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F1

How to talk like a Formula One Expert

The Red Bulletin is here to translate F1 jargon and spin into plain English.
By The Red Bulletin
4 min readPublished on
Infernally complicated, awash with confusing acronyms, technobabble and plain old lies, Formula 1 has invented a complex language designed to baffle even the most ardent paddock insider.
01

WHAT ENGINEERS REALLY MEAN

1. “The new car is at a very early stage of development.”
“We have built a terrible car and frankly we have no idea how to fix it.”
2. “The problems we experienced at the last race haven’t affected our preparations for this weekend.”
“It sadly isn’t going to get any better than this.”
3. “Friday times aren’t representative.”
“Friday times are totally representative and we will be eliminated in Q1 all season.”
4. “We had a good Friday and got a lot of data.”
”We have confirmed that we are slow.”
5. “The driver’s feedback was clear and concise.”
“He only spoke once during the whole session but we could clearly hear him scream ‘I’ve crashed.’”
6. “Obviously there is always room for improvement.”
“There is no way of improving this.”
7. “We are still trying to understand the tires”
“We don’t understand the tires and we probably never will.”
8. “Strategy is going to be very important tomorrow.”
“We’re too slow to overtake anyone.”
9. “It’s incredibly tight in the midfield.”
“We are going to finish 9th this season.”
10. “We’ll go straight back to the factory to work on solutions for next week.”
“I’m planning to spend the next four days working on my resume.”
02

WHAT DRIVERS REALLY MEAN

1. “We had a small issue in FP1 that made things a bit more difficult.”
“I crashed.”
2. “We have a lot of work to do overnight.”
“The mechanics have a lot of work to do. I will be at the hotel.”
3. “The pace just isn’t in the car at the moment.”
“I am slow.”
4. “Degradation is an issue on this track.”
“I’m no good at looking after the tires.”
5. “Our long-run pace looks much more competitive.”
“I qualified 17th”
6. “Strategy will be important tomorrow.”
“I’m planning to blame the strategy tomorrow when I drop from fifth on the grid to 12th at the flag.”
7. “No one has experience of Miami, so as a rookie it’s great that this new circuit levels the playing field.”
“I’ve been slow everywhere else.”
8. "We need to look at what happened with our strategy.”
“Someone needs to explain to me why my teammate finished seven places higher than me following the exact same strategy.”
9. “I would like to thank all of the guys and girls at the factory for all their hard work”
“I’ve never been to the factory and I don’t even know where it is.”
10. “We win together and we lose together”
“Of course it’s the team’s fault I didn’t win.”
03

WHAT TEAM PRINCIPALS REALLY MEAN

1. “It was a complicated session.”
“I don’t understand Formula 1. I just sign the checks.”
2. “Driver X just needs some time to integrate with the team.”
“I signed that guy for $11 million a season, why is he so slow?”
3. “I trust in the FIA to implement the regulations to their full extent.”
“Our rivals are cheating but I don’t know how.”
4. “The Formula 1 rules are incredibly complex and open to interpretation.”
“We are cheating and I hope we don’t get caught.”
5. “We have championed the cost cap from the very beginning.”
“Our parent company has never given us enough budget.”
6. “Formula 1, as a sport, has too many rules and the fans don’t like it.”
“We have been penalized again and I’m pissed off about it.’
7. “F1 teams are not immune to the broader economic climate.”
“We're about to be found out as a massive Ponzi Scheme. Where do you think all the money comes from?”
8. “Now isn't the right time to talk about a new contract for our star driver.”
“Now is the exact right time to talk about a new contract but he won’t take my calls.”
9. “We'll get to his contract in due course, but right now Driver X just wants to concentrate on driving the car.”
“Fear of being fired is making him put in an unusual amount of effort.”
10. “There's absolutely no hurry to put pen to paper.”
“Hopefully a better driver will be on the market soon.”