Formula One glossary

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Called an F-duct for the shape of the opening, the term designates a system introduced on the McLaren MP4/25 in the beginning of 2010. The system features an inlet on the nosecone, a hole which the driver can cover by hand or knee to control the airflow, and a ducting system through the bodywork onto the rear wing, where a slot rearward of the rear wing can cause the wing to stall. Such stalled rear wing has reduced downforce, but also reduced drag, allowing around 10km/h of extra speed on straights.

McLaren's system was internally dubbed RW80, while Force India named it SRW (switchable rear wing).

Fédération International d'Automobile (FIA)

Ruling body of world-wide motorsport, including Formula One. It is based in Paris, France and headed by an elected president, currently Jean Todt.

Federation Internationale de Sport Automobile (FISA)

The forerunner of the current FIA, at the time headed by a brash and often comical Frenchman by the name of Jean-Marie Balestre, represented the de-facto governing body of Formula One, and garnered support from those teams referred to charmingly by the great Enzo Ferrari as ‘Grandees’. Among their number the traditional powers of Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, plus Renault and a smattering of more minor teams that used manufacturer built power units.


In case where a wing consists of multiple profiles, the flap is usually referred to as the most upper element of a wing. It is usually manually adjustable, so that it determines the actual angle of attack.

Flat spot

The part of a tyre affected by a spin or extreme braking. This can ruin the car's handling and often causes the need for a tyre change.

Flow Visualisation Paint (Flow vis)

Special paint used to make air flow patterns around the car visible. It is applied before a car leaves the pits, and dries up in two or three laps, allowing the team to see the airflow as it passed around the car.

Fluid mechanics

Fluid mechanics provides the theoretical foundation for hydraulics, which focuses on the engineering uses of fluid properties. Hydraulic topics range through most science and engineering disciplines, and cover concepts such as pipe flow, dam design, fluid control circuitry, pumps, turbines, hydropower, computational fluid dynamics, flow measurement, river channel behavior and erosion.

Formation lap

Final lap in grid order before the drivers take up their grid positions for the start.

Formula One Constructors Association (FOCA)

Set up by Bernie Ecclestone (then owner of the Brabham team) and Max Mosley (co-founder of March) to fight for greater rights and say so among the ‘Garagistes’, the mainly British teams that constructed their own chassis and, almost to a man, utilised the still formidable Cosworth DFV engine. Teams such as Williams, Mclaren, Lotus, and Brabham, teams whose innovative and inventive designers and engineers were frequently finding new ways to cut back the power advantage of the bigger teams by way of, among other things, the rapidly developing field of aerodynamics and the mysterious ‘ground effect’.

Front exit exhaust (FEE)

On a Formula One car, the FEE denotes a design where the engine exhaust pipes exit out of the car ahead of the sidepod, rather than at the rear end of the car. Lotus Renault GP introduced this system in F1 with their R31 for the 2011 season.

Fuel injector

A fuel injector is a vital part of a fuel injector system. In a modern F1 engine, each cylinder has an injector which consists of a nozzle and a valve. Its purpose is to spray air into the cylinder at the right time in the combustion cycle.