Auto Racing Flags

Auto racing has come a long way over the years with the inception of spotters, computers and radio communication, but one thing that has remained consistent is the use of flags. Flags were first used in motor sports around 1899.They are an historic and essential part of racing to keep the fans and drivers informed of what is happening on the track at any given time. Flags tell the drivers what is going on during practice, qualifying and racing, and they also warn of driving conditions and let the drivers know what the officials want them to do. The colors and meanings of auto racing flags originate from old shipping ports, which used flags to signal to incoming and outgoing ships. You must understand the meaning of the flags though to be fully aware of what is happening on the track. Flags have different meanings in various racing series and sometimes even from track to track. Stationary and waving flags can have different meanings as can a flag pointed at a specific driver, so it's important the officials display the flags in their correct manner.

Formula1 Racing Flags are:

National flag
This flag is used to start the race. Stop Flag

Red Flag:
This flag is used at the start line to stop a practice session or a race. It may also be used to close the circuit. When shown, all drivers should slow down immediately and move to the pit lane and be prepared to stop. There is no passing allowed on this flag.
Finish Flag

Black and White Checkered Flag
This flag is used to end a practice session or the race. Pit Flag

Black Flag
This flag is used to let the driver know he must stop at his pit. If the driver fails to stop, the flag should not be shown for more than four consecutive laps. Mechanic Flag

Black flag with an orange circle in the middle
This flag is used to inform a driver his car has mechanical problems that could be dangerous and thus, to stop at his pit to have the problems rectified. Unsportsmanlike Flag

Black and White Diagonal Flag
This flag is used to warn a driver he has been accused of unsportsmanlike behavior and should be shown only once. Danger Flag Flag

Danger Flag
This flag is used to signify danger. Drivers should slow down, not pass and be ready to change direction due to a hazard beside or on the track. Oil or Water ahead Flag

Yellow Flag with Red Stripes
This flag is used to let drivers know there is oil or water on the track ahead. It should be displayed for at least four laps.

Passing Flag
This flag is used to let a driver know he is about to be passed. It has different meanings in practice and a race. In practice it means give way to a car that is passing you. In a race it means you are about to be lapped and to give way to the car. Slow Auto ahead Flag

White Flag
This flag is used to let drivers know there is a much slower auto ahead. Slow Cars Ahead

Green Flag
This flag is used to indicate the track is clear and should be used after the use of a yellow flag. It can also be used to start a warm-up lap or practice session. Track is clear Flag

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