Q – S


Pretty self explanatory; when a driver has to drop out of a race due to an accident or mechanical failure. Excuse the pun but this really is the pits for a team. If it’s a mechanical failure the blames goes to the engineers and mechanics, if it’s an accident the driver becomes the focus.

Ride Height

Simply put, it’s the height between the floor of the car and the track surface. See also: Bottoming.


As in ‘rubbering in the track’. As the weekend progresses and the longer the cars spend on the track the more rubber they lose off their tyres. Drivers may hate degradation; but during practice they want as much rubber as possible to leave their tyres and lay on the track. You’ll see it as a darker line on the track; the ‘racing line’. See also: Clean side (of the track) and Dirty side (of the track).

The dark rubber left on the racing line

Safety Car

When a race is yellow-flagged; this is the vehicle you see come out of the pits, it runs for a period of time in front of the lead car until the issue is resolved. Under the safety car no one is allowed to overtake the car in front. Sometimes this can be used to a team’s advantage; you’ll see a lot of cars pitting under a safety car and on some circuits a safety car is inevitable.


These are the checks the car has to go through before it is allowed to race. There are several checks 3 days before each GP and then more throughout the race weekend. Dimensions and weight are among the elements that have to be passed before their cars are permitted to compete.


Each circuit is split up into three sections for timing purposes; it tends to be around one third of the total lap distance. Known as sector 1, 2 and 3. You’ll see them depicted on most track layouts.


An often used tactic to take advantage of the reduced pressure experienced behind the car in front. By doing this the driver is slipping into the air stream created by the car in front; the pressure is lower by the air is turbulant so they can’t do this for too long or the tyres will suffer. You’ll know when drivers are doing this as they’ll get close to the car in front and then quickly pull out around them. Just don’t end up like Mark Webber in Valencia and you’ll be alright.

Stepped Nose

An almost uniform feature of the 2012 grid with a FIA regulation change the noses of the cars were set at a jaunty angle, this was to combat the possibility of the nose intruding the cockpit in a side on collision. Safety can’t always be pretty.

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