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F1 Glossary

Accident Data Recorder A 'black box' designed to record the loads experienced by an F1 car in an accident. Data can be accessed by the FIA for use in safety research. Active Suspension A computer controlled system used to maintain the car's ride height at the ideal level at all times. Such systems were banned at the end of the 1993 season, along with other electronic driver aids in use at the time. Aerodynamic Balance A state of equilibrium between the downforce on the front wheels and the downforce on the rear wheels. Too much pressure at the front causes oversteer, too much at the back understeer. Aerodynamic Efficiency A term used to describe the relationship between the downforce a car generates, and the cost in terms of drag and hence straightline speed. Airbox The large opening above and behind a driver's head, which forces air into the engine trumpets. Aquaplaning A description of what a driver experiences when his car completely loses contact with the road surface when running in extremely heavy rain. Apex The point on the inside of a corner which a driver clips with his wheels when running on the ideal line. Armco The brand name of a crash barrier company which has been adopted as a general term. Autoclave A giant oven used by teams in the manufacture of carbonfibre chassis and components. Barge Board A vertical piece of aerodynamic bodywork mounted on small stalks, just behind the front wheels. Its purpose is to direct the airflow around the cockpit in as efficiently as possible. Blistering A description used when tyres become so worn that small holes appear in the tread, usually in excessively hot weather. This is less common since grooved tyres were been introduced. Bottoming A term used by drivers to describe the effect of the car hitting the ground over bumps or under braking. Brake Balance A control a driver can use to switch the percentage of braking power applied to the front and rear of the car. CAD/CAM Shorthand for 'computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacture', a process used by teams to design and develop their cars, and which has superceded the traditional drawing board. Carbon Fibre Material used for the construction of chassis, bodywork, suspension and other F1 car components. The first such chassis was built in 1981, by McLaren. Centre of Gravity

For neutral handling. Drive through Penalty A penalty applied to a driver during a race. Engine Mapping A process used to adjust an engine's performance characteristics electronically. FIA The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile is the governing body of motor sport worldwide. the centre of gravity of an F1 car should be near the middle and as low as possible. Chicane A combination of tight bends designed to slow the cars at what would otherwise be a fast and dangerous corner. and it is currently run by its elected President. Crash Testing A process which all new F1 designs have to undergo before the start of the season. . The drivers' World Championship began in 1950. This has been reduced since the introduction of grooves in 1998. The more downforce a car has. Flat Spot A patch of severe wear created on a tyre when a driver spins or locks up his brakes. Those at the front are carefully shaped to control the airflow around the front wheels. They began to appear on F1 tracks in the 1970s. See also STOP AND GO PENALTY. It plays a crucial part in controlling the airflow below the car. the more grip it will have in the corners. Diffuser A shaped piece of bodywork found underneath the gearbox and between the rear wheels. and thus has a direct effect on handling. but will be increased again by a return to slick tyres in 2009. Centre of Pressure The point on which all the aerodynamic forces of an F1 car are concentrated. The term became common in the late seventies. the centre of pressure should be near the middle of the car. Downforce The downwards pressure created by the car's aerodynamics as it moves through the air. and the constructors' equivalent was introduced in 1958. often for an offence such as passing under yellow flags. The driver has to pass through the pit lane within the prescribed speed limit. Constructor A term often used in place of the word team. These crash tests include simulated front. Max Mosley. It can lead to a vibration because the tyre is no longer perfectly round. For neutral handling as well as good road holding. FOM Formula One Management is the organisation overseen by Bernie Ecclestone and which works in conjunction with the FIA to run the commercial side of the sport. Footprint The contact patch between the tyre and the track surface. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Computer systems that allow designers to predict the airflow around a new design before they cross-reference their findings with data gathered from testing wind tunnel models. End Plate The vertical panel attached to the side of a wing. rear and side impacts. plus a simulated roll. Its main offices in Paris and Monaco.The point around which the weight of that car is evenly distributed or balanced. Drivers can select different maps with a control in the cockpit. under the supervision of the FIA. notably controlling the worldwide TV rights. In past years it has also been known as the CSI and FISA. but does not have to stop.

When it is lifted the driver is free to leave the pits. Marshal Officials who stand at the trackside and either wave flags to warn drivers. the HANS system is a piece of carbon material worn on the driver’s shoulders and to which his helmet is attached by straps. gloves. Medical Centre The on-site hospital which every Grand Prix circuit has to have. F1 cars use specially developed flexible 'bag tanks' which are virtually impregnable in the case of an accident. Monocoque An alternative name for chassis.Formation Lap The final warming-up lap before the start of the race. After this lap they go back to the pits to have their cars checked by their crew. See also CONTACT PATCH. Kevlar A synthetic material used in the manufacture of chassis and bodywork parts. . or assist if there is an accident or spin. Fuel Cell An alternative term for fuel tank. Ground Clearance The distance from the track surface to the lowest part of the chassis. Its role is to protect the driver’s neck in a heavy accident. Left Foot Braking A technique first used in rallying which allows a driver to keep his right foot poised on the throttle while using the left for slowing the car. Usually it consists mostly of small pieces of rubber that have been thrown off by the tyres. Nomex The brand name of a fire resistant material used in the manufacture of drivers' overalls. Marbles A nickname for the debris which builds up just off the 'clean' racing line of a circuit. Gravel Trap An area of small stones designed to slow a car when it spins off. Nose A general description of the front bodywork of an F1 car. Also known as ride height. They are regularly inspected by the FIA’s medical staff to ensure that they are up to standard. Grooved Tyres Introduced for the 1998 season. boots and underwear. It has become common in F1 as the clutch pedal has been phased out. grooved tyres were an easy way of keeping a check on grip levels by reducing the amount of rubber applied to the road. during which drivers take it relatively easy to ensure everything works properly. Installation Lap The first lap during a practice session. Also known as parade lap. Lollipop A sign on a pole used by a chief mechanic to show a driver where to stop in the pitlane. HANS Also known as a Head And Neck Support device.

Pole Position The place on the front of the grid awarded to the driver with the best qualifying time. Roll Bar A suspension component which connects the left and right suspension and allows them to act in harmony. in order to make sure its basic functions are working satisfactorily. Ride Height See: Ground Clearance. with the slowest teams eliminated at the end of each session. Safety Car Start In extreme weather conditions the race can be started with the cars running behind the safety car until the track is deemed safe. The session is divided into three 15 minute sessions. Also used to describe short test sessions undertaken before newly rebuilt cars are taken to the next race.Oversteer The situation a driver experiences when the back of the car begins to slide. Sidepod . Pit Board A sign system used to signal information to a driver as he passes the pits. Plank See: Skid Block. Radio communication has yet to make this method obsolete. Paddock The area behind the pits where team trucks and motorhomes are parked. Scrutineering A checking process cars go through before and after a Grand Prix in order to ensure that they fully comply with the technical rules. Qualifying A session on Saturday afternoon which determines the grid positions for Sunday’s race. To counter it this he has to turn the steering wheel into the skid. Parade Lap See: Formation Lap. Also sometimes used to describe the hoop above a driver' head designed to protect him in an accident. thus applying 'opposite lock'. Paddle A hand control located behind the steering wheel. Pop-off Valve A pressure relief valve used to limit the power of turbocharged engines in 1986-'88. Paddles can be used to operate the clutch and to change gears up or down. The road between the garages and the track itself is known as the pit lane. Shakedown A term usually used to describe the first test a brand new car undergoes. Pits A row of garages where the teams prepare their cars during the race weekend. Safety Car A high performance road car which is used to slow down the field in the case of a major accident or bad weather. Personnel gain access to the F1 paddock via an electronic turnstyle which automatically checks passes. Races are also re-started behind a safety car after suspensions.

but were superceded by grooved tyres in an attempt to curt cornering speeds from 1998. and cannot be fixed in time for a re-start. specifically during trips to races. Tear-Off Strip . Slicks were in use between 1970 and 1997. Team Manager A team member with day-to-day responsibility for organising logistics. they are due to return in 2008 and new examples were tested by teams in December 2007. If after the race more than 10% is worn off. Starter The FIA official who has the job of overseeing the start of a GP and the countdown procedure which precedes it. Steward A senior FIA official who makes judgements on possible rule infractions. The team is not allowed to touch the car during such a stop. Slick A completely smooth dry weather tyre. the use of safety cars has made such scenarios very rare. Street Circuit A track based entirely or in large parts on public roads. wait for a specified time (usually 10 seconds) before leaving. No longer allowed. In the past team principals were very often also the owners of the team. usually with the barriers running close to the edge of the track. including one from the host nation and one permanent steward who travels to every race. they were an integral part of 'ground effect' cars from 1977-81. the car will be disqualified. There are three stewards at each GP. Sidepods contain the radiators and also act as a cushioning device in the event of a heavy accident. Team Principal The man who acts as a ‘figurehead’ for the team and looks after its interests in its dealings with the FIA and FOM. Its most usual role is as a substitute if a race car is damaged at the start of a red-flagged event.The section of bodywork either side of the driver's cockpit. The job has been carried out by Charlie Whiting for many years. Skid Block (Plank) A rectangular panel (30cm wide and 1cm deep) fitted underneath the car as means of controlling the ride height during the race. but now most are hired employees. and it is largely an administrative role. Stop-and-Go Penalty A punishment given to a driver during a race for an offence such as jumping the start. See also drive through penalty. or speeding in the pitlane. The driver has to return to his pit. but this is no longer the case. In 2008 Valencia and Singapore join Monaco on the F1 calendar. Splash-and-Dash A nickname for a quick pitstop for fuel near the end of the race. usually required because of a miscalculation by the team. T-Car An alternative name for the spare car each team brings to a race. In the past the team manager would have controlled race strategy from the pit wall. However. However. Sporting Code / Regulations The official terms for the FIA rules that govern how a race weekend is run. Skirt A plastic strip used to seal the gap from the bodywork to the road in the area between the wheels.

Traction Control An electronic means of reducing wheelspin when a driver pressed the throttle. The ideal racing tyre combines both characteristics. Teams may also employ additional test drivers. Temperature has a critical effect on the behaviour of tyres. Timed Practice A term used to differentiate practice sessions on Friday and Saturday morning of a Grand Prix from the qualifying session held on Saturday afternoon. Drivers will normally start a race with three or four tear-offs on their visor. revealing another clean layer below. Tyre Warmer An electric blanket used to bring tyres up to operating temperature before they are fitted to a car. Turning Vane See: Barge Board. as it was felt they were an unnecessary aid to driving. either by redesigning the suspension or by adding a 'spacer' to increase the gap between the engine and gearbox. . Understeer A term used to describe the handling of a car whose front wheels tend to 'push' straight on rather than follow the direction of the steering wheel. and a 'soft' compound gives more grip and is faster. Wheelbase The distance between the front and rear 'axle' lines. In general a 'hard' compound is more durable. It is aerodynamically shaped at the rear. Teams can make a huge difference to handling by adjusting this figure. where engineers can see how the chassis and engine are behaving in real time. Technical Director Usually the team member with overall responsibility for overseeing the team who design and develop the cars. Often test team mechanics graduate to the race team. and hence the car's handling. Some drivers prefer their cars to have a strong understeer characteristic in faster corners. although the role can be different in different teams. Transponder An electronic device that sends data from the car to the pits. Undertray An alternative name for the floor of a racing car. Test Team A group of mechanics and engineers employed by a team to concentrate on preparing cars for testing. Tyre Compound A term used to describe the 'ingredients' used to manufacture tyres. to ensure a clear view for as long as possible. It later returned but was banned again at the end of the 2007 season. Telemetry The process of sending data from a moving car to banks of monitors in the pits. Such devices were banned at the end of 1993. but it loses a lot of time in slow corners and chicanes. Times are recorded but do not count towards grid positions. Technical Regulations The branch of the FIA rules that focuses on to what specifications the cars are designed and built. and who do not attend Grand Prix as part of the actual race teams.A thin film of plastic that can be ripped off a helmet visor during a race. which is seen as a more prestigious role. Third Driver The third driver is officially nominated as the reserve driver who undertakes testing duties and can step in if one of his colleagues is injured or taken ill.

Wishbone A triangular shaped suspension component. . usually found at the rear of the sidepods. Each corner of a car has a pair of upper and lower wishbones. They are now banned in order to prevent teams from finding extra downforce. usually with 50-60% scale models.Wind Tunnel A facility used by teams for aerodynamic testing of cars and parts. Winglet A nickname for supplementary small wings.

may be different. a high speed circuit. The grip levels are reduced on a wet or a dirty track. Oversteer is when the back end of the car loses adhesion and tries to overtake the front and understeer is when the front end breaks free first. has its cars deprived of all the wing possible so that it runs on reduced drag and increased speed on the long straights.5kgs against the 3. and also on subtle changes in the slopes of roads. however Formula One cars use carbon fibre composite brake discs that are light weight and can operate under high temperatures. At different circuits the profile. with the engine and the front suspension mounted directly to it. Brakes Braking is one of the most important tests of a Formula One driver's skill: too much braking causes the brakes to overpower the available levels of grip from the tyre. or turbulence created when the flow of air separates from the body. Hundreds of separate carbon fibre components are bonded together using very powerful adhesives and then baked at high temperatures. Cockpit / Safety The safety of the driver is of immense consideration when building a Formula One car.Aerodynamics A dictionary defines aerodynamics as 'a branch of mechanics that deals with the motion of gases. have two hugely different configurations. incorporates the cockpit of the car and is the most prominent component of the car's structure. The wings on the race car operate on exactly the same principle as airplane wings. According to the technical regulations of Formula One. three and a half times its own weight lateral cornering force thanks to aerodynamic downforce. Driver fitness The drivers need to go through a period of conditioning to be strong enough to last for the complete duration of the race. Monaco and Monza. with the credit going to the strength of the survival cell. Drivers who consistently judge the limits they can take cars under cornering are considered to be the most successful. The vital aspects in understanding cornering are oversteer and understeer. but too little will cause the driver to miss the ideal racing line. The past few years have seen a number of accidents where the drivers have survived.0kgs of a similar sized steel disc and glows deep yellow when very hot. light honeycomb structure with a high density woven laminate on the exterior panels. As such. Cornering Turn in. a car should have a twin circuit hydraulic braking system with two separate reservoirs for the front and rear wheels. planes use their wings to create lift. or configurations. The central principles of Formula One aerodynamics is to create the maximum amount of downforce for the minimal amount of drag. apex. for instance. The monocoque is constructed from carbon fibre. that is the driver faces a complete circuit failure. Each weighs about 1. The tub or the cockpit of the car heats up and puts a lot of F1 Glossary . The interiors are a strong. he can still brake through the second circuit. right from the shape of the suspension links to that of the driver's helmet. A Formula One car is capable of developing 3.5g. An F1 car has disc brakes like every ordinary road car. Monaco's tight and slow circuit requires aggressive wing profiles. especially air and their effects on objects in the flow'. Turn in is simply turning the car towards the corner.Detailed . The "monocoque" structure. while Monza. The apex is also called the clipping point and is the neutral point in cornering that happens approximately two thirds from the entry of the corner. a modern Formula One car has every single bit of its surface considered for aerodynamic effects. which is usually referred to as the "tub". The constantly evolving technical regulations by the FIA have emphasised the importance of safety requirements. The last stage is the exit where the driver steers back the car. and exit are the three stages a racing car takes in cornering. except in the reverse: where race cars use their wings to create downforce.

These high-revving machines consume a phenomenal 650 litres of air every second. they are made of very thin material. Green Flag This indicates that it is clear for the driver to gain his speed and that the danger indicated by the yellow flag has been cleared Red Flag Waved due to poor track conditions or an accident to signal the race has been stopped. making race fuel consumption typically around the 75 l/100 km (4 mpg) mark. including gloves. The overalls are multi layered. such as pasta. but to ensure the driver can have the greatest feel and grip of the steering wheel. to give them stamina for the race and also drink large amounts of water to avoid dehydrating through sweating. FIA regulations now require the use of 2. Yellow Flag This flag warns drivers to slow down in the event of a stranded car ahead. Most of the cars on the grid now run on seven speed units plus reverse gear.000 RPM. Instead of the stick-shift found in most road cars. Drivers clothing The helmets and clothing of a Formula One driver are designed to adapt to the extreme conditions of racing. There are two large straps that are so strong that they can pull the driver and the seat together from the car. the driver selects gears via one of two paddles fitted behind the steering wheel. a special display on the steering wheel lights up with relevant flag colour. but muscle tone is also crucial to withstand cornering the end of the race a driver could easily shed close to 3kgs of their body weight! Swimming. Slowing down and preparing to stop if necessary is indicated by waving two yellow flags. The nutrition of the driver and control of diet is similar to that of track and field athletes. Today the clothing is made of fireproof materials. and change gear in less than half a second. running and cycling are some cardio vascular training methods used to better for physical endurance. Revving at such massive speeds equates to an accelerative force on the pistons of nearly 9000 times gravity.4 litre V8 engines that rev to 19. Blue Flag . a man-made fibre that can withstand high temperatures. Helmets protect the head from major impacts and the clothing.strain on the body . It is waved first at the winner and then to every car that finishes the race. Engine/gearbox Formula One engines are designed to balance power and durability. During race weekends they eat food rich in carbohydrate. Drivers also regulate their diet by being careful with their intake of carbohydrates and protein. Flags A number of coloured flags are used to communicate important messages to the drivers during the course of the race. including Nomex. Chequered Flag Indicates the end of the race. but are also lightweight. the gearbox is highly sophisticated. suits. The soles of the drivers shoes are also made of the same material to allow the driver to sense movement in the brakes and accelerator. In modern Formula One cars. The gloves are also fireproof. underwear and boots reduce the risk of burns in the event of fire. To ensure a driver notes the flag. To build up this strength drivers use specially designed 'rigs' that are not available with conventional gym equipment. with FIA regulations governing power output and stipulating engines must last two race weekends.

The first HANS device went on sale in 1990. The amount of fuel used differs with weather conditions and the demands of different circuits. White Flag A slow moving vehicle on the track is indicated by a white flag. The rigs that pass fuel are designed to function quickly and safely. 'Active' safety systems and the airbag system were also considered but the research was mainly shifted to HANS. a biomechanical engineering professor at Michigan State University. HANS HANS stands for Head And Neck Support system and has been compulsory in F1 since 2003. where the FIA's mobile testing laboratory compares a sample of the fuel tested before the season and the actual fuel used at the race. which helps vapour and air to be extracted while fuel is added. An integral part of a modern Formula One race strategy is refuelling at the pit stop. This fuel is also tested at races. who require a submission of the fuel blend for prior approval of composition and physical properties. In the event of a mechanical problem the driver is warned and asked to return to the pits.This flag indicates that a driver is followed by a faster car. For a typical season of Formula One. Yellow and Red Striped Flag The driver is warned of a slippery track ahead. It functions as a safety device to protect the neck and head from loadings during the rapid deceleration caused in an accident. It does not require any electronic or power supply and caters as an entirely passive device. Helmets . This safety device instead consists of a carbon fibre "collar" which is worn by the driver around his neck and fitted under his shoulder belts of the safety harness. This is controlled by the FIA. Figures suggested that HANS reduced head motion during impacts by about 44 percent. Half White Flag This flag is accompanied by a car number. While testing this system the advantages of it became clearer. Refuelling requires team effort for quick operation: one person holds the heavy hose. the force exerted on the neck by around 86 percent and acceleration or change in velocity by about 68 percent. Half Black. while the other handles disengaging the nozzle and another stands by a fuel cut off switch that is next to the pump itself. or he is about to be lapped by a driver ahead. 000 litres of fuel testing and racing. but it was not until Mika Hakkinen of Finland had a major accident in Adelaide in the mid 90s that the FIA conducted tests with DaimlerChrysler to develop the best way of protecting drivers' heads against accidents and impacts. Black with Orange Circle Flag This flag is accompanied by a car number. HANS was invented in the mid 1980s by Dr Robert Hubbard. The driver is warned of unsporting behaviour. The hose acts as a 'sealed system'. a team uses over 200. but now there must be demonstrable links between the race and road fuel. The drivers helmet is then loosely connected to the collar by tethers and locked in place by the tightening safety harness. A mixture of 'non hydrocarbon' compounds are allowed in the fuel of modern Formula One car. Fuel Many regulations have been introduced regarding the composition of fuel. Black Flag The black flag is also waved with a car number that signals the driver has to return to his pit as he has been excluded from the race. however strong volatile power-boosting additives are banned.

with some equipment being sent by sea and some by air. travels by road on custom-made articulated lorries. When a driver breaks rules or sporting code of racing. however the outer design may look similar to the ones worn by drivers in the 1980s and 70s. In 1985 a Formula One helmet weighed close to 2kg but it increased during cornering and deceleration. They also have several transparent tear off strips that can be removed during the course of a race if dust gathers on the visor.000km a year between races and test sessions. Deployment of the safety car and other important instructions are under the responsibility of the race control unit. The logistical efforts required to transport the team and their equipment will increase with the ascendancy of the number of races outside Europe. Paramedics and doctors are stationed at key points around the need to make more frequent pit stops. safety car. contact with relevant personnel about marshal posts. The insides are coated with anti-fogging chemicals to prevent it misting up in wet conditions. Ambulances. including the race cars. with specialist medical teams with high powered cars stationed within easy reach of any track incident.25kg. To do so. legal and on schedule. however a disadvantage of more pit stops means the driver loses around 30secs per stop.The construction of the helmet has gradually changed over the years. Today helmet manufacturers construct helmets in many separate layers to combine both strength and flexibility in large impacts. Race strategy In order to win races a team's strategy is vital. The logistical effort has gone beyond merely getting people and equipment in place. Medical Formula One races today must have medical representatives present that can rapidly take action in the event of an accident. MedEvac helicopters and medical extraction teams are also present at the event with equipment to remove a casualty stuck in the car. qualifying and race sessions. This in turn risked a 'whiplash' type injury in major accidents. He will have access to data such as the pit lane speed trap. Logistics On average each team in the FIA Formula One World Championship travels close to 160. Safety Car . medical response car and the medical centre. Race control Race control is responsible for monitoring and supervising all the stages of practice. Dr Gary Hartstein is the FIA's medical chief. most of the equipment. Additional information is accessible by the FIA race director. the race control unit make use of CCTV (closed circuit television system) to locate problems and take action quickly. For all the non European 'flyaway' races the logistical effort is more complicated. For European races. increasingly complicated race strategies followed. it is the duty of the race control unit to discipline the drivers. The visor of the helmet is flameproof and has tremendous visibility and excellent protection in the case of an impact. tools and spare parts. They are now reasonably lighter at around 1. In order to race with lower fuel load . When Formula One reintroduced fuelling stops in the late 90s. The FIA race director and three race stewards make sure the race is safe. A medical centre is also available at each circuit with a helicopter landing pad to allow the casualty to be transferred to hospital if required.and hence go faster . with the inside made of a strong fibre-reinforced resin over carbon fibre similar to the material used to construct bullet-proof vests.

The current model for a safety car is a CLK 63 AMG that has been modified to reduce its weight and improve braking response. The safety pulls off into the pits at the end of the lap and as they cross the line the race is back on Suspension Different elements go into producing the best performance in a Formula One car and suspension is a critical interface between all those elements. The race controller initiates the start sequence once all the cars have halted on the grid . The pitlane reopens when the correct race order has been restored. with the pack running behind in race formation until the obstacle has been cleared. Testing Track testing is used to find numerous improvements and fine tune minute details of the cars. Bernd Maylander. the spring and damper rates are very firm unlike in road going cars. though the number of cars per session is still limited to two. In 1990. 2007 brought about Grand Prix Fridays that also serve as a test day with teams permitted to run an extra test driver.The safety car is sent out when an incident on the track needs clearing. During the impact. Before the start of the race proper. however even with its 481 bhp output from its V8 engine its only still little more than half the power of a current Formula One car. All through this process a 'safety car' board is on display to drivers as they cross the start-finish line. A safety car is always ready to be dispatched at just seconds notice by race control as it is on standby in the pitlane throughout a Grand Prix. the impacts are defused as quickly as possible. has been given the responsibility of piloting the Formula One safety car. Mercedes Benz has been the supplier of safety cars since 1996. In Formula One cars. in order to avoid an oscillating force from building up. but the race director does not feel it necessary to stop the race. the drivers complete one lap of the track at relatively low speed – this is called the 'formation lap'. it immediately joins the track and from that moment no other car may enter the pitlane and overtaking is not allowed. His experience makes sure that speeds are still high enough to allow the race cars to function correctly. a regulation was introduced banning any kind of electronic intervention on "active" suspension of all Formula One cars. The manpower and logistics involved in a modern Formula One team's testing program is vast. This information is also relayed from the pitlane over radios An exact procedure is followed when the race controller orders the safety car to leave the track. The Race Start Formula One's most exciting moment is considered to be at the start as it can significantly determine finishing position: a bad start can ruin the day's race whereas a good start can lead to a podium finish. Most big constructors have separate testing teams in addition to the actual racing team and test at FIA approved tracks mainly in Europe. When the safety car is deployed it picks up the leader of the field. an experienced racer who has driven in the tough German Touring Car Championship (DTM). but also to make sure that he does not complete the lap too fast and be left sitting on the grid for a long time as other cars take their positions behind him. This is a challenging test for the driver in pole position as he has to tactfully control the pace of the formation lap to work some heat into his tyres. From the time the race controller decides to deploy the safety car. the shock absorbers are released and the spring absorbs the energy of the impact. In the event of an impact or hitting bumps. The safety car turns off its orange flashing lights at the start of its final lap. Competitors remain behind in formation knowing fully that at the start of the next lap they will be racing again.

and the medical cars and course cars are also in position. . The race is underway when the final red light goes out.