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When and Why were blue flags introduced?


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#1 SilverS2000

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 16:36

When and Why were blue flags introduced? Just wondering why working your way through the backmarkers doesn't exist any longer.

Mark

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#2 WDH74

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 18:15

I'm just guessing, but I would imagine that part of the reason the blue flag was introduced was the rather more "open" entrance regulations in Grand Prix and sports car racing way back when. After all, outdated GP cars frequently made up the numbers in the sixties, when local heroes would enter their home GP (such as John Love's near win of the '67 South African GP in an aged Cooper). Some of these cars were definitely last year's fashion, and were considerably slower than the newest vehicles.
Just a thought-I've not got any books handy and didn't turn up anything in Google.

-William

#3 conjohn

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 20:06

My earliest FIA Yellow Book (1969) has the blue flag amongst the flag signals: "Another competitor is following you very closely and may or is about to overtake you." So the introduction must be before on in 1969....

...and just reading the wording, I see the interesting fact that it doesn't say anything about 'lapping', so according to this even the leader could be waved at by the marshalls....

...and to forestall you who, rightly, consider the French text to be the official one - "Un concurrent vous suit de près et peut ou va vous dépasser"...

#4 Vitesse2

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 21:52

Felix Muelas mentioned the existence (but not the actual meaning) of the blue flag in the 1925 AIACR regulations in this thread on the chequered flag:

http://forums.atlasf...s=&postid=96703

In the same thread, Leif Snellman gives a Finnish interpretation from the 1950s. So it goes back well before 1969 ....

#5 SilverS2000

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 22:23

Thanks for the info and the link (Obviously you are better with search feature than I am). I remember at one point a blue flag was just to warn you that a faster car was approaching so you could be courteous and either move or at least check your mirrors. I phrased the question in my original post incorrectly. I should have asked the second part as when did it become mandatory for the slower vehicle to get out of the way and what made them bring on that change?

Thanks,
Mark

#6 David McKinney

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 22:29

When I first learned about such things - late 1950s - a stationary blue flag meant someone was following you and a waved blue flag meant someone was trying to pass.
In those days it was mandatory to make room only insofar as motor-racing was a sport back then, and failing to move over for a faster car went against all principles of sportsmanship

#7 Don Capps

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Posted 24 March 2004 - 00:23

The earliest flag rules I can put my hands on is from the 1922 Contest Rules issued by the AAA Contest Board from the section on road courses:

Red -- course is clear

Yellow -- blocked course; stop

Green -- you are entering your last lap

White -- stop at pit on next lap for consultation

Black & white checkered -- you are finished

Black with white center -- a competitor is trying to overtake you

#8 Mihai

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 10:47

Remember two years ago when Pele forgot to wave the chequered flag before the winner of the Brazilian GP? The first driver to see the chequered flag was Takuma Sato, who finished a lowly 9th.

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#9 anjakub

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 17:40

Polish racing regulations from 1929 (probably on base of the AIACR rules) .

Flags:
White – starts race
Yellow – all cars must stop immediately
Blue (horizontal) – keep to the right side
Blue (waving) – attention, slow down
Chequered (white-black pattern) – with start number – stop your car

Flags dimension: length 70 cm, height 40 cm.

#10 panzani

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 17:49

Originally posted by Don Capps
...
Red -- course is clear
...

Pretty interesting, it had the very opposite meaning at all!

#11 Rob29

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Posted 26 March 2004 - 08:32

Originally posted by anjakub
Polish racing regulations from 1929 (probably on base of the AIACR rules) .

Flags:

Chequered (white-black pattern) – with start number – stop your car

This would seem to confirm report of Polish racing in 60s which said RED & white chequered flag was used for the finnish. Which of course is also the insignia of the Polish Air Force.

#12 Manfred Cubenoggin

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Posted 26 March 2004 - 11:12

In going to races at Mosport in the early 1960's, I was always confused by the flags displayed by the course car with Chief Steward aboard touring the track after each race and again, just prior to the next race on a day's card. At the conclusion of a race, the course car displayed a green flag. This presumably opened the track for service vehicles and the like. When the next race was on the mock grid and ready to go, the course car would again tour the track with a red flag displayed. Apparently, this closed the track in preparation for racing. I always though that the flag procedure should have been reversed. The procedure undoubtedly has roots from UK racing. The course car procedure has long since been abandoned at Mosport. In fact, in club racing witnessed there in 2003, wreckers took to the track immediately following the last car taking the checker while competitors were still on their cool-down lap. Let's hope that nobody misses the checker!

#13 anjakub

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Posted 26 March 2004 - 17:40

Originally posted by Rob29
This would seem to confirm report of Polish racing in 60s which said RED & white chequered flag was used for the finnish.


Robert, it is not true.
Red & white chequered flag was used for the start. Black & white was (till now) the finish.

#14 GIGLEUX

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Posted 27 March 2004 - 00:21

PARIS-MADRID 1903:

-yellow flag: for immediate stop. Placed where the drivers had to stop.
-blue flag: for slowing because of a dangerous place or entering a village. Blue flags were located 250 m before the dangerous place.
-flag with yellow and blue stripes: indicated succesive dangers.

All these flags were placed twice: one on a tree, a wall or a pole, the second being presented by a man, just under the first one.

#15 Don Capps

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Posted 27 March 2004 - 14:03

In early 1929 (Official Bulletin dated 7 March), the AAA Contest Board made the following recommendations for the Flag Code. One reason was that the near "universal use of green as a 'Go' and 'clear' signal, and the fact that red is equally used as a 'Stop' or 'Danger' signal, has made our flag code incongrous."

Current
Red Flag -- Course is clear
Yellow Flag -- Blocked course; slow
Green Flag -- You are entering your last lap
White Flag -- Stop at pit on the next lap for consultation
Black and Whte Checkered Flag -- You are finished
Black Flaf with White center -- A competitor is trying to overtake you

Proposed
Green Flag -- Start or Go
Blue Flag -- Pull over, competitor is trying to pass you
Reg Flag (stationary) -- Caution - watch out for conditions ahead; get your car under control - bad conditions ahead
Red Flag (waved) -- Slow down still further
Black Flag -- Stop next lap for consultation
White Flag -- you are entering your last lap
Checkered Flag -- You are finihsed

In the final version, the red flags in the proposal were replaced by yellow flags and red was changed to Stop immediately, track blocked raced halted

#16 panzani

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Posted 27 March 2004 - 15:16

Could these changes be related to the traffic lights which were arising on the big cities for traffic control at that time?
I mean, the red, yellow and green lights for stop, take care and go, as well as the red and green for pedestrians meaning walk and don't walk, now of universal use.

#17 Jesper O. Hansen

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Posted 27 March 2004 - 16:45

All this talk of flag colours made me think if racing drivers can be colour blind!

Jesper

#18 David McKinney

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Posted 27 March 2004 - 17:02

One of the tests you have to pass before you can race is a check for colour blindness. Fail the test and you don't race

#19 Jesper O. Hansen

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Posted 28 March 2004 - 11:27

Thanks for clearifying that item! Just one of those thoughts.

Jesper

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#20 Frank S

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 02:51

In a synopsis of FIA supplementary regulations for the USGP 1960 as provided to flagmen and turn Marshals:

ARTICLE 25 OVERTAKING
During the race, a car may use any portion of the Circuit.
However, when it is overtaken along a straight line by a car temporarily or consistently faster, it shall give right of way by keeping to the right of the Circuit to allow passing on the left, which is normally the only authorized way of passing on the straight.
If a driver does not appear to allow a faster following car to pass, officials will wave the BLUE FLAG as a warning that a car is overtaking him.
Passing on curves may take place on either the right or the left . . .
The Blue Flag will also be given to drivers who obstruct the left hand side of the Circuit, and to drivers who discourage attempts at passing . . .

ARTICLE 30 SIGNALS
GREEN FLAG Start
RED Complete and immediate stop
YELLOW (waved) Great danger, be prepared to stop
YELLOW (motionless) Take care, danger
BLUE (waved) Another competitor is trying to overtake you
BLUE (motionless) Another competitor is following you very closely
WHITE An ambulance or service vehicle is on the course.

. . .

ARTICLE 36 ROOM RESERVATIONS
Room reservations shall be the responsibility of the individual.


--
Frank S