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F1 flags explained: What different colours mean in Formula One 2023 season

While most casual Formula 1 fans are familiar with the sight of the checkered flag, there are a number of others used during races to convey different meanings.

Some of them have proven controversial over the years: in 2022, for example, Kevin Magnussen was unhappy at being shown the black and orange flag telling the Haas driver to pit because his car was unsafe.

Magnussen’s protests have reportedly led the FIA’s governing body to consider using the flag more sparingly in the 2023 season.

When exactly is this flag used and what do the others mean? We explain which colors drivers look out for.

MORE: 2023 F1 Season: Schedule, Drivers, Teams, DRS Rules, Sprints, Salaries & More

F1 Flags Explained: What Different Colors Mean

There are 10 main flags in F1, drivers can be penalized if they don’t heed the requirements of each when used.

Yellow flag

A single yellow flag means drivers should slow down, avoid overtaking and be ready to change direction because of a hazard on or near the track.

Two yellow flags are an order to reduce speed significantly, avoid overtaking and prepare to change direction or stop for a hazard blocking the track and marshals either on the surface or nearby.

red flag

A red flag means a session is suspended and drivers must slowly return to the pits and the session may resume with the cars in the order they stopped. This flag may be used because of a closed course or hazardous weather that could pose an imminent danger to competitors or spectators.

Green flag

The flag most drivers want to see: green represents (almost) start, signaling that a previous hazard has been resolved and normal racing conditions can resume.

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Blue flag

Drivers about to be lapped are shown this flag to tell them to let the car behind them pass. A stationary blue flag means another car is coming down the track when a driver exits the pit lane. Drivers can be penalized if they repeatedly ignore blue flags.

Yellow and red flag

This flag indicates a change in track surface, such as B. water or oil, which reduces the adhesion of the section. The yellow and red flag is also kept stationary.

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Black and white flag

Divided by a diagonal line between the two colors, this flag is stationary and contains the number of a driver who is being warned against unsportsmanlike conduct.

Black and orange flag

A black flag with an orange circle and the number of the driver it is aimed at is shown when a vehicle has a technical problem that is classified as dangerous and therefore needs to return to the pits as soon as possible.

Black flag

The flag contender least wants to see it: together with the number of his target, this means disqualification for the driver concerned. Such incidents are rare but quickly earn a place in the F1 Hall of Shame.

white flag

The white flag symbolizes that a slow-moving vehicle – for example a medical car – is driving ahead. It is also used to indicate that a practice session has ended.

checkered flag

The last flag most drivers see is the checkered flag, which ends a session without the climax of the lap they are on for the competitors. In a race, the first driver to cross the start/finish line when this flag is waved is the winner.

flag color Meaning
Yellow danger on the way
yellow and red track surface change
Green Normal conditions apply
Blue Driver must let cars pass
White Slow vehicle ahead
Red session suspended
Black driver disqualified
Black and orange The car must return to the pits
Black and white driver warned
checkered flag session complete
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F1 Ranking Explained: Points and Points System

Points are awarded to the top 10 finishers in a Grand Prix. The winner gets 25 points, second place gets 18 points and third place gets 15 points. Here’s the breakdown for each finishing place in the starting lineup.

position Scored
1 25
2 18
3 15
4 12
5 10
6 8th
7 6
8th 4
9 2
10 1
11-20 0

The driver with the fastest lap gets an additional point, but the driver must finish in the top 10 to earn that point.

Additional points are awarded for the sprint for the top eight riders, with the winner receiving eight points. P2 through P8 receive seven, six, five, four, three, two and one points respectively.

For 2022 a new scoring system has been introduced for races interrupted during the Grand Prix due to an incident, bad weather or a situation where a race cannot take place. This was in response to the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix where the race was abandoned after two laps due to torrential rain and half points were awarded.

  • No points will be awarded unless at least two laps have been completed in green flag conditions.
  • Points are awarded on a 6-4-3-2-1 basis to the top five completing less than 25 percent of the race.
  • Points are awarded on a 13-10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis to the top nine when completing between 25 percent and 50 percent of the race.
  • Points are awarded on a 19-14-12-9-8-6-5-3-2-1 basis to the top 10 when 50 to 75 percent of the race is completed.

At last year’s Japanese Grand Prix there was some confusion when drivers received full points despite completing less than 75 per cent of the race as the decision was made when the race ended in green flag conditions. To avoid confusion, this year all races under 75 percent completion will follow the sliding points system.

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The points are added up over the course of the season and are included in the drivers’ and constructors’ classifications. The driver and team with the most points at the end of the season are crowned champions.

F1 schedule in 2023

Formula 1 will compete on 23 different circuits in 20 countries in the 2023 season. Italy will host two Grands Prix and three will be held in the United States.

Like 2022, the 2023 campaign begins with the Bahrain Grand Prix at the Sakhir International Circuit. This race takes place on March 5th. As in the last two years, the season finale will be held on November 26 at the Yas Marina Circuit for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The three races in the USA will be held in Miami, Austin and Las Vegas.

Date Grand Prix country rail
5. March Bahrain Grand Prix Bahrain Sakhir International Circuit
19th March Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Saudi Arabia Jeddah Corniche Circuit
2nd of April Australian Grand Prix Australia Albert Park
April, 30th Azerbaijan Grand Prix Azerbaijan Baku city circuit
May 7th Miami Grand Prix USA Miami International Autodrome
May 21st Grand Prix of Emilia-Romagna Italy Imola circuit
28th of May Monaco Grand Prix Monaco Circuit de Monaco
June 4th Spanish Grand Prix Spain Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
18th of June Canadian Grand Prix Canada Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
2nd July Grand Prix of Austria Austria Red Bull ring
July 9th British Grand Prix Great Britain Silverstone racetrack
July 23 Hungarian Grand Prix Hungary Hungary
30th July Belgian Grand Prix Belgium Circuit de Spa Francorchamps
August 27th Dutch Grand Prix Netherlands Circuit Zandvoort
3 Sept Italian Grand Prix Italy Monza circuit
17 Sep Singapore Grand Prix Singapore Marina Bay Street Circuit
September 24th Japanese Grand Prix Japan Suzuka circuit
8 Oct Qatar Grand Prix Qatar Lusail International Circuit
22 Oct United States Grand Prix USA Tour of America
29 Oct Mexico City Grand Prix Mexico Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez
5 Nov Sao Paulo Grand Prix Brazil Interlagos circuit
Nov 18 Las Vegas Grand Prix USA Street course in Las Vegas
Nov 26 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix UAE Yas Marina Circuit

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