Race Officials are armed with a set of message flags for passing messages to drivers. Marshals are positioned at many various points around the circuit during every race. All flags use have different meanings depending on their colour
Whilst the history and tradition of the sport has men actually waving flage, it is common now to see electronic ‘flagboards’ at regular intervals. These flagboards display the current status for the race and that specific sector of the track if different.
- The single yellow flag indicates that there is some kind of danger ahead in that track sector such as a crash or debris. Drivers must reduce speed as they go past the incident.
- No overtaking is permitted except when a driver retiring in the section makes it unavoidable or a driver is lapped.
- Double waved yellows at the same post indicates great danger ahead.
- Drivers must slow down and be prepared to stop; no overtaking is permitted unless a driver is lapped.
- Yellow flags PLUS the SC board (a large white board with “SC” in large black lettering) indicate that the Safety car is on the track.
- All drivers must slow down, they must not overtake and they must be prepared to leave the normal racing line or even stop as a threat obstructs all or part of the track.
- Drivers may make a pitstop when the Safety Car is on the track, in several cases during 2010 the deployment of a safety car was a strategy-changing event – pitstop refuelling not available 2010 championship therefore one stop only required for mandatory tyre changes in dry weather .
- A green flag indicates that the threat or incident has been dealt with and the race may recommence.
- If the safety car has been deployed, it will have left the track and drivers may recommence racing speeds and may again overtake.
- Green Flags may also be shown at all marshal stations during a parade lap and at the commencent of a practise session.
- The race, practice session, or qualifying session has been suspended.
- Drivers in the pits must stay there.
- Drivers must drive to the red flag line and stop. They will be reordered in their correct racing order.
- Depending on the nature of the reason for the red flag, sessions may be resumed or abandoned as the race director decides.
- If the safety car is deployed, the cars should follow it. The SC may divert the field into the pit-lane and wait there. Other than that, drivers who enter the pits will be given a drive-through.
- A stationary light blue flag may be shown to a driver exiting the pit lane to warn them that cars are approaching on the track.
- During practice, a light blue flag tells a driver that a faster car is approaching from behind and they should move out of the way
- During a race, a light blue flag warns a driver that they are going to be lapped by a faster car and that they must let it pass.
- A driver may incur a penalty if they ignore three blue flags in a row.
- A white flag indicates that there is a slow vehicle on the track and instructs drivers to slow down.
- Slow vehicles include Ambulance, Towtruck, Fire engine etc
- A black flag is a discualification and Drivers are instructed to return to their pit and report to the Race Stewards
- The flag is shown only to the driver in question and accompanied by a pit board with the driver’s number so there can be no mistake.
- The famous black and white chequered flag indicates the end of the race, practice or qualifying session.
- On race day it is shown to the winner as they pass the finish line and then to each subsequent driver who finishes his lap
Half Black Half White Flag
- A half black and half white flag is a slap on the wrists! It tells a driver that they have acted in an unsportsmanlike manner and if not corrected immediately, they will be disqualified or black-flagged. As
- with the black flag, a board with the car number is shown to accompany the flag for the avoidance of doubt.
Black with Orange Circle Flag
- A black flag with an orange circle of 40cm diameter in its center tells a driver that there is a mechanical problem with a car that constitutes a risk to themselves, other drivers, officials or spectators and that the driver should return to the pitlane
- This is also shown with the car’s number on the board
Yellow and Red Striped Flag
- A yellow flag with red stripes warns drivers that the track surface ahead is slippery, or there is debris present. This could be as a result of a car spilling oil (or some other engine fluid), or because rain is starting to fall. Slippery runway in an area, either by water or oil. Drivers must slow down at that point.
- Most Flags must measure a minimum of 60 cm by 80 cm.
- The chequered flag and the red flag must be minimum 80cm x 100cm.