Glossary of Motorsport Terms

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  • Fan car - Usually refers specifically to the Brabham BT46 Formula One car, although the concept was actually pioneered by sports car manufacturer Chaparral Cars on the Chaparral 2J. The placement of a large fan at the rear of the chassis driven either independently or by the engine with the purpose of creating negative air-pressure underneath the car to create additional downforce for increased cornering speed.
  • Fastest lap - fastest time in which a lap was completed by a driver during a race. Sometimes rewarded with bonus championship points.
  • FIA - Stands for: Fédération International d'Automobile. It is the ruling body of world-wide motor sport, based in Switzerland.
  • Field - The competing cars in an event.
  • First or Worse - In drag racing, if both drivers commit a foul, the driver who commits the foul first loses, unless it is two separate fouls, where the loser is the driver who committed the worse foul;[citation needed] (lane violation is worse than foul start, and failure to participate in a post-run inspection is worst).
  • Flag-to-flag coverage - Television or radio coverage that consists of the entire race start-to-finish rather than highlights, tape delayed, "packaged" coverage, or highlights of the first portion of the race before broadcasting the final quarter of the race live. Derives from green flag (start) to checkered flag (finish). Instituted largely in the late 1970s, with the 1979 Daytona 500 being the first major 500-mile race with live, flag-to-flag coverage.
  • Flat Spot - The term describing an area of a tiyre that is worn heavily only in one spot. This can happen after extreme braking or during a spin. A flat spot in the tyre impedes the cars handling, often causing severe vibration and in many cases forces the driver to go for a pit stop to change tyres.
  • Flying lap - A lap started by a competitor at optimum speed, as opposed to a lap from a standing start, usually in qualifying.
  • Formation lap - One lap around the circuit just before the start of the race. After the lap, cars are stopped again on the grid in the starting formation, ready to start the race. Sometimes drivers use this lap to warm up their tyres, which explains why they drive their vehicles in a wavy pattern.
  • Formula racing - A type of racing, generally open wheeled, where the conditions of technical entry comply with strict rules or formulae.
  • Free practice - When drivers or riders learn the circuit and/or teams experiment with race settings for the track.
  • Full course yellow - When yellow flags are deployed at every flag point around a race circuit and a Safety Car leads the field until a hazard is cleared.