Flag Marshal

Motorsport Flags

“FIA” Rules

Below is a selection of extracts from Appendix H of the FIA sporting regulations covering flags and the safety car. I have included them in their exact form with no comment purely as a point of reference for those of you who are going to flag at an international event. There may be some benefit in printing them off if you are not certain that you will receive a full briefing on FIA rules at the beginning of the day. Please be aware that these rules seem to be subjected to changes via the supplementary regulations for the event, if in doubt ASK! Good Luck!


Each post should be provided with :

a) a telephone set (of the field type if it has to be used in the open) with a constant loop connection to race control. A radio transceiver can be used, or added for emergencies, but should not be used as the sole means of communication.

b) a set of signalling flags comprising:

2 yellow ; 1 yellow and red striped ; 1 blue ; 1 white ; 1 green ; 1 red.

Any supplementary or relay posts must also be equipped with a similar set of flags. Certain posts may, at the request of the Clerk of the Course, also be equipped with a black flag and a black/orange flag. Additionally, each post should be equipped with a board with the letters ‘SC’ written on it in black, 40cm high on a white background measuring at least 60 cm x 80 cm, for use when a Safety Car is deployed.

c) a 15-litre container and two 4-litre containers filled with calcium carbonate, or other oil absorbing matter having a similar weight.

d) two stiff brooms and spades.

e) 3 portable fire extinguishers, each having an extinguishing capability at least equivalent to a portable (10 kg) BCF extinguisher plus complementary equipment as specified in 8.3.

Flag regulations

4.1.2 Flag signals to be used at observation posts:

a) Red flag: This should be shown waved only on instruction from the Clerk of the Course when it becomes necessary to stop a practice session or the race. All drivers are required to slow down immediately and proceed to the pit lane (or the place foreseen by the regulations of the Event), and must be prepared to stop if necessary. Overtaking is not permitted.

b) Yellow flag: This is a signal of danger and should be shown to drivers in two ways with the following meanings: – Single waved: Reduce your speed, do not overtake and be prepared to change direction. There is a hazard beside or partly on the track. – Double waved: Reduce your speed, do not overtake and be prepared to change direction or stop. There is a hazard wholly or partly blocking the track. Yellow flags should normally be shown only at the marshals’ post immediately preceding the hazard. In some cases however the Clerk of the Course may order them to be shown at more than one marshals’ post preceding an incident. Overtaking is not permitted between the first yellow flag and the green flag displayed after the incident. Yellow flags should not be shown in the pit lane unless there is an incident of which the driver should be made aware.

c) Yellow flag with red stripes: This should be shown motionless to inform drivers that there is a deterioration of adhesion due to oil or water on the track in the area beyond the flag. This flag should be displayed, for at least (depending on the circumstances) 4 laps unless the surface returns to normal beforehand. It is not however necessary for the sector beyond where this flag is being shown to show a green flag.

d) Light Blue flag: This should normally be waved, as an indication to a driver that he is about to be overtaken. It has different meanings during practice and the race. At all times : – A stationary flag should be displayed to a driver leaving the pits if traffic is approaching on the track. During practice : – Give way to a faster car which is about to overtake you. During the race : – The flag should normally be shown to a car about to be lapped and, when shown, the driver concerned must allow the following car to pass at the earliest opportunity.

e) White flag: This flag should be waved and is used to indicate to the driver that there is a much slower vehicle on the sector of track controlled by that flag point.

f) Green flag: This should be used to indicate that the track is clear and should be waved at the observation post immediately after the incident that necessitated the use of one or more yellow flags. – It may also be used, if deemed necessary by the Clerk of the Course, to signal the start of a warm-up lap or the start of a practice session.

4.2 Light signals Lights may be used to supplement or replace waved red, yellow, green, blue and white flags. When lights are to be used at an event they should be described in the Supplementary Regulations and the following requirements should be respected. matt black background; – lights should be fitted with a repeater which will inform the following marshals post of their activation.

Safety Car Regulations

5 . Safety car

a) The safety car must be marked “SAFETY CAR” in letters of similar dimensions to those of the race numbers, on the rear

and sides. It must have three revolving orange lights on the roof each powered by a different electrical circuit. It will be driven by an experienced circuit driver. It will carry an observer capable of recognizing all the competing cars, who is in permanent radio contact with race control.

b) No more than 30 minutes before the race start time the safety car will take up position at the front of the grid and remain there until the five minute signal is given. At this point (except under m) below) it will cover a whole lap of the circuit and enter the pit lane. If the appropriate Championship or event regulations are applied to authorise a free practice session of 15 minutes, the safety car will take up its position at the front of the grid as soon as the 15 minute practice session has finished.

c) The safety car may be brought into operation to neutralise a race upon the decision of the clerk of the course. It will be used only if competitors or officials are in immediate physical danger but the circumstances are not such as to necessitate stopping the race.

d) When the order is given to deploy the safety car, all observers’ posts will display waved yellow flags and a board «SC» which shall be maintained until the intervention is over.

e) The safety car will start from the pit lane with its orange lights illuminated and will join the track regardless of where the race leader is.

f) All the competing cars must then form up in line behind the safety car no more than fi ve car lengths apart and overtaking, with the following exceptions, is forbidden until the cars reach the Line (or the next safety car starting point) after the safety car has returned to the pits. Overtaking will be permitted under the following circumstances:

– if a car is signalled to do so from the safety car; – under m) below;

– any car entering the pits may pass another car or the safety car after it has crossed the first safety car line, as defined under o) below;

– any car leaving the pits may be overtaken by another car on the track before it crosses the second safety car line, as

defined under o) below;

– when the safety car is returning to the pits it may be overtaken by cars on the track once it has crossed the first safety car line;

– if any car slows with an obvious problem.

g) When ordered to do so by the clerk of the course the observer in the safety car will use a green light to signal to any cars between it and the race leader that they should pass. These cars will continue at reduced speed and without overtaking until they reach the line of cars behind the safety car.

h) The safety car shall be used at least until the leader is behind it and all remaining cars are lined up behind him (or, when there is more than one safety car, all the cars in that safety car’s sector).

Once behind the safety car, the race leader (or leader of that sector) must keep within 5 car lengths of it (except as under j) below) and all remaining cars must keep the formation as tight as possible.

i) While the safety car is in operation, competing cars enter the pit lane, but may only rejoin the track when the green light at the end of the pit lane is on. It will be on at all times except when the safety car and the line of cars following it are about to pass or Under certain circumstances the clerk of the course may ask the safety car to use the pit lane. In these cases, and provided its orange lights remain illuminated, all cars must follow it into the pit lane without overtaking. Any car entering the pit lane under these circumstances may stop at its designated garage area.

j) When the clerk of the course calls in the safety car, it must extinguish its orange lights; this will be the signal to the drivers

that it will be entering the pit lane at the end of that lap. At this point the first car in line behind the safety car may dictate the

pace and, if necessary, fall more than five car lengths behind it. As the safety car is approaching the pit entry the yellow flags and SC boards at the observer’s posts will be withdrawn and replaced by waved green flags with green lights at the Line. These will be displayed for no more than one lap.

k) Each lap completed while the safety car is deployed will be counted as a race lap.

l) If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.

m) In exceptional circumstances the race may be started behind the safety car. In this case, at any time before the one minute signal its orange lights will be turned on. This is the signal to the drivers that the race will be started behind the safety car. When the green lights are illuminated, the safety car will leave the grid with all cars following in grid order no more than 5 car lengths apart. There will be no formation lap and the race will start when the green lights are illuminated.

Overtaking, during the first lap only, is permitted if a car is delayed when leaving its grid position and cars behind cannot avoid passing it without unduly delaying the remainder of the field. In this case, drivers may only overtake to re-establish the original starting order. Any driver who is delayed leaving the grid may not overtake another moving car if he was stationary after the remainder of the cars had crossed the Line, and must form up at the back of the line of cars behind the safety car. If more than one driver is affected, they must form up at the back of the field in the order they left the grid.

A penalty will be imposed on any driver who, in the opinion of the Stewards, unnecessarily overtook another car during the first lap.

n) There will be one safety car in operation at a time, except for circuits of over 7 km in length, where other safety cars, positioned at equi-distant points around the circuit, may be authorised by the FIA. If more than one safety car is authorised, the following requirements will apply :

– The starting point of each safety car must be announced to all the drivers.

– When the safety cars pull off the circuit, green lights will be shown at the Line and their respective starting points. All observers’ posts will then show a green flag. The green flags will be withdrawn after one lap.

o) At circuits where safety car procedures are to be used, two continuous, 20cm wide «Safety Car Lines» should be marked with non-skid paint, crossing the track and the pit entry and exit roads from side to side, normal to the track centreline, at the following places :

– Safety Car Line 1: at the point at which it is deemed reasonable to allow a car entering the pits to overtake the safety car or another competing car remaining on the track. It is also the point at which competing cars can pass the safety car as it enters the pits at the end of the intervention.

– Safety Car Line 2: at the point at which cars leaving the pits are likely to be travelling at a similar speed to competing cars on the track. A car on the track may therefore overtake another leaving the pits before reaching this line but no overtaking may take place after it.