The F1 safety car is being driven by former racing car driver Bernd Maylander. We profile the German who has been in the role since the turn of the century.
The F1 safety car has been brought into the spotlight after torrential rainfall at the Red Bull Ring this weekend. The FP3 session had to be cancelled, and the qualifying was delayed.
If these weather conditions prevail tomorrow, then the safety car driver Bernd Maylander will have his hands full with the steering wheel of his Mercedes.
On a wet day, the job of a safety car largely is to figure out how slippery the surface is for an F1 car to race on. And if they should be brought onto the track.
The Safety Car is checking the track conditions 👀
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 11, 2020
What was Benrd Maylander doing before becoming a safety car driver?
Bernd Maylander started his career with karting during the late eighties. He has also tried his hands in Formula Ford, the Porsche Carrera Cup, and the German Touring Car Masters (DTM). Now 49, the German raced for Mercedes in DTM from 2001 to 2004, and won a race in 2001.
Maylander then made the switch to F1, driving the safety car in every Grand Prix race since 2000, barring 4 times. In the 2001 Canadian GP, when he was injured and had to be replaced by Swiss Marcel Fassler. He says even the medical car driver is equipped to driver the safety car in his absence. He has incredibly done over 700 laps in his F1 career, and counting.
Bernd still enjoys racing the safety car; F1 is part of his life
In an interview with Autosport, Bernd Maylander expressed his happiness over being in Formula 1. He spoke about how he has been doing the job for 20+ years and will love to do it for another 20 years or so too.
“Will I be doing this for another 21 years? I still enjoy it. I will await the changes in the future, what will happen. But I can say no, not 21 years, but for sure another few years, definitely, yeah. I have a lot of colleagues who are 60 and who are still bloody quick!” Maylander said.
He is happy to see how F1 has evolved over the years and loves travelling around the globe, being attached to the sport that he loves so dearly.
“For me, F1 the highest and best racing championship with the quickest car and the highest technology. And right now I’m really happy to see how Formula 1 has changed in the last couple of years.
“To be a part of Formula 1 is really nice and Formula 1 is part of my life. For a good part of the year we are travelling around the world together and somehow it’s a little bit of a family.” Maylander concluded.