For this season, the FIA changed the wording of F1’s regulations so a chequered light panel became the end-of-race signal.
The waving of a chequered flag signalled the end of motor races for decades but for 2019 Formula 1 altered the regulations such that the lighting panel counted as the official finish of the race.
In Japan a glitch in the system meant the chequered flag panel was shown to Valtteri Bottas as he concluded the penultimate lap, officially ending the race.
Sergio Perez’s late clash with Pierre Gasly thus technically did not happen. For 2020 there will, again, be both a physical and virtual chequered flag but the end of the race will be signalled by the real-life waving of the fabric.
The sport has seen several chequered flag mix-ups in the hands of celebrities. A miscommunication led to fashion model Winnie Harlow accidentally waving the flag early at last year’s Canadian Grand Prix, an error that led to the digital flag being given precedence.
In Brazil in 2006, soccer great Pele waved too late and missed home race winner Felipe Massa’s Ferrari as it crossed the line.
F1 2020 NEXT RACE
|Australia GP||15 March|
|02h00 - 03h30||Free practice 1|
|04h00 - 05h30||Free practice 2|
|04h00 - 05h00||Free practice 3|
F1 2020 WINTER TESTING