Formula One glossary


343 words · Suggest a word
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Acceleration
The rate of change of velocity or speed. Velocity is steady and is measured in distance per time (e.g., feet per second, miles per hour, kilometres per hour). Acceleration keeps increasing and is measured in velocity per time (e.g., feet per second per second or feet per second squared).
Accident Data Recorder (ADR)
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 accident. The box is positioned so that it is always accessible, without having to remove any parts of the car.
Acid
Chemical compound that, when dissolved in water, releases hydrogen ions (H+).
Ackermann steering
A double-pivoting steering system where the outer ends of the steering arms are bent slightly inward so that when the vehicle is making a turn, the inside wheel will turn more sharply than the outer wheel. This is done to compensate for the greater distance the outside wheel must travel.
Active suspension
Hydraulic actuators in the suspension which control ride height during a race. The actuators were controlled by computer software aligned to each track. The constant ride height that was achieved raised the downforce by suction under the car, although it was prohibited by the FIA at the end of 1993.
Aerial
Used on the frontal monocoque just ahead of the cockpit for two-way radio or telemetry purposes.
Aerodynamic drag
The resistance of the air to forward movement, sometimes called "aerodynamic drag". This is a factor of the shape of the vehicle, the objects which stick out (i.e., mirrors, mufflers, bumpers), the amount of turbulence at the rear of the vehicle, the nature of the vehicle's skin surface, and the amount of air going through the vehicle for cooling and ventilation.
The faster you go, the greater the air friction (proportional to velocity²). At the same time, the power to overcome such friction is proportional to velocity³.
Aerodynamics
Aerodynamics is an aspect of dynamics concerned with studying the motion of air. The study of airflow over and around an object and it is a key part of Formula One Engineering.

Properties calculated for a flow field (motion of air) include: Velocity, Pressure, Density and Temperature as a function of position and time.
Aeroelasticity
The quality or state of an elastic structure acted on by aerodynamic forces.
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 resistance
The resistance of the air to forward movement, sometimes called "aerodynamic drag". This is a factor of the shape of the vehicle, the objects which stick out (i.e., mirrors, mufflers, bumpers), the amount of turbulence at the rear of the vehicle, the nature of the vehicle's skin surface, and the amount of air going through the vehicle for cooling and ventilation.
The faster you go, the greater the air friction (proportional to velocity²). At the same time, the power to overcome such friction is proportional to velocity³.
Airbag
A device which is part of the passive safety system. In the event of an accident, sensors will cause the airbag to be deployed so that your head will be pillowed by the bag instead of hitting the dash.
Airbags are not used in F1 at this time because if the airbag systems being too slow for F1 crash speeds.
Airbox
The opening at the front of the bonnet, above the driver's head, designed to suck air from the environment onto the cylinders. Possible thanks to a widening air guidance box above the engine.
Alcohol
Any organic compound containing, at least, one hydroxyl (OH- ion) linked directly to one carbon atom
Anti lock brake system (ABS)
Electonical system that prevents blocking of the wheels during hard braking. This system is forbidden in formula one, but widely used in road cars.
Apex
The inside part of a corner that is considered to be the ideal racing line
Appeal
An action a team takes on behalf of its driver if the team feels that the driver has been unfairly penalised / punished by the FIA / race officials.
Aquaplaning
Also named hydroplaning. Occurs when a layer of water builds up between the tyres of a car and the road surface. With such a water film created, the vehicle loses traction and becomes an unpowered, uncontrollable sled.
Armco barrier
A metal barrier fitted at the sides of racing tracks, designed to absorb the impact of a car at high speed and prevent it from crashing into spectators or in the case of the Monaco Grand Prix, into the harbour.
Aspect ratio
The ratio of the length of wings to their width is called aspect ratio. A high aspect ratio indicates long, narrow wings. A low aspect ratio indicates short, wide wings.