How does F1 determine sectors on the track and what do the colors mean?

What is a sector in F1? What is the term and how is it used in Grands Prix? How does a purple sector differ from a green or yellow one?

Timing is everything in Formula 1 and in motorsport.

In a sport where races can be decided by 0.001 seconds and three drivers sometimes set the exact same lap time for pole position (Jerez, 1997), knowing who set the fastest time is quite important.

The finish line is the obvious measuring point, but sectors are also used to help teams, drivers and timekeepers.

What are sectors in F1? And what do the different colors mean? How is purple different from green to yellow?

Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images

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What is a sector in F1?

Each F1 circuit is divided into three parts – these are called sectors.

They’re roughly the same length all the way around – with a white line on the track marking them.

The most important timing loops are placed on the track here – and are the ones you see on screen during practice or qualifying.

The team can use sectors to determine where their car is fast or slow.

For example at Silverstone – sector one is a high-speed corner, with slow corners and a heavy braking zone.

Photo by Silverstone Circuit via Getty Images

Sector two is all about engine power, running from Brooklands through Stowe and Maggots/Becketts, ending on the Hanger Straight.

Sector three is more power ahead of a heavy braking zone at Club.

What do the colors mean?

The three main sector colors used in F1 are purple, green and yellow.

They are used to determine a driver’s speed through a sector during each lap.

The colors of the F1 sector remain the same throughout the season.

A purple sector in F1 means the driver has just set the fastest time on that leg of the lap.

For example, if Lewis Hamilton sets a 20.941 mark in the first sector in qualifying and it turns purple, that means nobody went faster over the weekend.

Green sectors in F1 mean that a driver has set their personal best time in that particular sector.

If Hamilton goes 26.894 seconds in the second sector, it means he was the fastest he’s ever ridden on that part of the track – but someone else was faster.

A yellow sector is used to indicate that a rider has not set a personal best in a sector.

If Hamilton hits an 18.759 mark in the third sector and it turns yellow, that means he was faster himself at another point of the weekend.

Photo by Dan Istitene – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

In other news, what F1 race engineers are responsible for during the Grand Prix

https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2022/04/09/f1-sector-colours/ How does F1 determine sectors on the track and what do the colors mean?

Brian Ashcraft

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