Formula One glossary
Laminar flow means the fluid is moving in smooth layers around the object. Air flow becomes turbulent moving from the front to the rear of the car, forced around obstructions such as mirrors, helmets, and roll-bars.
One circuit around a race track. Can be of varying length, depending on the track in use
- Lateral acceleration
The acceleration created when a vehicle corners that tends to push a vehicle sideways. Because of centrifugal force, the vehicle is pushed outward.
- Launch control
This is an electronic program that performs a fully automated start for a Formula One car. This system is used to help the best possible pickup and acceleration. This system is completely computer aided and the driver just has to press the accelerator. One of the problems with this system is that if the car stalls then it is very difficult to revive it. This system works along with the traction control to reduce wheel spin and better starts. Traction control is banned as of 2006 as it imposes an unnecessary cost to the teams.
- Left-foot braking
Braking made popular in the 1990s following the arrival of hand clutches so that drivers could keep their right foot on the throttle and dedicate their left to braking.
- Lift to drag ratio
This is the amount of lift (or downforce) generated by a wing or vehicle, divided by the drag it creates by moving through the air. Commonly abbreviated as L/D.
- Limited slip differential
An axle differential or central differential incorporating a locking or slip-limiting mechanism to counter wheel spin. Limited slip means that some power is always applied to each of the wheels, even when one of them is on a slippery surface like ice or mud.
- Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)
A mixture of propane and butane mostly used as a fuel for some road cars or as a refrigerant.
- liquid hydrogen
Form of hydrogen made by cooling the gas far below freezing point. Liquid hydrogen used as fuel gives no pollution. When burned, the waste product is just water in the form of a steam exhaust
The moment when a tire begins to skid during braking. A tire's maximum braking force occurs when it is on the verge of lock-up. Ideally all four tires should approach lock-up simultaneously to give a vehicle the best braking. Because this ideal is hard to create in the real world, one end tends to lock up before the other.
- Locking differential
A differential with the ability for locking together the two half shafts, thus putting the differential out of action and greatly improving traction.
The sign held on the nose of the car during a pit stop to remind the driver to brake. It is then lifted when the stop is finished and the pit lane is clear for the driver to leave.
Louvers are the horizontal slits at the upper end of the rear wing. The unfavorable pressure gradients caused by the different levels produced beneath and above the wing horizontal area are one of the primary drivers for louvers' existence. They bleed air off the wing end plates, thus equalizing the pressure and reducing drag.
Any material, usually of a petroleum nature such as grease, oil, etc., that is placed between two moving parts in an effort to reduce friction. Lubricant can also protect a part from dirt and moisture. Some lubricants used in (race)cars are engine and gearbox oil