Macau Grand prix Flags
As sophisticated as auto racing has become – with spotters, computer links
and radio communications, the key to understanding what is happening on the
track is in watching the flags used by race officials and corner marshals
Drivers rely on the flags to tell them what is happening during practice,
qualifying and racing. As a spectator, either at the track or via television,
you can tell what’s happening as soon as you see a flag. It only takes a few
minutes to learn what the different flags mean. While many of the flags have
similar meanings, there are variations between racing series, and sometimes
from track to track. A flags meaning also can differ depending on how the
flag is held. A stationary flag can have one meaning while the waving flag
can have another.
It’s up to the race officials and corner workers to make sure the proper
flag is used and held or waved appropriately.
The blue flag indicates “a competitor is about to overtake you”,
but if the flag is waved, it orders him to let the other car overtake, on
pain of a time penalty for obstruction. This order is only given to a car
which is one or more laps behind the overtaker. This flag is not used in motorcycle
The yellow flag indicates danger, and overtaking under yellow flag is always
prohibited, and warns the driver that may have to stop. When the Safety Car
is on the track all marshals will have the yellow flags waving and the start/finish
straight marshal will show a “SC” sign.
The green flag indicates the end of the danger and of the ban on overtaking
indicated by an earlier yellow flag.
Yellow Flag with Vertical Red Stripes
The flag with vertical red stripes warns the competitors that the track is
slippery (usually oil or water) or that there is debris on the track.
The red flag is displayed by all track marshals when a race is to be stopped.
This can be due to the track being blocked following an accident, conditions
of the track deemed unsafe, or if some other emergency issue is evident, such
as a driver fatally wounded. In Formula One, if 75% of the race has been completed
the race can be ended, otherwise a restart may take place.
The black flag, accompanied by the number of a car, summons the driver of
such car to return to his pit. This procedure is mostly used to notify a competitor
of his exclusion from the race. The driver has 3 laps to acknowledge the black
flag and if he does not come in within that time he may be heavily penalised
and/or fined. This is also used to bring in a car for a stop/go penalty. A
black flag with an orange disc (known as the “meatball flag”) accompanied
by the number of a car warns the driver that his car has a mechanical problem
and that he must go to his pit. A flag with a white triangle and a black triangle
accompanied by the number of a car is a warning for unsporting behaviour.
A white flag is used to indicate that a slower vehicle is on the track. This
may be a medical or safety vehicle. This is accompanied by a waved yellow
flag in the area of the slower vehicle and normal yellow flags rules apply.
The chequered flag always signals the finish of the race.
Grandprix website on flags.
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