Barcelona (Spain) –Flags, like the checkered finish flag, have always served a critical part in any form of car racing, but drivers can sometimes miss those wavy pieces of fabric driving at 200+ MPH. In a bid to change the status quo between judges, race organization and the drivers themselves, FIA as the world’s automotive governing body recently tested digital flags on the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona.
Digital Flags are nothing else but panels consisted out of large set of LEDs that change color in accordance to a command given by Race Control. With strategically positioned panels across the race track, circuits would enable judges to have a better overview of the situation on the track instead of having to concentrate in showing the flag to racing drivers.
This system could be of great help in conditions of limited visibility, since screens are visible in any weather condition, from sun to torrential rain (we know at least several racetracks where weather conditions result in visibility less than 100 feet, such as Fuji Speedway in Japan, Sepang in Malaysia and others).
FIA is currently analyzing gathered data and feedback from Formula 1 teams, but if a call is made for implementation of this kind of signaling, you can expect that sooner or later, most of racetracks will switch to this kind of signalization. It would be quite interesting to hear explanations from drivers for not seeing this part.
Of course, it is hard to expect that old-school style sports such as NASCAR would accept this kind of signalization, but who knows. But FIA-sanctioned championships and sports that are being held in problematic weather conditions might be more than happy to accept this system.