Everything you need to know about the Mercedes and Aston Martin F1 Safety Car, and its importance in a Grand Prix.
Safety car, also known as pace car, is essentially used to limits the speed of the racing cars when the track is under caution conditions. 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.
How does the F1 Safety Car work?
If an incident on track leaves a lot of debris or a damaged car(s), the Safety Car may be deployed to slow the drivers down while the marshals clear it up. Behind the Safety Car, drivers are not allowed to overtake each other and also maintain a minimum delta speed. To make up for the resultant cooling of the tyres, drivers are often seen doing burnouts and swerving from side to side.
After the track is clear, Race Control will notify to all the teams, who in turn inform the drivers by team radio. As the Safety Car’s lights go off and slide into the pit lane, drivers get up to racing speed. As green lights go out on the next lap, the race resumes.
Safety car deployed!
— Autosport (@autosport) May 2, 2021
Which cars are used as the F1 Safety and Medical Cars?
Aston Martin has made their debut in proving the Safety and Medical Cars. The Vantage Safety Car and DBX Medical Car made their debut at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
The green Vantage Safety Car is powered by a 4.0l twin-turbo V8 engine, managing 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds. The DBX Medical Car reaches the same distance in 4.5 seconds, with a defibrillator, fire extinguishers and a burn kit to respond to medical emergencies.
Mercedes have been the official Safety Cars since 1996 and have the AMG GT R Safety Car and C 63 S Estate Medical Car this season, both in red.
The AMG GT R has a 4.0l biturbo V8 and can reach 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds, while the C 63 S Estate is in-built with FIA-spec medical equipment, just like the DBX Medical Car.