Formula One glossary

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A special kind of winglets commonly used on Formula One cars between 2003 and 2008 before being banned ahead of the 2009 season. T-wings were small wings positioned on top of the sidepods, just ahead of the flipup in front of the rear wheel. Their name originates in their frontal look, usually a central support and a small wing element on top of it. Variations did however exist with the support beam connected to one of the outer edges of the winglet.

Later on, the name T-wing was also given to small wings added to the shark fins on engine covers during the 2017 season. An error on the regulation writing opened up a 5cm area ahead of the rear wing, enabling teams to position winglets of all sorts in this area. 3 races into the season, the F1 Strategy Group decided to correct the error and ban the devices for 2018.


A device used to indicate the speed of the engine in rpm (revolutions or cycler per minut). The tachometer is mounted on the dahboard or the steering wheel. It helps the driver to know the optimum rpm for changing gears on manual transmissions. A tachometer is also a diagnostic device which a mechanic uses to determine idle speed and other carburetor and running settings. Also called a "rev counter".

Tear-off strip

Because a Formula One driver does not have a windscreen, his crash helmet visor can get very dirty during the race. Instead of windscreen wipers the driver has a number of tear-off strips on his visor, these thin clear strips cover the visor and are removed to give the driver a clear view.


Manner of sending radio signals from either the car to the pitbox or the other way around. Particularly useful to determine the right setup as revs, ride height, gear, throttle and brakes can be studied based on these reports. Two way telemetry also enables drivers to change settings on the car to increase performance or avoid problems.

Tensile strength

The ability of a material to withstand a load under tension (i.e., when being pulled apart). Tensile strength is expressed in Pa or psi. This is the point on the pull curve where the maximum stress occurs.


Braided Kevlar double strap bolted to the wheel on one end and to the chassis on the other to keep the wheel attached to the chassis in case of an accident.

Thermal Energy Recovery System (TERS)

Also called HERS (Heat Energy Recovery System) is a combination of devices aimed to convert kinetic energy from heat. One common example of such a system is a turbine that recovers heat energy from an engine's exhaust to drive a compressor and/or charge another energy storage device, such as an electrical battery.


Having the property of certain resins and paints that prevents them from running off vertical surfaces


A throttle is a hydraulically operated mechanism - indirectly linked to the accelerator pedal - used to increase or decrease inlet gases to the engine. In a normally aspired F1 engine, each cylinder has its own butterfly throttle valve on the top of the engine unit to control the amount of air that enters each of the engine cylinders from the airbox. As the driver presses the accelerator, the throttles will open up to let more air into the cylinders, enabling to burn more fuel. Read more on the throttle system of F1 V8 engines from 2006 to 2013.


One of the essential factors in a internal combustion engine (Fuel, Air, Proper proportion of mixture, compression, Timing, spark). When the piston is in the compression stroke, both valves must be closed. If one or more is open, the valve timing is out. Perhaps a timing belt or timing chain has jumped a tooth. If the spark does not arrive at the correct moment, the engine is out of time. If this ignition timing is only slightly off, the engine may run with less efficiency.
Timing in modern F1 engines is taken care of by the ECU (engine control unit) which is a digital device monitoring the engine and keeping it adjusted to the correct settings.

Timing gear

The camshaft and crankshaft are connected to each other by gears. They provide a means of driving the camshaft. This system is used where long life and hard service are expected as in commercial vehicles and race cars. Using gears is generally a noisier method than using a timing chain or a cog belt to drive the camshaft.


An extremely strong metal, titanium is a rare metal that is stronger than steel yet can be as light as aluminum. Various alloy mixtures of titanium exist, with the strongest alloys featuring the same weight as aircraft aluminum but a much higher rigidity. Titanium was used by teams such as Ferrari for gearbox casing before carbon gearboxes were proved possible and efficient by B.A.R in 2004.


"Toe-in" and "toe-out" are important in setting up a car. Toe in is an adjustment of wheels where the distance from the centre of the left wheel to the centre of the right wheel is less at the front of the wheels than at the back of the wheels. A slight amount of toe-in is usually specified to keep the front wheels running parallel on the road by offsetting other forces that tend to spread the wheels apart. The major force is the backward thrust of the road against the tire tread while the vehicle is moving forward. Other factors include play in the tie-rod assembly and allowance for angular changes caused by wheel bounce or variations in road conditions. Toe out is obviously the opposite setting and is mostly unwanted. Both settings are measured in fractions of an inch or millimetres.


Turning or twisting force such as the force imparted on the drive line by the engine. Usually measured in Nm or lb-ft. It differs from work or power in that torque does not necessarily produce motion. Basically, the magnitude of a torque acting on a body is the product of the magnitude of a force and its force arm (perpendicular distance from the axis of rotation of the body to the line of action of the force). This product is called the moment of the torque about the axis or the torque.

Torque arm

Torque, also known as a moment of force, is a pseudo-vector that measures the tendency of a force to rotate an object about some axis. In a natural system, the torque arm connects the centre of the axis to the point where the force is applied. As such, the length of the torque arm is defined as , where T is the torque around an axis and F the applied force.

Torque curve

A graph which shows the engine torque as a function of engine speed

Torque steer

A tendency for a car to turn in a particular direction when power is applied. Torque steer is common in front-drive cars because reaction forces created in the half-shafts can generate uneven steering forces in the front tires.


The strain on a part or component produced by torque

Torsion bar

Uses the flexibility of a steel bar or tube, twisting lengthwise to provide spring action. Instead of the flexing action of a leaf spring, or the compressing-and-extending action of a coil spring, the torsion bar twists to exert resistance against up-and-down movement. More on F1 suspensions

Track rod

One of the transverse bars connecting the steering system to the steering arms; the link between the pitman arm and the steering-knuckle arm.


This is the degree that a car is able to transfer power onto the track surface for forward momentum.

Traction control

With all the power a Formula One engine produce the car can never generate enough traction (grip). To prevent wheel spin the teams use an electronic system called traction control to regulate the engines power whenever it detects the rear wheels spinning.


The truck that moves all cars and their equipment from circuit to circuit, unless at oversees races, when all equipment is transported by airplane.


A device (full of gears) that uses gearing or torque conversion to effect a change in the ratio between engine rpm and driving wheel rpm. When engine rpm goes up in relation to wheel rpm, more torque but less speed is produced. A reduction in engine rpm in relation to wheel rpm produces a higher road speed but delivers less torque to the driving wheels.

Transverse mount

The engine is mounted sideways. The fan belt will be over one of the tires rather than in the very front of the vehicle. This is common in front-wheel-drive cars. This enables the car to be more compact because the space under the hood is used more efficiently and provides better weight distribution.
F1 cars all have their engine and gearbox mounted longitudinally but there used to be cars with a transverse gearbox in the past.

Tubeless tire

A tire which does not have a tube. Air is sealed in the tire chamber because the bead of the tire adheres to the tire's rim. First developed by B. F. Goodrich in 1948. All F1 tires are currently of the tubeless type.


Turbos were pioneered in F1 by Renault in 1977, and lasted until 1988. The power generated by the turbine devices was extraordinary, with qualifying trim reaching outputs of over 1200 horsepower.


Turbulent airflow is when the fluid streamlines break into complex changing patterns. This can cause unstable forces on an object. As the airflow moves from the front of the car to the rear it becomes turbulent. The more auir is turbulent, the less efficient will wings be.

Turn in

The turn in point at a corner is the point at which the driver will begin to turn the steering wheel to drive round the curve.

Turning vane

Deflectors located between the front wheels and sidepods to direct turbulent flow away from the tunnels. This eliminates a source of turbulent air to the tunnels. Cleaner air to the tunnels creates more downforce.

Twin keel design

Traditionally on high-nosed racing cars, the lower wishbone of the suspension is mounted on a single pylon that drops down. Recently some teams have used two smaller pylons on the sides of the chassis to mount this wishbone to leave the space underneath the chassis free, what's called a twin keel chassis. This configuration allows for a better airflow under the car's nose cone. In contract however, it is generally better to have longer wishbones, so that this 2-pylon configuration may be a little adverse for the front suspension.
This type of design was introduced by Sauber in 2001, and one year later more clearly visible on the Arrows A23.

Tyre blanket

A special type of tyre warmer in the form of an electrified flexible blanket. Such a device is wrapped around a tyre and connected to electric current so that the rubber can be heated up to its optimal racing temperature. Tyre warming is beneficial during the first lap of using a tyre as it is immediately close to working temperature and therefore faster.

Tyre compound

Every circuit has a different characteristic, each track wearing tyres at a different rate. Tyres are available to the teams in a variety of compounds (from very soft to hard). Which compound a team uses is dependent on their strategy for the race, driver preference and how many pit stops they want to make.

Tyre warmer

Tyres operate best a certain temperature - in the case of Formula One tyres, it is around 90°C. Before the car is sent out on the track the tyres are heated up by specially shaped electric blankets known as tyre warmers.