F1 to axe chequered flag to signal end of races in favour of lights after model Winnie Harlow’s bungled by waving too early

FORMULA ONE has changed a long-standing rule regarding the iconic chequered flag.

At a meeting of the World Motorsport Council in Paris, it was decided that from next year the official end-of-race symbol will change to a light signal.

 The chequered flag has been a long standing tradition to end Formula One races

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The chequered flag has been a long standing tradition to end Formula One races
 Model Winnie Harlow was tasked with waving it in Montreal earlier this year, but did so too early

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Model Winnie Harlow was tasked with waving it in Montreal earlier this year, but did so too early

While the flag will still be waved – it will only be for symbolic reasons.

A short statement by the Fia confirmed the news reading: "The official end-of-race symbol will now be a chequered light signal, though the chequered flag will still be on display."

As the rules stand, whenever the physical chequered flag is waved the race is over – whether the official number of laps have been completed or not.

Earlier this year the end of the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal was thrown into meltdown after model Winnie Harlow accidentally waved the flag too early after a communication breakdown.

 Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar waved the chequered flag at the end of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in 2011

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Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar waved the chequered flag at the end of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in 2011
 Brazil football icon Pele was left red faced after his flag mishap during the 2002 Grand Prix held in his homeland

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Brazil football icon Pele was left red faced after his flag mishap during the 2002 Grand Prix held in his homeland

And that appears to have been the final nail in the coffin of the long-standing tradition – which has seen celebrities wave the chequered flag on multiple occasions.

Back in 2011 Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, a self-confessed F1 fan, waved the chequered flag at the end of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix.

Football icon Pele was also tasked with waving the chequered flag at the climax of the 2002 Brazilian Grand Prix – but was left red faced after forgetting to do so at the right time because he was too busy chatting with officials.

 The Fia confirmed in a short statement that the official end-of-race symbol will now be a chequered light signal

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The Fia confirmed in a short statement that the official end-of-race symbol will now be a chequered light signal

However, FIA Formula 1 race director, Charlie Whiting, has played down the latest development.

He said: "The black and white chequered light signal has been around for three years, and the flag will still be there.

"But now the light will mark the official end of the race. It's partly a reaction to the incident in Montreal."

FORMULA ONE has changed a long-standing rule regarding the iconic chequered flag.