What Is the Red Flashing Light at the Back of an F1 Car?

Published 12/22/2020, 11:33 PM EST
Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – November 15, 2020 Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in action during the race REUTERS/Kenan Asyali

Engineers design F1 cockpits with hi-tech concepts and incredible details. The features of the cars are for various requirements, and thus, F1 cockpits differ from regular cars, to a great extent. Though the mechanism for crafting the cockpit can still be kept on a single page, the goal of crafting the F1 chassis and hood are entirely different.


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Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. in action during the race REUTERS/Ozan Kose

Along with other features, there are lights attached at the rear end of the cars. The lights at the back of the car blink red for particular reasons.


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They are attached to the car at an angle and at a distance of 30 centimeters from the ground. The main motive of the lights is to abide by safety measures and avoid disastrous accidents in the circuit.

The functions of the rear light in F1 cockpit

There are three major reasons that require the red light to flash in the race.

When it rains amidst the race, further making the circuit slippery and wet, the rear light blinks in every cockpit. Moreover, every racer faces visibility difficulties, and the motor mechanism gets tested considerably.

Hence, when they can’t clearly see the cars ahead of them, the red rear light acts as a savior. The racers then keep the light on constantly, without blinking, for safety and precautionary reasons. Further, the management crew of the particular racing teams assists the racers over the radio. The racers abide by the instructions as given by their team management.

Subsequently, the F1 cockpits have additional lights attached in the rear wing too. They, too, help boost the visibility of the racers on the track.

Furthermore, the rear red lights have a warning function too.

In pleasant weather, when the red light flashes in any cockpit, it indicates that the car is moving at a relatively slower pace than usual. It is because of the harvesting of energy with ERS. When the cockpit brakes a little heavier and slows down flashing the red lights, the racer behind the cockpit takes the sign and moves past aside the one with blinking light.

The racers, usually after facing engine problems or certain cockpit issues, move to the side of the track or slow down in order to avoid car wrecks. When the following cockpits notice such a scene take place, they keep their distance and drive past the car.


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There are instances when the racers slowdown on the track without flashing the red light, which it can lead to various car wrecks. Further, the car goes through an FIA investigation. If found guilty of slowing down without reason, the driver faces a five-second penalty.

The final type of rear light flashes green. When the racers are new to the F1 racing grid, the green rear light flashes. It indicates that the racer owns no Certificate of Super License, issued by the FIA. Thus, the green light works its wonder by informing other racers about the rookie on the ground.

Crafted with innovative technologies, the F1 car rear lights can resist extremes of conditions. They are water-resistant and exceptionally strong, which prevents them from breaking easily.  The red rear lights of the F1 cockpits have successfully avoided numerous dreadful accidents.


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Thus, they are one of the most important features of the F1 cockpit.


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Debarati Saha

42 articles

Debarati Saha is an F1 and NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing English Honours from Calcutta University, she is an avid fan of Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher.