Formula One glossary

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These are levels located on either side of the rear of the steering wheel enabling the driver to change gear up and down - a sort of F1 gear-stick.


The competitor's business, social and nerve centre, normally to be found behind the pits where the motorhomes are parked as a base for the teams and sponsors.

Parc ferm??

Between qualifying and race day the cars are held in Parc Ferm?? to prevent the teams making any changes that could affect the cars performance. Once the race is over the cars return to Parc Ferm?? and are inspected to ensure they comply with the Formula One rules.


(pa) SI measurement of pressure, it equals one newton per square meter


The action of rapid acceleration so that the tires slip on the road surface (i.e., the wheels are turning, but the vehicle is not moving very much) which may result in a strip of rubber on the road surface.


A measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution, which shows the strength of acid or alkaline. The pH value of an aqueous solution is a number describing its acidity or alkalinity. The pH of a neutral solution is 7.0 at 25°C


The smallest gear of a gear drivetrain. The pinion can be either the driving or the driver gear and is often used in cars as differential pinion or in a rack-and-pinion steering mechanism.


A piston is a cylindrical piece of metal that moves up and down inside an engine\'s cylinder. It is closed at the top and mostly open at the bottom. It is attached to the connecting rod and when the fuel charge is fired, will transfer the force of the explosion to the connecting rod then to the crankshaft.

Piston bore

The diameter of the hole in the cylinder block in which the piston moves back and forth between top dead center (TDC) and bottom dead center (BDC)

Piston engine

A form of internal combustion engine. It is a heat engine in which the expansion of gas causes (by the explosion or a fuel and air mixture or the introduction of steam) a piston inside a cylinder to move and turn a crank shaft. This is the type of engine used in Formula One.

Piston pin

A steel pin that is passed through the piston, it is used as a base upon which to fasten the upper end of the connecting rod. It is round and may be hollow. Also called "wrist pin" or "gudgeon pin".

Pit board

A driver communicates with the pits using a radio, however the team also keeps the driver informed of his competitors progress by holding a pit board with simple information over the pit wall on each lap.

Pit garages

The team will work on the car throughout the weekend from the pit garages, this is where the cars ‘disappear’ whenever mechanical, or set up changes are required.

Pit lane

The road that links the pit garages occupied by the various teams to the track

Pit wall

The team have a much of their communication equipment on the pit wall so as the can talk to the driver and monitor his performance over the Grand Prix weekend.


The motion of a vehicle in which the front moves up and down relative to the static position.

Planetary gearset

(Epicyclic gearing) A gearing unit consisting of a ring gear with internal teeth, a sun or central pinion gear with external teeth, and a series of planet gears that mesh with both the ring and the sun gear.
More information at wikipedia


See skid block.


A chamber, located between the throttle body and the runners of an intake manifold, used to distribute the intake charge evenly and to enhance engine breathing.


Pneumatics is the use of pressurized air to effect mechanical motion. It differs from pneumatics in its use of air compared to an "incompressible" fluid such as oil or water. Appliances of pneumatics are pneumatic valve springs, actuators, tubes, ...

Pole position

The aim of every driver and the first position on the starting grid awarded to the driver with the fastest lap recorded during qualification.


A broad class of chemicals such as epoxy, polyester, nylon, acrylics, and polyurethanes. Usually made by causing a chemical reaction between two or more basic chemicals called monomers. A polymer's strength is mainly influenced by its structure, be it a chain, a planar or 3D structure.


The periods on Friday and Saturday mornings at a Grand Prix meeting when the drivers are out on the track working on the set-up of their cars in preparation for qualifying and the race.


In F1 mainly pointing to tyre warmers. Preheating is applied before a car is going to drive as to bring the tyres to the best possible temperature to perform at their maximum. Heating them up in advance allows less warming up time during driving and thus improved performance during the first out laps.


The reinforcing or molding material already impregnated with a synthetic resin. This applies in F1 to the construction of carbon fibre car parts.


The force exerted against an opposing body or the thrust distributed over a surface, expressed in weight per unit of area (Newton per square meter or Pa)

Absolute - The pressure above zero pressure, the sum of the atmospheric and gauge pressures. Atmospheric (Standard) - The pressure of the weight of air and water vapor on the surface of the earth at sea level, namely 29.92 inches (760 mm) mercury column or 14.69 pounds per square inch (101.3 kPa). Barometric - The atmospheric pressure as determined by a barometer, usually expressed in inches (mm) of mercury. Gauge - The pressure above atmospheric pressure. Vacuum - Any pressure less than that exerted

Pressure charging

Increasing the weight of the charge of the fuel/air mixture in the combustion chamber (over the weight induced by normal atmospheric pressure, ram effect and dynamic effects in the intake and/or exhaust system) by any means whatsoever. The injection of fuel under pressure is not considered to be pressure charging.


An action lodged by a team when it believes that another competitor is in breach of the technical or sporting regulations.


The action of a vehicle to deviate towards the side. There may be various causes for a vehicle pulling to one side or the other, the most common being: the brakes on either side exerting uneven pressure, incorrect wheel alignment, uneven tire tread, or a defect in the steering system.

Pull rod

Suspension arm that connects the top wishbone to springs or torsion bars located at the bottom of the chassis.

Push rod

Suspension arm that connects the lower end of the wheel's upright to the upper end of the chassis. Springs and torsion bars act on the pushbar to push the wheel down to the ground, or otherwise uphold the chassis itself. As such a push rod is constantly in push tension. Pull rods are similar but act exactly opposite.