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The chequered flag (or checkered flag) is displayed at the start/finish line to indicate that the race is officially finished. At some circuits, the first flag point will display a repeat chequered flag (usually on the opposite side of the circuit). The flag is commonly associated with the winner of a race, as they are the first driver to "take" (in other words, drive past) the chequered flag.
Upon seeing the chequered flag and crossing the finish line, drivers are required to slow to a safe speed, and return to their garage, parc ferme, or the paddock, depending on the applicable regulations of the series.
In many short tracks, the flagman gives the chequered flag to the winner of the race, but a variety of other celebratory traditions, such as the burnout, the Polish victory lap and the victory lane or victory circle celebration, sometimes overshadow the chequered flag tradition.
The chequered flag has become so well recognized that it is often used to indicate the conclusion of many things unrelated to auto racing. For example, some software installation programs display a chequered flag to indicate that a computer program has been installed successfully.
Chequered flags were also posted at each corner of the end zones in the original Yankee Stadium when the facility was used by the New York Giants of the National Football League from 1956 through 1973.
The chequered flag is not only used for auto racing, but also for a representation of the automotive industry itself.
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