Welcome to the Victorian Flagmarshalling Team (VFT).
The VFT was formed in 1986 by a few officials who saw a need to provide a specialised team of flag marshals to work at racetracks in Victoria. Today the club boasts over 170 trained and licensed flag marshals, the team has earned and gained respect from motor sport promoters and other officiating clubs from around the world. Our members are often invited to officiate at Australia’s biggest motor race meetings including Mount Panorama, The Gold Coast, The Australian GP, Adelaide 500, we are also seen regularly at Winton, Sandown and Phillip Island flagging at club, professional, or historic race meetings.
The main role of flag marshals at a motor racing event is to provide information to the drivers of race vehicles about the condition of the racetrack and to pass commands to them from race control. This information includes, “danger ahead”, “oil spill” or “slippery surface”, “watch your mirrors, you are being passed”, and “your car has a problem, return to pit lane”, as well as many other items critical to driver safety and fair conduct of a race meeting.
Flags are still used to pass this information to drivers, despite them being rather old technology. They are a simple, reliable, and effective method of communicating to drivers rushing past at high speed. The flags by themselves of course, are not enough, a well-trained team of flag marshals with significant motor racing experience is required to manage the information flow to the competitors. You would be surprised how much information drivers can get just from how vigorously you wave your arms with a flag in your hand.
But is waving coloured bits of cloth all we do? No, far from it. Like most officials in motor racing, flaggies are trained to be multi-talented. You will see them track side, pushing stranded cars to safe positions, putting out fires in unfortunate race cars, talking on radios to race control, and sweeping the racetrack to make it safe.
Flaggies can expect to work long hours, work in the heat, the cold, the rain, and the wind, but the rewards are usually worth it. From a swarm of Formula Vee’s fighting for the lead, to the noise and grunt of the Marque Sports muscle cars, to that high pitched scream of the Formula Ones, the flaggies and other trackside officials are out there enjoying themselves, watching some excellent racing.
Next time you are a spectator at your favourite V8 Supercar meeting, or even a local car club meeting, take a look over the other side of the fence. Have a chat to the officials if you are close enough. Not only are they dedicated motor sport fans like you, but they have the best seat in the house, only metres from the action, and are often part of it.
Other highlights are our annual Xmas party held at various locations around Melbourne – an exceptional social event and the annual Chiefs BBQ as well as Team workshop tours, attend sponsor open days, motorsport Expos, trivia nights, club general meetings and BBQ’s, so if motorsport and motorsport memorabilia is your thing, then these events are not to be missed.
So, if you would like to be part of the action instead of just watching from afar, contact the VFT. We will welcome you as part of our friendly team, and have you out there flagging and enjoying your motor sport even more! After all, it is the second-best seat in the house!