Racing flags are probably one of the most important objects that racers turn to during the competition because these bring messages that are deemed useful on the next strategy to be made. However to average spectators, the presence of these flags seem useless because of one’s belief that racers focus only on their wheels and the track and the only time they lay eyes on these flags is at the beginning of the race and the conclusion of it. But contrary to this belief, racing flags convey several messages that only racers and enthusiasts can understand.
There are two types of racing flags, the status flag that dictates the general status of the race and the instruction flags that communicates to one driver at a time. Here are some of the most common status flags in a racing game. Green flags represent the beginning or the restart of the race; yellow flags convey that a hazardous track is up ahead and racers must slow down; red flags warn racers that it is unsafe to continue the game or practice thus any activity should be stopped; and the white flags entail progress of the final lap or that an official car is on the track.
On the other hand, instruction flags include, the black flag that tells the racer to proceed to the pit area because of some rule violations or car defects have been detected; light blue flag with a diagonal orange stripe that warns of an approaching fast car; and the checkered black and white flag that signifies the end of the race.
Racing Flags on Track
Traditionally, flags are used in auto racing since this is the most convenient way of communicating important messages during an exhilarating game. A primary flagman, or even sometimes a grand marshal, simply positions atop a flag stand nearby the start or finish line and waves a particular flag. There are also a number of officials stationed on a strategic spot in the course to allow race drivers to clearly see the message being communicated. This is normally seen on road courses that feature several relatively steep hills and sharp turns. In other road courses, flashing lights are used as an alternative to supplement the primary flag at the beginning or end of the line.
There is no universal system of racing flags across all the motor sports, yet there are particular flags that have been standardized such as the checkered flag which signifies the end of the race and status flags that informs the drivers of the overall status of the race. Some of these status flags include the yellow flag which implies to take caution due to hazard on track; yellow and red striped flag which warns racers on the presence of debris, oil and other materials on track that could reduce the grip or may cause the car to careen and lose control; and red flag which means stop because of an unsafe condition during a race or practice session. Although the aforementioned racing flags have been standardized, the procedures of displaying these flags may vary from one race to another, for differing racing styles and sanctioning bodies.