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The Student News Site of Louisa County High School

The Lion's Roar

The Student News Site of Louisa County High School

The Lion's Roar

Formula One Terminology

Canva made by Brooke Pennella.

With a new Formula One racing season just starting, new fans might need to know a few terms to keep up with commentary during races. Learning basic terms can be helpful when first getting into a new sport. 


Box – The term used to signal to drivers that their team suggests they should pit. Often drivers are told “Box box” when their team is ready for them to enter the pit lane. 


Circuit – The track that drivers race on throughout race weekend.


Constructors’ Championship – The competition between each 10 teams on the grid. The team who receives the most points by the end of the season wins the Constructors’ Championship. Teams are composed of two drivers, technical and engineering staff. 


Drivers’ Championship – The competition between all individual drivers on the grid. The driver who receives the most points by the end of the season wins the Drivers’ Championship. 


Picture taken from Medium blog.

DRS – Drag Reduction System is a device on the back wing of the car used to increase speed and overtake another driver during a race. By opening the rear wing the aerodynamic drag of the car is reduced helping with speed increase. Drivers are only allowed to use this during certain times in a race, typically when they are only a second behind the car in front of them, and at designated places on the track called DRS Zones. 


FIAThe Federation Internationale de l’Automobile is the association that represents motorsports and promotes the safety of motor vehicle use all over the world. 


Formation Lap – A slowly paced lap done before a race used for drivers to warm up their tires,  and prepare for the race.


Front/Rear Wing – A Formula One car contains two wings; a front and a rear wing. The purpose of both wings is to better the aerodynamics of the car and to create downforce so the car had grip when taking turns. If built incorrectly or damaged it can greatly affect the performance of the car. 


Grand Prix – The name of each race followed by the location. For example “The Monaco Grand Prix” refers to the race that will be driven on a circuit in Monaco. 


Grid – The lineup of drivers for a race. At the beginning of a race it can be referred to as the “starting grid” which means the exact lineup and order of drivers before a race. 


Paddock – An area where teams and staff work before races and where equipment and media sessions are held. 


Pit Lane – The area and lane just off the main track where drivers go for a pit stop. Drivers must be cautious and drive at slower speeds when entering and exiting this area. 


Pit Stop – Drivers proceed to the pit lane for necessary repairs during a race often for tire or wing changes.


Podium – A stand where the top three drivers of the race wait to receive their trophies. A “podium finish” is used to refer to these three drivers’ positions after a race. 

Pole Position – The most front or first position on the grid at the start of the race. This is given to the driver who received the fastest lap in the third period of qualifying. 


Safety Car – A car that is deployed during a race to indicate and maintain safety on the track if there is a significant slow down or incident. 


Oversteer – Typically on corners when a driver turns the car more than needed the back wheels of a car lose grip, this leads to the car spinning out of control. 


Understeer –  When a driver does not turn the car as needed, the front wheels of a car lose grip. This leads to the car driving straight instead of turning.  

Picture taken from Canva.

Race weekends are set up over three days of racing which are Friday through Sunday. Fridays are practice days when drivers take laps of the circuit they will be driving on race day. Saturdays are for qualifying when drivers race for positions for race day’s starting grid. The goal for qualifying is to gain pole position. Sundays are race days when the actual race for the weekend is held. The goal of each race is to gain and keep the highest position possible which is referred to as “P1.” Based on the position a driver finishes they receive a certain amount of points which will go towards their standing in the Drivers’ Championship and their team’s standing in the Constructors’ Championship. Not every driver receives points after a race as only those who finish P1 through P10 are awarded points. There is so much more to a Formula One season than these basic terms, but this is a start to understanding. 


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