Slipstream in F1, also known as tow, is when the car in the front effectively pushes the air out of the way down the straight, reducing the air resistance and therefore drag for the following car.

When the lead car drives down the straight it punches a hole in the air giving the car behind the benefit of this ‘pocket of air’ that is less dense and therefore easier to get through. This allows the following car to gain a speed advantage while it is within the pocket. 

Teams use this to their advantage, usually in qualifying, where one car will give the other a tow to contribute towards the optimum lap time. 

Andrew Burden

The author Kiwi F1 Fan