See Safety Harness.
The car that drives out in front of Formula 1 cars during the formation lap. The safety car is also used in safety situations (for example, after accidents, when it rains) to slow down the field, bring the cars into formation and prevent further incidents. The safety car was introduced in 1992.
Safety Car Start
In extreme weather conditions the race can be started with the cars running behind the safety car until the track is deemed safe. Races are also re-started behind a safety car after suspensions.
The safety belt used in monocoques is also known as a six point harness and can be opened with a single hand movement.
Small fins that are attached to the car body to improve aerodynamics.
Also known as scuffed tyres, they are tyres which have a few laps on them to remove the outer sheen and provide more consistent traction. See Heat Cycle.
The technical checking of cars by the officials to ensure that none are outside the regulations.
After an accident, it must be possible to remove the driver and seat from the car together. Since 1999, regulations have stipulated that the seat may no longer be installed as a fixed part of the car. The risk of doing spinal damage to the driver when removing him from the car is thus eradicated. The seat is a tailor made plastic cast, designed to provide perfect support for each individual driver.
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.
The cumulative adjustments made to a car to prepare it for racing. Major elements of set-up include adjustments that affect shock absorbers, spring tensions, tyres, gear ratios and wings.
A 7-post shaker is a rig designed to apply all the vertical forces seen by the car on the race track. In this way, teams can examine banking loads, lateral load transfer, acceleration, braking and ride height sensitive downforce without having to go near the track. The seven "posts" are hydraulic cylinders: Four of them support the wheels whilst the other three are called the "aeroloaders". Normally, two are mounted to the front of the chassis some distance apart while the third one is mounted at the rear on the centerline. Loading on these cylinders is done to pull the car down, opposing the four wheel pans and so produce the effect of lift, downforce, braking, acceleration, cornering and road irregularities.
The final test drive of a newly set up car before the team departs to a Grand Prix.
A thin extension of the engine cover intended to reduce yaw and/or clean up the air flow over the rear wing.
The tyre shoulder connects the main tread rubber with the sidewall. The shoulder is vital as it helps maintain as large a contact patch as possible when a vehicle is cornering.
A tyre's sidewall copes with high G-forces in corners.
Side cladding of the cockpit which is integrated in the monocoque. The sidepods contain crash structures that absorb the forces arising from an accident or impact. A Formula 1 car’s radiator is also located behind these sidepods.
Skid Block or 'Plank'
A plate made of plastic or wood fitted to the underbody of a racing car. It is intended to prevent a strong suction effect, limiting excessively high speeds, especially in the corners, for safety reasons. It also acts as protection for the underbody.
A plastic strip used to seal the gap from the bodywork to the road in the area between the wheels. No longer allowed, they were an integral part of 'ground effect' cars from 1977-81.
Slick Tyre or Slicks
A slick tyre is a treadless tyre providing maximum contact with the track surface, providing superior grip and traction on dry tracks. These tyres were outlawed by the FIA in late 1997 before they returned in 2009 alongside reductions in aerodynamic downforce.
The angle between the wheel velocity (or the direction in which the car is moving) and the wheel heading. Slip angle is related to the tyre's generation of lateral force.
The ratio of the difference in speed between a tyre and the track (while accelerating or braking) to the car's speed. The higher the slip ratio, the more the tyre is spinning (when accelerating) or sliding (under braking). A slip ratio of 0.1 means that the wheel is moving at 110% of ground speed and hence for each 10 turns of the wheel, it slips one. Slip ratio is related to the tyre's generation of longitudinal force.
Low pressure area behind a Formula 1 car created by air currents. Driving in the slipstream can provide a boost to a car’s speed, making it the ideal position for a pursuing vehicle to start an overtaking manoeuvre.
The cruise control feature used in Formula 1 pit lanes. It is activated by pressing a button on the steering wheel. Speed is then reduced down to the limit for the pit lane.
"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. Obsolete since end of race refuelling.
A horizontal plate designed to separate airflow, directing it to different points of the car.
Sporting Code / Regulations
The official terms for the FIA rules that govern how a race weekend is run.
Rotation of the chassis around the lateral axis under acceleration, resulting in the rear of the car dropping and the nose rising. The opposite of Dive.
Rotary or torsion bars, which connect the right and left wheel suspensions elastically to each other. The so called 'roll bars' help to reduce the rolling movement of the chassis along the longitudinal axis and so provide more precise handling during load shifts.
The FIA official who has the job of overseeing the start of a Grand Prix and the countdown procedure which precedes it. Currently performed by Charlie Whiting.
Each row of the starting line up has two race cars, one slightly in front, with a distance of eight metres to the next row.
All cars have to be fitted with the starting number of the respective driver. The FIA specifies the size and positioning. The numbers are assigned at the start of the season. The teams are always given two consecutive numbers. The World Champion of the previous year is always assigned number 1 and his team mate number 2. If the reigning World Champion is no longer competing the following year, the number 1 is omitted and replaced with a 0. The number 13 is not assigned.
The control centre of the racing car. Built in the Electronics Department, the steering wheel is not just for turning corners, its screen displays car statistics for the driver and it boasts a selection of buttons to allow the drivers to adjust some of the car's settings, such as the level of traction control to increase stability. The appearance and the arrangement are adjusted to suit the individual driver.
One of three officials at each Grand Prix appointed to make decisions with regard to rules, penalties and incidents.
A penalty that involves the driver calling at his pit and stopping for 10 seconds - with no tyre-changing or other intervention with the car allowed. Once a driver's team has been informed by the racing commissioners, the driver may not cross the start-finish line more than twice before entering the pitlane. If the penalty is awarded in the last 5 laps or after the race, a Time Penalty of 30 seconds will be applied to the driver's final time instead. See also Drive Through Penalty.
Horizontal or vertical plates designed, like endplates, to control airflow over a car body.
Formula 1 driving licence 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.
Several years ago, the wheel suspension was the achilles’ heel of a Formula 1 car, but the use of composite materials has since made it extremely robust. Basically, double arms are used at the front and rear, and each team gives them a different aerodynamic shape.