Formula One racing is a risky yet thrilling adventure sport. The driver has to be aware of each and every signal that is being displayed in order to reach the end of the race course safely. He cannot take risks of ignoring these symbols. A racing course will always have flags in different colors to help the drivers understand what is happening. As technology has advanced, the GPS marshalling systems present in the cockpit also displays the flags at each position.
Let’s have a look at some of the commonly used colored flags and understand their purpose. Most of the starter racing flags are waved by the grand marshal of the race to communicate messages to the drivers. At observation points, there are track marshals who inform the drivers about the track and course wide conditions.
Broadly divided, the flags fall into three categories:-
· Green –All clear indication. The driver can move ahead fearlessly and all restrictions imposed by the yellow flag has been lifted.
· Yellow –This is a sign of danger indicating a stranded car ahead.
· Red –the race has been stopped .This may be due to accidents or adverse track conditions.
· Red and yellow stripes-This flag is an indication of a slippery surface due to oil or water ahead
· White- White indicates a slow moving car ahead.
· Black flag- A flag that all drivers fear. This means that the car has been asked to return to the pit and the driver is excluded from the race. It is accompanied by the car number too.
· Black flag with orange circle- Again the car number is also shown. The driver has a mechanical problem and he is being asked to return to his pit.
· Half black, half white flag- A warning for unsporting behavior. This serves as a warning before the black flag is waved.
· Black flag with white cross-The car is no longer included in the race; however the driver ignores the black flags waved earlier and continues in the track.
· Blue flag-Indicated that a faster car is arriving and precautions should be taken to avoid mishaps.
This symbolizes the end of a race
As you can see, each and every flag is very important to the safety of the drivers.