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From Green to Checkered: A Beginner's Tour of Colorful Formula 1 Flags

Get up to speed on the colorful world of Formula 1 flags and their meanings with this easy-to-read guide, perfect for new fans!

Green Flag: All Clear!

The green flag signals that the track is clear and safe for racing. It's waved at the start of warm-up laps, practice sessions, qualifying sessions, and after any incidents that required the use of yellow flags.

Blue Flag: Make Way!

The blue flag has different meanings during the race weekend:

At all times: Informs a driver leaving the pits that traffic is approaching.

During practice: Informs a driver that a faster car is close behind and about to overtake.

During the race: Informs a driver about to be lapped that they must let the faster car pass at the earliest opportunity. Ignoring three warnings can result in a penalty.

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White Flag: Slowpoke Ahead

The white flag indicates that there's a much slower vehicle ahead. It's commonly seen at the end of practice sessions when drivers complete practice starts.

Yellow and Red Stripes Flag: Slippery When Wet

A stationary yellow and red striped flag informs drivers that grip levels have decreased due to oil or water on the track.

Yellow Flag: Danger Zone

The yellow flag signals danger and comes in two forms:

Single waved: Drivers must reduce speed, avoid overtaking, and be prepared to change direction due to a hazard beside or partly on the track.

Double waved: Drivers must significantly reduce speed, avoid overtaking, and be prepared to change direction or stop due to a hazard wholly or partly blocking the track and/or marshals working nearby.

Code 60 Flag: Slow Down, Everyone

The Clerk of the Course or Race Director may impose a speed limit on the entire track or certain sections. This is indicated by a single yellow flag and a board with 'FCY' (Full Course Yellow) or a purple flag with a white circle containing the number 60 (Code 60), setting a 60 km/h limit.

Red Flag: Time Out!

A red flag means that a practice session, qualifying session, or race has been stopped due to serious incidents or poor weather conditions. Drivers must reduce their speed and follow specific instructions depending on the session.

Black Flag: You're Out!

The black flag disqualifies a driver and orders them to return to their pit garage immediately. The decision to show this flag rests solely with the stewards.

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Black Flag with Orange Disc: Pit Stop Required

This flag informs a driver that their car has mechanical problems posing a danger to themselves or others. They must stop in the pits as soon as possible to address the issue.

Black and White Flag: Play Nice!

The black and white flag serves as a warning to a driver reported for unsportsmanlike behavior. It is accompanied by the driver's race number.

Chequered Flag: Finish Line

The black and white chequered flag marks the end of any practice session, qualifying session, or race. It is waved until all competing cars have crossed the finish line.

Flag Panels: Digital Assistance

In addition to trackside marshals displaying flags, digital light panels are installed around all F1 circuits to ensure clear communication with drivers, taking into account day and night events and changing weather conditions.




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