F1 TERMINOLOGY: A complete list of terminology used in Formula One from A to Z. You will find 100s of Formula 1 terms and definitions used by drivers and race officials.
F1 drivers and marshalls use this vocabulary in Formula One racing. The titles and common F1 phrases will also help spectators and motorsport fans.
The official Formula One rules and regulations is a good place to start if you are learning about motor sport. These F1 key words cover the advanced lingo and popular racing terms related to the sport.
Speed your way through to the most common Formula One terminology by clicking the alphabet facility below. Or slow down while you brush up your knowledge and understanding of F1 racing.
This comprehensive list of car racing terms and definitions continues to grow. Check in often for more information associated to F1 driving techniques and race-winning strategies.
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A – Abu Dhabi
The 5.55-kilometre Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi is a shining example of modern F1 circuit design.
Since 2009, the country has hosted the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on the spectacular Yas Island.
It was the first Formula One twilight race boasting top speeds of 325 km/h.
Formula One added Azerbaijan to the race calendar in 2016.
The race track in the capital Baku became the fastest street circuit in Formula One racing.
Renowned F1 track architect Hermann Tilke designed the Azerbaijan layout.
B – Backmarker
In Formula One terminology ‘backmarker‘ refers to drivers who are lagging behind.
According to Formula 1 rules a backmarker will get shown the blue flag. This is an instruction to give way to the leading drivers.
In F1 terminology, blistering is a term used for a tyre problem. Blistering usually occurs following an improper tyre compound selection. Excess heat often leads to chunks of hot rubber breaking away from the tyre.
Box Box Box
The ‘pit box‘ is an area in front of each team garage designated for their race car to stop. There are times when a race engineer will want his driver to make a pit stop – usually for a tyre change.
They instruct them to make the stop using Formula One terminology of ‘pit this lap‘ or ‘box this lap‘. Asking a driver to ‘box box box‘ refers to the engineer asking the driver to make an emergency stop.
C – Circuit
There are two regular types of Formula One circuit. The purpose-built race tracks will either be a Street Circuit or a Road Circuit.
The vehicle cockpit is the seating area for the driver in a Formula One race car.
The FIA is the official governing body of Formula One sporting regulations. They passed a rule in 1981 that respective F1 teams have to build their own engine and chassis of the car. The ‘constructor‘ is the owner of the car’s engine and chassis.
D – Delta Time
In F1 terms ‘delta time‘ refers to the difference in time between two laps or two race cars.
At the discretion of the FIA, two demo days can go ahead to celebrate championship success.
The governing body has slackened F1 rules on demonstration events. The amendments mean teams will be free to demo their current cars from 2018.
F1 race marshalls can impose a drive-through penalty to any driver. They are penalties handed out for a minor offence or a violation of Formula 1 track rules.
This type of penalty requires the driver to drive at a minimum speed and enter the pit lane. He must drive through the pits without stopping. But, the driver can rejoin the race afterwards.
E – Engine
A Formula One car is an open-wheel, open-cockpit, single-seat racing car. The two main components that compose every F1 car are the chassis and the engine. Check out the full Formula 1 car specifications.
F – Flat Spot
The portion of a heavily worn out tyre gets referred to as a flat spot. As a rule, excess spin or extreme breaking causes a flat spot.
Formation Lap (warm-up lap)
The warm-up lap takes place before the start of the race. A formation lap goes from the grid for one full lap and then back to grid starting positions.
G – Grand Prix
An individual race in any season is a ‘Grand Prix‘ often shortened to GP. This refers to one of the most frequently asked questions in Formula One.
H – History
The origins of Formula 1 racing date back to the 1920s in Europe. F1 originated from other similar motor racing competitions.
I – Idle Speed
A Formula 1 car engine does not have a stable idle RPM. In fact, it is fair to say they are poor at low RPM’s. Engineers run the engines in the boxes or on the grid. During this time they always put the engine in a higher revolution than the idle speed.
The same thing happens during the pit stop. As the driver stops, you can hear the unstable noise of the idle. It runs around 10.000 rpm but the driver soon accelerates to a higher RPM.
J – Jump Start
A jump start occurs if the driver moves away early at the start. He must wait until all the red lights go off. That signals the start of race. The jump start is one of the penalties in Formula 1 monitored by grid sensors.
K – Keyring
A selection of Formula One keyrings are available as souvenirs and emblems.
L – Lollipop
The lollipop is Formula One terminology for the sign board used at the pit stop.
A lollipop signals to the driver to apply the brakes and stay in first gear before the car gets lowered from jacks.
M – Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz is currently involved in Formula One running Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. They are a Formula One chassis team based in the United Kingdom.
N – Night Race
September 2008 saw the first ever night-time Grand Prix which took place in Singapore.
O – Official Rules PDF
We recommend reading through the simplified guide to Formula 1 rules and regulations first. But, the FIA Official Rule Book portable document format may be useful once you are familiar with the basic version.
P – Parc Ferme
Formula 1 parc ferme is a restricted area which prohibits team members. All race cars must visit this are after the completion of practice or the race. Only Formula One race stewards can supervise the parc ferme area.
In Formula One terminology the pits are a designated an area of the track and separated by a wall. Race cars enter the pit garage of their team to change of wheels, for refueling, and to set up other car changes.
A pit board gets used to inform a driver about delta time and the remaining number of laps. Holding a pit board at the pit wall also informs a driver of their current position in the race.
The pit wall is a team area with small screens for the F1 manager, engineers, and support staff. Form the pit wall they can keep close watch on their cars under a shelter.
All drivers try to record the fastest time during the qualifying session. The fastest driver gets awarded the pole position (first grid position) on race day.
Q – Qualifying Rules
The rules for Formula 1 qualifying sessions take place on the second day, Saturday. They are one hour sessions beginning with the 3rd practice session of the morning. The afternoon qualifying session determines the starting order for race day, Sunday.
R – Racing Points System
The F1 racing points system contributes towards the outcome of the World Drivers’ and World Constructors’ Championships at the end of the F1 season.
S – Scoring
As a rule, there are 20 Grands Prix in each racing season. The Grand Prix race winner scores 25 points. Scoring the win also gains 25 points towards the Constructors’ Championship. All drivers finishing in the top 10 positions will score points for that race (from 25 to 1 point.
Formula One stewards are high-ranked officials appointed for races. Each steward has a specific role to play including making decisions on driver safety techniques.
T – Tyre Warmer
In terms of Formula One a tyre warmer is a type of electronic blanket for car tyres. They get wrapped around the tyres before the race starts. Teams use tyre warmers to keep the rubber at optimum temperature before the race begins.
U – United Kingdom
The British Grand Prix usually takes place at the Silverstone Circuit. This race track is in Northamptonshire in the United Kingdom.
V – Visor Strip
The visor strip provides the top edge of helmet with extra protection. F1 helmet visor strips are usually made of Zylon. This composite is a high-resistant carbon fiber material.
W – World Champion
The most successful Formula One racing car driver gets determined by a points system based on Grand Prix results over a season.
X – Xbox One
F1 Xbox One was official videogame for the 2016 Formula One World Championship.
Y – Yellow Flag
In Formula One racing a yellow flag indicates danger. Marshalls show yellow flags if there is a stranded car ahead. A single waved yellow flag warns drivers to slow down.
Two waved yellow flags at the same post means drivers must slow down and prepare to stop when necessary. Overtaking is not allowed during any yellow flag situation.
Z – Zippo Lighter
F1 fanatics can buy a race car zippo lighter. It costs around fifty dollars and it comes in an original box.
The 107% rule is a Formula One sporting regulation which affects qualifying sessions. The rule occurs most during the first phase of qualifying. All drivers must set a lap within 107 percent of the fastest time recorded. Failing to attain this in the first qualifying session means they cannot start the race.
The FIA first introduced the F1 107% rule for the 1996 season and remained in force until 2002. They reintroduced the ruling for the 2011 season with some minor modifications. It became part of the knock-out qualifying format.
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