorder that has to be installed in all cars with the exception of test runs in which only a single team participates. The ADR is intended to provide information on possible causes in case of an accident with the aim of improving safety and preventing the accident from happening again. The box is positioned so that it is always accessible, without having to remove any parts of the car.

Active Suspension
Hydraulic actuators in the suspension which control ride height during a race. The actuators are controlled by computer software aligned to each track. The constant ride height results in increased downforce due to suction under the car. Banned by the FIA at the end of 1993.

Aerodynamics
The study of the interaction of air with solid bodies moving through it. The basic rule when designing cars for Formula 1 is simply to create as much downforce and as little air resistance as possible.





Aerofoil
Type of upside-down wing used to keep the car firmly on the track at high speed. Ground-effects design shapes the body to provide downforce as well.




Air Box
The air inlet behind the driver’s head. The air box channels the air necessary for the combustion process to the engine.


Air Resistance
The resistance of the air to forward movement, sometimes called "aerodynamic drag" or simply "drag". This is a factor of the shape of the vehicle including any protruding objects, the amount of turbulence at the rear of the vehicle, the texture of the surface, and the amount of air going through the vehicle for cooling and ventilation. The faster you go, the greater the air friction is (proportional to velocity squared). At the same time, the power to overcome such friction is proportional to velocity cubed.

Angle of Attack
The angle at which the wings are fixed during set-up. The larger or steeper the angle the greater the downforce although a point will be reached at which the angle is so high that the wing will stall and lose effectiveness.

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
An electronic system which prevents the wheels from locking during heavy braking. Using sensors, a control unit determines if the wheels are starting to lock and brake pressure is then reduced. The system allows the driver to maintain steering control under heavy braking and reduces braking distances. Banned in Formula 1 since 1993.

Apex
The point at which the ideal Racing Line clips the inner radius of a corner.





Appeal
An action a team takes on behalf of its driver if the team feels that the driver has been unfairly penalised or punished by the race officials.

Aquaplaning
Aquaplaning is what happens when there is more water between the tyres and the road than can be displaced by the tyre tread. The car ‘floats’ and consequently cannot be controlled by the driver. Under very wet conditions, the safety car is generally used to keep the field at a lower speed.

Armco Barrier
A metal barrier fitted at the sides of racing tracks, designed to absorb the impact of a car at high speed. It is actually the brand name of a crash barrier company which has now been adopted as a general term.

Autoclave
A pressure vessel in which vacuum packed composite components are cured at a precise temperature and pressure. This procedure lends the composite components their high strength while maintaining low weight.

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