After years of waiting, the much-asked-for red flags are finally returning in F1 23. Not seen since the Xbox 360 days, red flags are thrown when the track is too clogged with debris or water to be safe for cars to pass even under the safety car.
They've become far more prevalent in Formula 1 in recent years. Increased concerns for the safety of marshals along with more cramped street circuits have made it hard to clear crashes and carbon fibre while cars are still circulating.
And so they have returned to the F1 series in F1 23, but how will red flags work? Let's go through what we know so far about the new feature!
Red flags in F1
The most recent deep dive video showed off red flags, a feature we haven't seen since the Xbox 360 days of F1 2014. Their return finally puts an end to the countless Reddit wishlist posts, but how will they work in the game? Are they going to be hard to trigger, requiring a full track blockage to come out? Or are they going to be thrown for incidents that would normally be a safety car?
Well, we pretty much know now, so let's go through it.
F1 23 will constantly monitor track conditions to determine if a VSC, safety car, or red flag is required. Red flags can be triggered by cars forced to the side of the road through mechanical failure, or by crashes that severely limit the ability of cars to pass.
Those blockages at the Monaco hairpin that see half the grid disqualified? They should be a thing of the past thanks to red flags. Red flags can also be triggered when there is too much rain and the track is too wet, just like in real life.
So far we have only seen examples of red flags happening in races but theoretically, there should be nothing stopping them from happening in practice and qualifying sessions, just like we see in the real sport.
Players will not be able to drive their cars back to the pits when a red flag occurs. Instead they will get a flag notification at the top of the screen and a short timer before being warped back to the pit lane.
There players will be able to make limited repairs, change tyres, and reset race strategies, again just like the real sport. However there will be no 45-minute waits for the rain to clear, you'll be able to then exit when you are all set and restart the race!
One thing that Codemasters wasn't clear on is how races will restart. In F1 we see a mix of grid starts and safety car restarts after red flags, but we expect Codemasters will have one or the other set as the way races get back underway.
How to control red flags
Just like safety cars, you can control the frequency of red flags in F1 23.
In the Rules & Flags section of the settings a new option has been added that dictates the sensitivity of red flags. You can turn them off entirely if you wish, or increase the sensitivity for specific races like Baku and Monaco for a true-to-life feel.
Red flags will also be an option in multiplayer races, but given the added chaos of a grid full of actual racers it is probably best to switch them off in multiplayer lobbies.
For more articles like this, take a look at our F1 page.