|Atlas F1 Guide: The Meaning of Flags|
The critical positioning of flags, the highly visible link between a driver and the trackside officials and marshals for a Grand Prix race, is a painstaking operation undertaken by the race director in a series of circuit inspections which will not be completed until he is fully satisfied the placements are perfect in the competitors' eyeline.
Any negligence or carelessness in the placement of warning flags could be disastrous or even lethal to drivers whose ultimate trust has to be placed in the hands of the flag marshals as they speed flat-out towards the crest of a rise or into a blind bend. They have to be confident there are no obstructions ahead, no debris or treacherous slicks of oil to catch them out.
The marshals, upwards of 180 of them per race and all highly trained, are located at strategic points around the circuit and their duties are to ensure the safe and smooth running of the race, keeping the track clear, giving advance warnings of potential dangers and attending and supervising at any accident.
Of course, there is a pits-to-car radio link and drivers can be warned of hazards by their teams, but it is the responsibility of the race direction to maintain the strictest level of information and help and flags are the only means of doing it until, or when, an electronic trackside system is set up.
Each marshal's post around the track is equipped with a full set of flags – and each colour has its own specific and unambiguous meaning. Getting to know them will enhance your understanding of a race in progress.
Penalties for infringing the warning flags, or for speeding in and out of pit lane, can be costly both in championship points, positions in the race and in cash fines. According to the seriousness of the offence, suspensions and forfeiture of race positions may be imposed. These may take the form of a $5,000 fine with a 10 seconds stop-go penalty as the punishment for pit-lane speeding during a race. (This means the driver must come to pit lane and stop for this period of time, before resuming the race).
|Atlas F1||© 1999 Atlas Formula One Journal.|
|Send comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org||Terms & Conditions|