We have a few machines with console redirection in the bios. We access these with minicom. To enter the bios, we've found that the VT100 escape sequences work. To send F1, enter ESC O P, the capitalization on the O and P are essential. Other codes that are known to work:
F1^[OP
F2^[OQ
F3^[OR
F4^[OS
F12 comes through unharmed, so to get the boot menu on most machines, we just type F12 directly.

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