D – F


This features on the rear section of the car floor (undertray) where air that flows underneath the car exits. A crucial element of the car as it control the speed of the air exiting; the faster it does this to more downforce it generates. Downforce is a major component in car speed; cars with lower downforce usually end up at the back of the field. See also: Aerodynamics, Downforce and F-Duct.

The lower section forms the diffuser

Dirty air

Air that is turbulent; usually when a driver is travelling behind another car for extended periods of time. This can have an effect on engine temperature and tire degradation. See also: Clear Air.

Dirty Side (of the track)

Obviously the opposite of the clean side; but to clarify it misses out on the advantages of that extra grip, and can also feature debris that is pushed over during the weekend. Without the help of cars clearing that side of the track is can hamper that all important start. See also: Clean Side (of the track).


You’re going to hear this word a lot in reference to the cars and the tracks. Air passes underneath a car and its wings, it’s forced to accelerate past the car and thus creates areas of low pressure. The difference between the low pressure below and the higher pressure above the car creates the downforce and presses the tires into the ground. This is what every team wants to achieve as it increases the grip the car has. However this does cause drag which the engineers have to work hard to offset this and remain competitive in terms of speed. See also: Aerodynamics.

Drive-through penalty

One of two penalties that can be awarded during the race by the Stewards. Drivers have to enter the pit lane and drive through at the speed limit, rejoining the race without make a stop. A huge headache for any team, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll end up behind. The driver will have a certain amount of time to complete this; get a few fast laps in and you could keep you position. See also: Appeal and Protest.

This will earn you a penalty...wont it Lewis?


There are limites surround engines to save money and to regulate. At the beginning of the season, each team is given an allocation of 8 engines per car, with the option of a 9th (with the penalty of 10 grid places). It is then up to the team to manage the mileage. Regulations include; must be a 2.4 litre 4 stroke engine in a 90 degree V8 format,  limited to both 4 valves per cylinder and 18,000rpm and must weigh at least 95kg (to stop wealthier teams using expensive materials to save weight).


Used to reduce total drag and increase straight line speed (this is McLaren territory). It works by taking air from the top of the chassis and funneling it though the cockpit towards the back of the car. During the straights driver have to use their left knee to block the air flow and alter the pressure, diverting the air over the top of the engine into the rear wing. Changing the air flow cuts downforce and thus the drag caused by it; they are rewarded with an extra 3mph. But don’t stress too much about this as it’s banned in 2011.

The McLaren f-duct


Federation Internationale De L’Automobile – Formula One’s governing body.

Falling off the Cliff:

A new term for 2011 regarding the life span of the Pirelli tyres. You’ll hear this term over the radio between the pitwall and the drivers as the rubber begins to lose grip.


You’ll see these at various points around the track during the race.

  • Checkered – waved at the end of each practice/qualifying session and to each car as it finishes the race
  • Yellow – danger. Single flag indicates to the driver to slow down. Two flags warns drivers to slow down and prepare to stop. No overtaking.
  • Green – All clear. Driver has passed the area of danger and can continue racing.
  • Red – Session/race has been stopped. Usually due to an accident or bad weather.
  • Blue – Warns slower drivers they are about to be lapped. Lapped drivers are expected to let the faster ones through; ignore three blue flags and risk a penalty.

Flat Spot

If a driver makes a mistake; locking his wheels up after heavy/sharp breaking, a portion of the tyre is worn flat. This causes a big problem for the driver as it causes vibration throughout the car as the wheels turn. See also: Tyres, Compound, Blistering and Graining.

Formation lap

The drivers complete one lap of the track before starting the race. It can also be referred to as the warm-up or parade lap. On this lap you’ll see the cars weaving about; this is get as much heat into the tires as possible before the race start.

For Sure:

The Formula One way of agreeing to something, e.g. ‘Yes it was a good race’ = ‘For sure, it was a good race’


Formula One Teams Association. This group was formed during a meeting in Maranello in 2008, and contains almost all of the Formula One teams on the grid today (HRT has left, see: FOTA Finish). The aim is to give the teams a united voice regarding discussions and negotiations with the FIA and the Formula One Group.

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