Formula One (F1) drivers follow numerous rules while driving, which include keeping an eye out for flags (Blue Flag, Yellow Flag, and Red Flag among the most important) that serve as warnings or orders. There are several distinct messages relayed to drivers using these flags that get waved in between an F1 race.
Blue Flags are one of the most repeated flags during an F1 race and help send vital information to drivers. Each driver will have to be aware of these different situations and what they mean before they occur. This article will explain what one of those flags, the Blue Flag, waved during an F1 race means, and the information that gets passed to the drivers.
When is a Blue Flag shown and what does it mean?
The blue flag is shown in various forms, either as a single blue flag, two blue flags, or two vertical blue stripes. The use of a standard blue flag indicates that a driver is about to be lapped by another car and they must let that driver pass within one lap. This is called an important part of Formula 1 racing.
Each blue flag will be shown with a number and the driver who sees it must let the driver behind pass within one lap. If you see a blue flag, your car is lapping an opponent. The driver behind has the right-of-way and must allow you to unlap yourself from them. You can only unlap yourself if the blue flag is not displayed; otherwise, you must obey it until it is no longer displayed.
Various messages displayed/indicated by Blue Flags
Blue flags are not limited to the flags literally waved by stewards, as drivers can get notified by Blue screens around the sections that they are about to be overtaken by a leading car behind them. Drivers also get blue indicators in their cockpits, with flashing blue lights on their steering wheels.
As soon as a driver is within 3 seconds of a faster, leading car that’s about to lap a backtracker, the slower car will get notified. This will be just a warning for teams to let their drivers know they will soon need to make way for the faster car to pass them as soon as they’re within a gap of 1.2 seconds. At this point, the backmarker must make way for the faster car at the first available opportunity.
This might not always be possible, given the traffic and competition between backmarkers blocking the way for the faster cars most of the time.
Ignoring the Blue Flags can lead to a penalty
Drivers must let the faster cars pass them within three blue flags, to avoid a penalty. The faster the backmarkers let the drivers pass the faster, leading cars pass them, the better so they can then try to get unlapped once the blue flags are not waved any longer. This applies to both practice and qualifying as well, and this is shown when a car is being obstructed by a slower car which could lead to the faster cars losing valuable lap times.
The blue flag is one of the most important signals on F1. It means that you are about to be lapped by the leader or any other car, and so should be careful not to unlap yourself from them. The driver must allow passing within one lap of seeing the blue flag. There are quite a lot of other important flags as well, in F1, which indicate other situations. This article was a brief about F1’s Blue Flags rule.