Flags – A Guide to the Colours of F1

A graphic of a car with F1 simplified written on the car and the flags of F1 below.

To a new fan, the number of flags in F1 is completely mind boggling. Here’s a simple explanation of every flag for you to refer to. Some are rarely seen, while others are completely essential to remember in order to understand the races.

Yellow Flag

Hazard or danger ahead and overtaking is prohibited. A single yellow flag means drivers must slow down, while a double waved flag means a driver must be prepared to stop at any moment.

A plain yellow flag.

Red Flag

The race is stopped, usually because of a serious collision, bad weather or poor track conditions.

A plain red flag.

Green Flag

Any hazard or issue has been cleared up and the drivers can resume racing at full speed.

A plain green flag.

Blue Flag

Shown to a slower car to indicate that a faster car is behind them and must be able to overtake them. The driver must allow the faster car to overtake within 3 blue flags or they will be penalised.

A plain blue flag.

Chequered Flag

The session/race has finished. The flag is waved when the race leader crosses the line for the last time or at the end of a practice or qualifying session to tell the drivers to stop.

Chequered black and white flag.

Black and White Flag

Shown to a car to indicate unsportsmanlike behaviour. It is a warning for a driver that they must improve their behaviour or they will be removed from the race (black flag).

A flag with a black triangle on top and a white triangle making up the rectangular shape.

Black Flag

A driver must return to the pits immediately and is disqualified from the race. Occurs when a driver has broken the rules and has ignored the warnings so they cannot continue.

A plain black flag.

White Flag

Indicates a slow-moving car ahead, for example a service vehicle or a safety car. Also shown at the end of practice sessions when drivers are performing practice starts.

A white flag waving on a blue background.

Black Flag with Orange Circle

Shown to a driver/car that has a serious mechanical issue and must return to the pit lane immediately and retire from the race.

A black flag with an orange circle in the centre.

Yellow and Red Striped Flag

Indicates track deterioration due to debris or fluid (e.g oil, water or other lubricants) that the drivers must be careful of as the track is slippery.

A horizontal yellow and red striped flag.

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