F1 weekend: Here's your one-stop guide

F1 racers Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas.
F1 racers Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - This year’s Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix promises to be a pivotal battle between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, with only three points separating the two rival drivers. 

The Straits Times breaks down A-Z F1 lingo for beginners, and dishes out some race day tips for racegoers.

F1 lingo for beginners

Apex: The middle point of the inside line around a corner at which drivers aim their cars.

Bottoming: When a car’s chassis hits the track surface as it runs through a sharp compression and reaches the bottom of its suspension travel.

Chicane: A tight sequence of corners in alternate directions. Usually inserted into the strip to slow the cars, often just before what had been a high-speed corner.

Downforce: The aerodynamic force that is applied in a downward direction as a car travels forwards. This is harnessed to improve a car’s traction and its handling through corners.

DRS: Drag Reduction System, which allows the driver to adjust the rear wing to boost overtaking.

ERS: Energy Recovery System, which harnesses waste heat and kinetic energy that can subsequently be used to propel the car.

Flat spot: The spot on the tyre worn heavily by extreme braking or a spin. This ruins handling and causes vibration and may force a driver to the pit for tyre replacement.

G-force: A physical force involving gravity which drivers experience as they corner, accelerate and brake.

Handling: Car’s responsiveness to driver’s input and its ability to negotiate corners effectively.

Installation lap: A lap done on arrival at circuit, to test car’s driving functions.

Jump start: When a driver moves off his grid position before the start signal. Earns penalty points.

Kevlar: Composite of synthetic fibre and epoxy resin for strong and lightweight car construction.

Lollipop: Sign on stick held in front of driver at pit stop as signal to apply brakes and gears.

Marshal: Course official who oversees safe running of the race.

Nomex: An artificial, fire-resistant fibre used to make drivers’ overalls, underwear, gloves and boots.

Oversteer/Understeer: Oversteer is when the car’s rear end tries to overtake the front end as the driver turns in towards the apex. Understeer is when the front end of the car does not want to turn into a corner and slides wide.

Parc ferme: A fenced-off area into which cars are driven after qualifying and the race, where no team members are allowed to touch them except under the strict supervision of race stewards.

Ride height: The height between track’s surface and door of car.

Safety car: The course vehicle that is called from the pits to run in front of the leading car in the race in the event of a problem that requires the cars to be slowed.

Tyre compound: The type of rubber mix used in the construction of a tyre, ranging from soft through medium to hard, with each offering a different performance and wear characteristic.

Undertray: A separate door to the car that is bolted onto the underside of the monocoque.

Visor strip: The strip of carbon fibre-reinforced material that is fitted to the top edge of a driver’s helmet for added protection.

Zylon: A synthetic material found in bulletproof vests which has strong anti-penetration properties and is used to strengthen helmets and the sides of the cockpit. 

Race Day Tips

Transport: It is highly recommended that you take public transport to the Marina Bay Street Circuit. Most gates are within walking distance of an MRT station.

Arriving at the Circuit Park: Gates open at 3pm on Saturday and Sunday. Gates close at midnight daily.

What to wear: Wear light and comfortable clothing, footwear suitable for walking and consider wearing a hat and bring sunblock.

What to bring: Pack light, bring only the essentials - your phone, a spare battery for camera, etc. You may enter with one small plastic bottle of water.

What not to bring: Do not bring laser pointers, food and beverages, flying drones, unmanned aerial vehicles, scooters, pets, etc.

Children: Children are welcome, but prepare them for the crowds, long distances to walk, loud sounds and the general hustle and bustle of a large event.

Watching the race: The race is broadcast on superscreens across the Circuit Park. Bring along an FM receiver to tune in to the track commentary.