Red flag is a term used in Formula 1 to refer to a signal indicating that the race has been stopped. The red flag is typically waved from the start/finish line and accompanied by flashing red lights around the circuit.
When a red flag is shown, all F1 drivers on the track must immediately stop racing and return to the pits. This is done to ensure the safety of all participants, as a red flag is usually shown when an accident or other incident occurs on the track that makes it unsafe to continue racing.
Once the race has been stopped due to a red flag, it is considered to be suspended until it can be safely restarted. Race officials will work to clear the track of any debris or obstructions, and may dispatch medical personnel to the scene if necessary.
When the race is ready to resume, a specific restart procedure must be followed. This may include a rolling start behind the safety car, a standing start, or a grid start depending on the circumstances.
In some cases, a red flag may not be necessary, but a Virtual Safety Car (VSC) period may be initiated instead. During a VSC period, drivers must reduce their speed and maintain a specific time delta behind the car in front of them. This allows race officials to clear an incident without interrupting the race.
The red flag is a critical safety measure used in Formula 1 to stop a race when it becomes unsafe to continue. All drivers must immediately stop racing and return to the pits when a red flag is shown, and the race is considered to be suspended until it can be safely restarted. The red flag is an important tool for ensuring the safety of all participants in the race.