Posts Tagged ‘tech’

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.


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 ->

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

Categories: Formula 1 Tags: , , , , ,

DRS in Formula 1

June 15, 2011 Leave a comment

This is the first of a two part blog series of F1 Tech, the next being about KERS, but today’s is DRS.

DRS, or Drag Reduction System, is a new system in Formula 1. Its where the flap in the rear wing tilts upwards, decreasing drag giving a higher top speed on straight sections of track, defined by the FIA in the race, but anywhere on track in practice and qualifying.

DRS was introduced by the FIA to increase overtaking, and its done its job, but some would say a bit too well.

What DRS has done, in more than a few races, is given the car behind, which was within the 1 second gap of the car in front at the detection line on track, a massive speed advantage, so the car easily passes with no chance of a comeback from the passed car. This problem was most evident at Turkey, where the DRS activaion line was too early on track.

Last weekend in Canada, however, we saw the debut of two DRS zones, one on the long straight between T12 and T13, and the second straight after from the Start line to T1. The result was the car behind at the activation zone (exit of T12) was ahead by the last chicane, and then had DRS at the pit straight, leaving no chance for the passed car to attack into T1. This was the system behind Mark Webbers third place finish, pusing Schumacher to fourth after zone 1, and extending the gap in zone 2.

So the question is this, is a two DRS zone race too much, or is it down to the position of the detection and activation lines of the zones?

My opinion is that its the position of the detection and activation lines is the issue. There should be the detection line for zone 1, and another detection line for zone 2, or combine the activation line for zone two, with the detection line for the same zone, giving the passed car the chance to attack into the next corner, making for heart stopping racing. This may lead to the spreading out of the zones ( with option one ) or the continuation of back-to-back DRS zones ( option two ).

EDIT: Point raised by @charlie_whiting on twitter, with the two detection lines, there will be a separate computer system for each line, and when the car that passed in zone one reaches zone two, the two have DRS.

But again, do we really NEED two DRS zones? This year, overtaking numbers have been huge, and with the ongoing development of the Pirelli tyres, and the refinement of the various KERS systems, do we have enough overtaking oppourtunities?

Thats up to the FIA,but that was my view on this years F1 tech.

Formula 1 Web Site

DRS Technical Aspects

Formula 1 App (iOS + Android)

#f1 on Twitter

Categories: Formula 1 Tags: , , , , , , , App Review

June 14, 2011 Leave a comment

image is a program/service thats avaiable across PC, Mac and Android. is a screen sharing app, letting others see what you’re doing on your machine. Its uses a secure 9 digit code, given whem you set up a session.

It also has the facility to let people who are viewing your screen to use your machine, but only after you give permission.

An excellent use of is for peope whondont know alot about computer maintainence. They can easily set up, give control to a person that knows about pc mantainence, and they can work on your machine, while you watch on, learnng how to fix the issue, and about pc’s in general. is a great and well put together app.

Its available from:

Android Market:
And for your Mac or Windows PC: