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This is all you need to know about F1 message boards

Message boards have been used for a long time in Formula One to inform drivers on track with important information. Additionally, stewards can use message boards to inform drivers about situations on track. In this article, we'll explain all you need to know about this old-school form of communication.

F1 message board © XPBimages

The importance of F1 message boards

F1 message boards play a crucial role in conveying vital information to drivers during races. They serve as a means for stewards to communicate track conditions, safety car deployments, and other essential updates to drivers in real time. These boards contribute significantly to race safety and strategy, ensuring that drivers are well-informed and able to respond effectively to changing circumstances on the track.

Why message boards are used less then before

Back in the day, teams didn't have the luxury of digital communication via onboard radios. Consequently, teams and stewards had to relay information to drivers using message boards. This included key updates such as:

  • Pit stop notifications
  • Gap information between cars
  • Current race position
  • Safety signals from stewards

However, in 2004, team radios were introduced during the Chinese Grand Prix. By 2006, they became a consistent feature, making on-track communication much simpler. This marked the beginning of a shift away from reliance on message boards towards more widespread use of team radio broadcasts and LED display boards by stewards.

F1 message board © XPBimages

The usage of F1 message boards by the stewards

As discussed earlier, stewards primarily use flags to convey important information to drivers on the track. Flags or symbols can also be displayed on LED displays positioned throughout the circuit. However, stewards occasionally still use message boards to inform drivers about situations such as the deployment of a safety car. However, in most situations, LED displays are preferred as they are more noticeable.

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