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The following are the standard Motorsport meanings of the flags that are used at race meetings. At Barbagallo’s we have the use of a Light Panel that displays (by using a remote) the single yellow, double yellow, blue, green and red flashing lights. This light system is used for most race meetings here and the flags are only used in the event of any malfunction (with some exceptions). You should be aware that we still have to use certain flags from our points, namely the white flag and waved double yellows.
What the flags mean – the basics:
The flags are a vital way that marshals can communicate with competitors. Flags are used to warn drivers of various dangerous situations, changes in track conditions, overtaking or clearance to race. We have seven (7) flags in total with us at one time.
Flag marshals must be able to concentrate for long periods of time and be immune to distractions and, most importantly, work as part of a team. There is no room for error in a flag marshals judgement. The competitor will react to the signals given and an incorrect signal can cause major repercussions.
Flag marshaling points are strategically situated around the circuit. Barbagallo raceway in Wanneroo has 11 on the long circuit and 9 on the short circuit as well as a team member who is located in Race Control, where all flag points radio information to.
Each Marshal is responsible for areas either side of their track point, i.e. Flag Point 3 looks after the area from Flag Point 2 to Flag Point 4, (subject to what flag is being used).
Reasons for a flag being displayed include an incident on the circuit, (a spin, accident etc.) a deterioration of adhesion of the track, (oil, sand, excess water) slow moving or service vehicles on the circuit, competitors about to overtake/lap one another, or the circuit is clear and racing may resume.
Single Yellow Flag (waved): Danger, incident / accident / stopped vehicle ahead Proceed with caution. No overtaking allowed until the competitor passes the next flag point to display a waved green flag.
Double Yellow Flag (waved): Extreme Danger, incident / accident / stopped vehicle ahead ahead Proceed with caution. The next sector of the track is wholly or partially blocked no overtaking allowed until the competitor passes the next flag point to display a waved green flag.
Double waved yellow flags are also to be used when rescue crews, medical intervention or any other vehicle and/or personnel are attending to an incident within the controlling sector.
Green Flag (waved): All is clear. This flag is always waved at the flag point after the one that waved a yellow flag. It is displayed after an incident to indicate to the driver that the incident has passed and that they can resume racing or driving at increased speed either during a race, qualifying or practice. Once the yellow flag is withdrawn the green flag is withdrawn once the last car to see the yellow flag has past your point.
Blue Flag (waved): This is the hardest flag to use as it requires good judgement of vehicle speed and distance. It is waved at “selected” slower vehicles that are about to be overtaken, but the use varies from a Race as compared to Practice or Qualifying as follows:-
During a Race – A slower vehicle at or near the rear of the field is about to be lapped by other competitors while going through your sector.
During Practice and Qualifying – A slower vehicle is about to be overtaken by a faster moving vehicle that is clearly on a “quick lap”. This helps all competitors to maximise track position to record their fastest time. It may be that the slower vehicle is normally much quicker in a race situation, but they may be slower as they are on a warm up or cool down lap. The blue flag indicates to them to be aware and move out of the way so that all competitors are given a fair opportunity.
A stationary blue flag is also to be used at Pit Exit should a vehicle decide to re-enter the circuit, to warn the driver of oncoming traffic.
Red Flag (waved): The Race has been stopped. This flag is displayed when the race/practice/qualifying has been stopped, normally because of an incident that is considered too dangerous to continue. The only instruction to display this flag is given by the person in Race Control, who will very clearly say “Red Flag, Red Flag, Red Flag” over the radio system. Flag marshals are NOT allowed to use the red flag without this instruction. A yellow or double yellow flag is also waved at the point where the incident has taken place as a further indication to the competitors. The Red flags are only withdrawn on the advice of Race Control.
Deterioration Of Adhesion Flag
Deterioration of Adhesion Flag (stationery): Commonly known as the “Debris or Oil Flag” This flag is never waved! It is displayed when there is oil, sand, coolant or excess water, etc. on the track. If there is an incident and yellow flags are displayed, a change of surface flag can be displayed simultaneously. Once the track is considered clear the flag is withdrawn.
White Flag (waved): This indicates that a slow moving vehicle is on the track from your sector to the next point. It can be used for a competitor vehicle or a rescue vehicle. Once the vehicle has passed by your sector the flag is withdrawn.
Other Flags not used by Flag Marshals:
All of the following flags are used by the officials at the start / finish line.
Chequered Flag (waved): Indicates the end of the race/practice/qualifying session.
Black And White Diagonal Flag
Black And White Flag (stationery): Unsportsmanlike behaviour. This flag is displayed with the competitors vehicle number. This flag notifies the competitor that he/she is under observation for unsportsmanlike behaviour.
Black Flag (stationery): Competitor must enter Pits at end of lap. This flag is displayed with the competitors vehicle number. The competitor has been disqualified for a transgression of the rules or a stop / go or drive through penalty has been ordered.
Black With Orange Dot Flag
Black With Orange Dot Flag (stationery): Mechanical Defect. Also called the “Meatball Flag”, this flag is displayed with the competitors vehicle number to indicate that the vehicle has a mechanical defect and must call into the pits to rectify it.