Formula One glossary

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Back pressure

The resistance to the flow of exhaust gases through the exhaust system. By rerouting the exhaust gases for noise suppression, a muffler causes back pressure, but a straight pipe alone causes only minimal back pressure. Some engines require back pressure, so that removing the exhaust system will cause internal damage.


General term to indicate a car or driver that is or is about to be lapped by another car, in which case they are blue flagged to warn them of an approaching faster car.


The fireproof hood drivers wear under their helmets to avoid burns to the face and neck.

Ball joint

Usually refers to the outboard (wheel) end of a CV joint (halfshaft). The ball joint allows the wheel to steer and move with the suspension and still receive power from the engine. The term ball joint can also be used to refer to how suspension components are attached.


Weights placed in a car to meet the minimum weight regulations. Cars are always produced as light as possible, enabling mechanics to position ballast in the car to influence the weight distribution of the car and hence have an impact on the car's on-track behaviour.
In F1, ballast is commonly made of a Tungsten alloy (commonly Densamet) because of its high density, and often placed in the front wing, in the floor underneath the driver or at the back under the gearbox.


A unit of pressure. One bar equals 100 kilopascals or 14.5 psi.


This is the part of the car body mounted vertically located between the front wheels. It is an aerodynamic panel to help ensure there is a smooth airflow around the side of the car and into the sidepods.


Small, hard metal balls designed to reduce friction between moving parts.


Describes the relative engagement of front versus rear brakes as selected by the brake balance control in the cockpit.


High levels of stress on tyres can cause blistering. This phenomenon is the result of localised heat build-up, particularly in the shoulder of the tyre, as it flexes. If not dealt with by reducing the demands on the tyre, this can cause parts of the tread pattern to break away and affect performance. Blistering can occur due to using unsuitable tyres for the track, a wrong car set-up or the tyre pressure being too high.


All entirely sprung parts of the car in contact with the external air stream, except cameras, camera housings and the parts definitely associated with the mechanical functioning of the engine, transmission and running gear. Airboxes, radiators and engine exhausts are considered to be part of the bodywork.


The effect of a car's floor touching the circuit, usually when driving over bumps or onto an uphill track section. To avoid the floor's plank to wear out, F1 teams fit metal plates underneath the cars, often resulting in sparks coming off the back of the car due to the metal scraping on the tarmac.

Brake Balance

There is a switch in the cockpit drivers can use to switch the brake power from the front to the rear, or vice versa.

Brake by wire

An electronic system which measures how hard the driver presses the brake pedal and then – using the additional information from energy recuperation – determines in a fractions of a second the amount of braking pressure that should be fed through to the rear brake callipers.
This has become necessary due to the significantly increased performance of the ERS, which requires much greater variations in rear wheel braking torque than previously.

Brake Duct

A type of an air happer that is especially made to direct air onto the brakes to cool them down. These can very from race to race, following the needs of brake cooling, as one circuit may demand more brake performance than another.

Brake master cylinder

The part of the hydraulic brake system which stores the brake fluid. As the brake pedal is applied pressure is forced against a small movable piston in the master cylinder to push hydraulic fluid through the lines to the wheel cylinders and force the brake linings against the drum (in the case of drum brakes) or force the brake pads against the disc (in the case of disc brakes).

British racing green

A dark green color which used to be the official racing color for British cars. Jaguar and Bently commonly use a type of this green when competing in racing series, including during Jaguar's participation in Formula One from 2000 to 2004.