Formula One Safety cars: Aston Martin and Mercedes-AMG share with care
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Mercedes-AMG already shares its 4.0-litre biturbo V8 engine with Aston Martin. Now it’s also sharing Formula 1 Safety Car duties with the British brand – the first time it’s had to make space for another marque since it starting leading the grid in 1996.
The Aston Martin Vantage Safety Car and DBX Medical Car will make their debut at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on March 26-28.
Modifications to the Vantage to make it suitable for Safety Car duties were overseen by Aston Martin Lagonda chief executive Tobias Moers (former boss of Mercedes-AMG, funnily enough).
Power is up 18kW to 393kW and the 685Nm peak torque is sustained for longer. There’s a vaned grille with new front splitter that creates 156kg of downforce at 200kg. Steering, suspension and dampers have been modified and there’s a dramatic new wing at the back.
Inside, there are FIA-approved seats and two screens on the dashboard, with a live television feed and the track position/lap times of the entire field.
The Vantage Safety Car is finished in Aston Martin Racing Green, a new hue the company says it created to mark its return to F1 after 60 years. The same colour is used for the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team car.
The Mercedes-AMG GT R and C 63 S estate Safety/Medical Cars will return for the Italian Grand Prix on April 16-18. They’ve had a bit of a spruce-up as well: the classic silver paintjob has gone, in favour of bright red – a tribute to Mercedes-AMG’s legendary “Red Sow” racing car from 1971.
While the cars will alternate, the drivers will remain the same: Bernd Maylander in the Safety Car and Alan van der Merwe behind the wheel of the Medical Car.