Posts Tagged ‘F1’

F1 Terminology

November 12, 2012 2 comments

In Formula 1, words and terms are thrown around as much as a beach ball at a music festival. So, in this post, I will try and slice through the veil of linguistics and explain some of the most used terms in F1 today.

Definitions sourced from the Official Formula 1 Website,

107% rule

During the first phase of qualifying, any driver who fails to set a lap within 107 percent of the fastest Q1 time will not be allowed to start the race. However, in exceptional circumstances, which could include a driver setting a suitable time during practice, the stewards may permit the car to start.


The study of airflow over and around an object and an intrinsic part of Formula One car design.

Formula 1 Aerodynamics Wiki


The middle point of the inside line around a corner at which drivers aim their cars.


The consequence of a tyre, or part of a tyre, overheating. Excess heat can cause rubber to soften and break away in chunks from the body of the tyre. Blistering can be caused by the selection of an inappropriate tyre compound (for example, one that is too soft for circuit conditions), too high tyre pressure, or an improperly set up car.


The main part of a racing car to which the engine and suspension are attached is called the chassis. (See monocoque)


A tight sequence of corners in alternate directions. Usually inserted into a circuit to slow the cars, often just before what had been a high-speed corner.

Clean air

Air that isn’t turbulent, and thus offers optimum aerodynamic conditions, as experienced by a car at the head of the field.


Tread compound is the part of any tyre in contact with the road and therefore one of the major factors in deciding tyre performance. The ideal compound is one with maximum grip but which still maintains durability and heat resistance. A typical Formula One race compound will have more than ten ingredients such as rubbers, polymers, sulphur, carbon black, oil and other curatives. Each of these includes a vast number of derivatives any of which can be used to a greater or lesser degree. Very small changes to the mix can change compound performance.

CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics)

CFD is an essential part of  aerodynamics in F1. This is where teams use multiple super computers to calculate the airflow over and around the car. The teams then use Floviz in practice and pre-season testing to check how accurate their calculations were.

CFD Wiki

Diffuser (See Aero)

The rear section of the car’s floor or undertray where the air flowing under the car exits. The design of the diffuser is crucial as it controls the speed at which the air exits. The faster its exit, the lower the air pressure beneath the car, and hence the more downforce the car generates.

Downforce (See Aero)

The aerodynamic force that is applied in a downwards direction as a car travels forwards. This is harnessed to improve a car’s traction and its handling through corners.

Drag (See Aero)

The aerodynamic resistance experienced as a car travels forwards.


Also known as adjustable rear wings, DRS (Drag Reduction System) rear wings allow the driver to adjust the wing between two pre-determined settings from the cockpit. The system’s availability is electronically governed – it can be used at any time in practice and qualifying (unless a driver is on wet-weather tyres), but during the race can only be activated when a driver is less than one second behind another car at pre-determined points on the track. The system is then deactivated once the driver brakes.

See my post about DRS in F1:

Flat spot (See Tyres)

The term given to the area of a tyre that is worn heavily on one spot after a moment of extreme braking or in the course of a spin. This ruins its handling, often causing severe vibration, and may force a driver to pit for a replacement set of tyres.


Flo-viz paint is a special paint that teams put on specific aero pieces on the car. The car then drives around the circuit at a speed defined by the engineers. When the car comes back in, the paint has streaked and shows up how the air is flowing over the cars surface. The engineers study this and look for the correlation between it and the CFD predictions.

Graining (See Tyres)

When a car slides, it can cause little bits or rubber (‘grains’) to break away from the tyre’s grooves. These then stick to the tread of the tyre, effectively separating the tyre from the track surface very slightly. For the driver, the effect is like driving on ball bearings. Careful driving can clear the graining within a few laps, but will obviously have an effect on the driver’s pace. Driving style, track conditions, car set-up, fuel load and the tyre itself all play a role in graining. In essence, the more the tyre moves about on the track surface (ie slides), the more likely graining is.


Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems, or KERS, are legal from 2009 onwards. KERS recover waste kinetic energy from the car during braking, store that energy and then make it available to propel the car. The driver has access to the additional power for limited periods per lap, via a ‘boost button’ on the steering wheel.

See my post about KERS in F1 2012:


The single-piece tub in which the cockpit is located, with the engine fixed behind it and the front suspension on either side at the front.

Parc ferme

A fenced-off area into which cars are driven after qualifying and the race, where no team members are allowed to touch them except under the strict supervision of race stewards.

Plank (See Aero)

A hard wooden strip (also known as a skid block) that is fitted front-to-back down the middle of the underside of all cars to check that they are not being run too close to the track surface, something that is apparent if the wood is excessively worn.

Reconnaissance lap

A lap completed when drivers leave the pits to assemble on the grid for the start. If a driver decides to do several, they must divert through the pit lane as the grid will be crowded with team personnel.

Sidepod (See Aero)

The part of the car that flanks the sides of the monocoque alongside the driver and runs back to the rear wing, housing the radiators.


A driving tactic when a driver is able to catch the car ahead and duck in behind its rear wing to benefit from a reduction in drag over its body and hopefully be able to achieve a superior maximum speed to slingshot past before the next corner.


A system that beams data related to the engine and chassis to computers in the pit garage so that engineers can monitor that car’s behaviour.


Literally, the turning or twisting force of an engine, torque is generally used as a measure of an engine’s flexibility. An engine may be very powerful, but if it has little torque then that power may only be available over a limited rev range, making it of limited use to the driver. An engine with more torque – even if it has less power – may actually prove quicker on many tracks, as the power is available over a far wider rev range and hence more accessible. Good torque is particularly vital on circuits with a number of mid- to slow-speed turns, where acceleration out of the corners is essential to a good lap time.

Traction (See Aero)

The degree to which a car is able to transfer its power onto the track surface for forward progress.


The result of the disruption of airflow caused by an interruption to its passage, such as when it hits a rear wing and its horizontal flow is spoiled.


The tyres on an F1 car are the only contact it has with the ground. They provide the mechanical grip and traction needed to propel the car forward.

See my post about tyres in F1 here:

F1 Tyres Wiki

Hope all of this has cleared things up for you.

If you have any definitions you want or to add, type them in the comments down below. 

For more in-depth analysis of everything technical in F1, visit

Definitions sourced from the Official Formula 1 Website,

Videos sourced from YouTube, images from Google Images.

No copyright infringement intended.


F1 Broadcasts

July 11, 2012 Leave a comment

2012 has been one of the greatest years of F1 in many peoples memories.

But this year, watching this brilliance has been difficult for many.

In 2011, the BBC announced that they were making a deal with BSkyB over the 2012 broadcasts of F1. The reaction to this was not one of happiness. And, the announcement came in the midst of the News Corporation hacking scandal. With News Corps ties to a BSkyB takeover, people were not happy. At the time, there was an article in the Concorde Agreement stating that F1 viewership must be free. But Bernie Ecclestone, as many claimed, made a classic U-turn and said he was happy to sell F1 to a pay-per-view channel. It was this u-turn that had many people riled up.

F1 Broadcast Chatter

The details of the broadcast plan became public early after the decision was announced. Sky would create a dedicated “Sky Sports F1” channel showing every single session from every race live, with a weekly “F1 Show” and GP2 and Gp3 races live from each race. The BBC however, would show only 10 of the races live, the rest being extended highlight shows.

Many people already had Sky TV subscriptions, and the addition of a dedicated HD channell was great. But equally as many people, if not more, used the UK’s Freeview+HD service, allowing them to watch the BBC 2011 coverage in HD. Many people used Freeview, or Freesat as I did, because paying for Sky is just out of the question.

But what most people want in sports coverage is good presenters, good features and a sense that we are seeing the most we can. And with the side by side live race coverages, all these are met. Sky Sports F1 put together a great presenting team; Simon Lazenby and Georgie Thompson from a presenting side, added with Damon Hill, 1996 F1 World Champion, and Martin Brundle who crossed over from the BBC bringing his many years experience as a racer and a commentator, taking up position of lead commentator alongside David Croft. Crofty, much like Martin, has spent many years commentating on F1, most recently with BBC Radio 5 Live. Ted Kravitz and Natalie Pinkham, both of whom worked for BBC F1 TV and BBC Radio 5 Live, aer the two pit lane reporters, Ted covering the technical side, and Nat getting the Driver info and Team reactions to the days events. With appearences and analysis from Johnny Herbert and Anthony Davidson, to whom everyone wishes a speedy recovery from his crash at Le Mans, Skys Broadcasts are generally quite good.

Sky Sports F1 HD Team

The BBC kept their team as similar as they could, Retaining Jake Humphrey, Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard as presenters. DC, who commentated in 2011, was joined by lead commentator Ben Edwards. Ben has had a long and illustrious career in motorsport commentating,being likend in style to the great Murray Walker. Lee McKenzie stayed on as pit-lane reporter and a somewhat knowledgeable man was brought into the team.

BBC F1 Team

What F1 broadcasts have been lacking has been a purely technical input. Ted Kravitz had provided his outside expertise for many years, but no one had ever used an insider. but for the BBC in 2012, that was about to change. Gary Anderson has been involved in F1 since the early seventies, working with Brabham, Tyrrell, Jordan and others. Garys knowledge of Aerodynamics and car design is astounding, and his insights bring a very special insight into the hugely technical side of F1. You can speak all you like to Team Principles and Technical Directors, but they will only let you know so much. You need to be “in the know”, like Gary and Ted, to know whats really going on.

Gary Anderson

Ted Kravitz

As with all double broadcasts of a single sport, the competition is tremendous. The BBC have pushed to get the very latest info, with Lee McKenzie leading many of the race retired driver interviews. They have the same number of cameramen and crew and still hold a presence in the paddock. Sky Sports F1 has what can only be described as a “swarm” of  cameramen and crews moving in perfect unison around the paddock and pitlane.

BBC Crew

Sky Sports F1 Crew

As with all TV content, the online world is not too far away. And the BBC and Skys F1 coverage is no exception. A consortium of YouTube users are striving to put the best of the features, interviews, intros and outros of the shjows on the internet for those not in the UK, or those who want to watch it all again. And they are doing a might fine job of it! As soon as its broadcast, the cogs begn to turn and videos stream on line in Standard Definition, and quite soon after in HD.

There has never been so much choice in how to watch F1 since it began and through the F1 Digital+ era. The reason? Competition. The battle between the BBC and Sky has lead to the creators and producers putting in even more effort into the programmes. This can only mean goo for the viewers.

So, whatever way you watch it, or whichever broadcaster you choose, enjoy it. Be happy in the knowledge that you are getting as much info as you can, and in the highest quality of presenting.

Thanks to for the logo image.

BBC F1 on Twitter:


Jake Humphrey

Eddie Jordan

David Coulthard

Ben Edwards

Lee McKenzie

Gary Anderson


James Allen

Jaime Alguersuari

Andrew Benson

  Sky Sports F1 HD on Twitter:


Simon Lazenby

Damon Hill

Martin Brundle

David Croft

Natalie Pinkham

Ted Kravitz

Anthony Davidson

Georgie Thompson

Johnny Herbert

Sky F1 Insider

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Strange things…..

May 31, 2012 Leave a comment


Not often you see a Formula 1 car on a business test…..

Categories: Formula 1, Life Tags: ,

KERS in Formula 1 2012

May 20, 2012 Leave a comment

The 2012 season is well underway, and KERS is again a large part of it. To read the basics about KERS and how it was used in 2011,click the link ->

Now, Gary Anderson. Gary is the Technical Analyst for the BBC in 2012. He has worked with many F1 Teams, like Brabham, Tyrrell, McLaren, Jordan, Stewart and Jaguar. Throughout that,  he spent time working with cars in Formula 3, SuperVee and Formula 3000.

This year, Gary Anderson explains the KERS system, and gets a helping hand from Mercedes GP.

If you want an even more technical analysis of KERS, click here->

For super-indepth analysis of all things technical in Formula 1, go to


@FiveeNilF1 on Youtube ->

@scarbsf1 on Twitter ->

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More Tyre Explanations

September 10, 2011 Leave a comment

These are some Videos I found online that really help explain tyres in F1 🙂 Enjoy!

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Tyres in Formula 1

September 10, 2011 2 comments

Tyres have been a pivotal part of Formula 1 races this year. This years races have all been about pit strategy,  when will the tyres “fall off the cliff” and what tyre to change to.

Ever since Slick tyres were re-introduced back in 2009, lap times have decreased dramatically.

After the longevity of the Bridgestone era tyres, Pirelli were given a simple brief; Soft, quick Short lived Tyre, and Hard Slow Long Living Tyre. And Boy did they deliver.

SO, what have they done. Above are the 6 compounds Pirelli presented this year. The wet weather tyres; Orange Marked Full-Wet and the Blue Marked Inter Mediate, and the Dry Weather Tyres; Silver marked hard compund, White marked Medium compound, Yellow marked Soft compound and the Fastest tyre, The Super Soft Red marked Tyre.

Taken from the Official Formula 1 website: “A Formula One tyre is designed to last for, at most, 200 kilometres and – like everything else on a the car – is constructed to be as light and strong as possible. That means an underlying nylon and polyester structure in a complicated weave pattern designed to withstand far larger forces than road car tyres. In Formula One racing that means anything up to a tonne of downforce, 4g lateral loadings and 5g longitudinal loadings.”

The life of the tyre has been a huge tipping point of races. They have been won and lost on tyre choice and race strategy.And with the drop off in grip when the tyre runs out of compound being so massive, its even more crucial to not over run the tyre. A by product of this are what the driver call marbles.

These marbles are the compound of the tyre literally ripping themselves from the tyre it self. This led to a very interesting development in the famous T8 in Turkey, where on the inside of Apex 4 there was hundreds of marbles. On these parts of the track, it is really hard to find any grip.


With the tyres bing the only contact of the car to the track, Camber and Toe play a pivitol role in the cars handling. This was most controversial 2 weeks ago at Spa, where the top teams went over the camber reccomendation given by Pirelli. This led to the tyres blistering on the inside of the tyre, just above the shoulder on the front tyres. Most concerned was Adrian Newey, Chief Technical Director at Red Bull Racing.

There have been quite alot of Wet sessions this year, which has led to alot of data about the Wets and Inters being discovered.

But, have you ever wondered what would happen if you ran a wet tyre on a bone dry track? Well the BBC did, and they sent Lead Commentator and former Racer Martin Brundle to Pirelli, and had a go in the Test car, the Toyota TF109

Tyres have been one of the massive changes of this years Formula 1, and it dosen’t seem to be ending yet, with Pirelli developing next years tyres, its sure to be another corker of a season.

But till then, we’ve still got 7 more races to go.

Bring on Monza and Bring on 2012!

Categories: Formula 1 Tags: , , ,

KERS in Formula 1

June 20, 2011 1 comment

This is part 2 of my F1 blog series ( too short for a series?)

Brought back after its debut in 2009, KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) is one of this years main bits of technology in F1.

Put simply, a percentage of the energy generated, and wasted, in braking, is converted into electrical energy and stored in a power pack. This is then used to power a motor, giving the car an extra 80bhp for around 6-7s per lap.

The drivers can control KERS using a button or paddle on their steering wheel.

Now, Mercedes near perfected the system in 2009, the Brawn era, and this year is no different, match that to their highly effficent DRS system, and th MGP-W02 has massive straight line pace.But this is with conventional KERS. Red Bull, who used the system in 2009, have taken a different route with their 2011 KERS. What RBR have done, is compromised power output, with running a smaller battery pack and motor, but gained in packaging and weight, making the car just as competitive out of the turns.

But RBR havent had it all their own way. Since the start of the season, KERS has been a constant source of problems, which has lead to the dropping KERS for FP1 on Friday.

Back on track, one of KERS greatest moments was in China this year. Hamilton had a great run out of T15, had the run on Button because he used a “double push”; KERS becomes fully available as you go over the start finish line, and took Button into T1.

The electric charge in KERS is quite high, so safety and safety checks are paramount.

KERS will have a great impact on the rest of the season, as the smaller teams will develop their systems for 2010, and will pilot them at the end of the season.

Hopefully this blog series (?) was useful to some of ye, it certainly has been for me 🙂

Till the next time……

Links available on the DRS blog

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