What does each flag and caution mean in Formula E?

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What does each flag and caution mean in Formula E?

Need a refresher or a first-time Formula E viewer? Let us remind you what all those motorsport flags mean.


When watching a motorsport race, you’ll often see flags being waved to drivers on the side of the circuit. Red, yellow, blue, green or white, there are plenty of options - but what do they all mean? Here’s a handy guide to help you when watching the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. 

Yellow Flag

This can have two meanings, but essentially there’s a hazard that is soon approaching. This could be that someone has stopped their race car, there’s debris on the circuit or that there’s been an incident. Obviously, this makes for unsafe track conditions, so drivers are expected to reduce their speed significantly and be prepared to change their position to avoid the risk or be ready to come to a complete stop. 

Single waved yellow flag – a driver must be prepared to change direction, slow down and prove that they’ve reduced their speeds during the relevant sectors. Normally this means an incident has occurred off or partly on the circuit.

Double waved yellow flag – a driver must be ready to change direction or come to a stop as there is a hazard partially or completely blocking the track. This could also be used if there are marshals or emergency workers on the track. If this is shown in any free practice sessions or qualifying, drivers should abandon their lap time. 


Red Flag

If this is shown, it means the session is suspended and comes to a temporary stop. Drivers must immediately reduce their speed to 50 km/h and proceed slowly back to the pit lane and into their garage, and all cars abandoned on the track will be removed to a safe place. There are other reasons for a red flag too, such as heavy weather or damage to a barrier that requires time and access to fix. 

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Green Flag

This is what drivers want to see. This means we can go racing, with no hazards on or around the circuit. Just straight up racing at full speed – what they do best! This can also be shown after drivers have passed a yellow flag, to let them know the risk is behind them. 

Blue Flag

Being shown a blue flag is probably the last thing you want to see, as you’re being told that there’s a faster car coming up behind and you need to get out of the way. Normally this is used when you’re being lapped, shown at the pit exit to warn those leaving the pit lane that other cars are approaching on track or during practice and qualifying to say there’s a quicker car closing in. 

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Black and White Chequered Flag

If this is waved, it signals the end of the session. Whether that's free practice, qualifying or the race itself. It’s become such an iconic symbol of motorsport. 


White Flag 

These are displayed when there’s a slow moving car approaching. This could be that a driver is moving out of the way during qualifying because they’re not on a fast lap, or if someone’s car is having problems and can’t reach normal speeds - through damage or a mechanical failure.

Black Flag 

This is a very rare flag, not only in Formula E but motorsport in general. If a driver or team is shown a black flag, they have been disqualified. This is shown alongside the driver’s number, who must return to the pit lane immediately and retire from the E-Prix. It’s only been shown once in Formula E’s 10 year history, and that was to Lucas di Grassi during the 2021 London E-Prix for a Safety Car procedure infringement. Normally this will be shown if a driver has been driving too dangerously or is in breach of the regulations. 

Red and Yellow Striped Flag

Shown to drivers when the track surface is different to normal. The red and yellow striped flag is often shown if there are fluids on the track, or could be dirt, dust or gravel kicked up from a run-off area. It might also be shown for pieces of debris, such as a piece of front wing in the middle of the circuit. Due to the seating position of the Formula E cars being so low to the ground, sometimes these hazards can be hard to spot so these flags help make things easier. 

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Black and Orange Circle Flag 

Often referred to as a ‘meatball flag’ for its unusual appearance, this flag has a black base and a centered orange circle. If a driver is shown this, that means they need to return to the pit lane and change a part of their car as it is deemed too dangerous to be on the track. A driver might have sustained damage during a battle, and a front wing endplate is hanging off – the FIA would step in and show this flag to tell them to change the front wing as a safety measure for themselves and the other competitors. 

Black and White Flag 

You’ve been naughty if you’re shown this flag. The diagonal pattern, with one side black and the other white, is given to drivers who have been part of unsportsmanlike behavior that has been noted by Race Control. Track limits are a good example of this, and if a driver violates them more than three times over a race distance, they’re shown a black and white flag. However, if they go over the track limits again, they’re given a penalty for not taking it seriously. 

Safety Cars and Full Course Yellow

If the pack needs to be closed up or slowed down, to perhaps recover a car from the side of the circuit, Race Control might deploy a Safety Car. The Safety Car should be used at least until the leader is behind it and all remaining cars are lined up behind him. Once behind the Safety Car, all cars must keep within 10 car lengths of each other and the Race leader must keep within 10 car lengths of the Safety Car. 

The current SC is a Porsche Taycan Turbo S, which not only looks incredible but also serves a vital purpose. Being ahead of all the grid, the Safety Car needs to be quick, visible and follow a high safety standard to ensure it’s able to guide the pack correctly. Each lap completed while the Safety Car is deployed will be counted as a race lap. 


In some instances, the physical Safety Car does not need to be deployed and instant teams and drivers are shown a Full Course Yellow often abbreviated to a FCY. When the FCY boards and flags are shown on the track, all cars must immediately slow down. The maximum time to reduce speed to 50 km/h is five seconds. Once under FCY, cars will slow down to 50 km/h, in single file, and maintain their distance to the car in front and the car behind. The speed will be policed by Race Control and there will be a five second countdown from FCY back to the Green Flag.

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Once the message is displayed, all cars must immediately slow down. All marshal posts will display a waved yellow flag and a board with the indication FCY. Any car being driven unnecessarily slowly or dangerously during this time will be reported to the stewards. 

SCHEDULE: Where, when and how to watch or stream the 2024 Misano E-Prix Rounds 6 & 7

The Misano E-Prix Round 6 gets underway on Friday 12 April with Free Practice 1 at 17:00 local time.

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Then it's on to race day on Saturday 13 April as Free Practice 2 kicks off the day at 08:00 local, qualifying follows at 10:20 local with lights out on Round 6 at 15:00 local.

Round 7 gets underway with FP3 on Sunday morning at 08:00 local, with qualifying next at 10:20 and Round 7 itself at 15:00.

View the full schedule in your time zone and check the broadcaster listings or tap the Ways to Watch button above to find out where to watch all the racing action where you live.