For fans, the most obvious contrast was the alternative colors of green and red at the head of the field – but for the F1 drivers themselves, it was a different story.
The outstanding performance of the two Safety Cars took center stage at the Australian Grand Prix as the drivers aimed for the speed of the Aston Martin Vantage.
Frustrated that the lap wasn’t fast enough to keep the heat in the tyres, Max Verstappen infamously referred to the green car as a ‘turtle’.
“There is so little grip and also the safety car was going so slow it was like a turtle. Unbelievable,” Verstappen complained.
These comments, combined with similar remarks from other drivers including Charles Leclerc and George Russell, pointing out that the Aston Martin Safety Car is five seconds per lap slower than the current Mercedes, prompted a quick response from the FIA.
The umbrella organization made it clear that the absolute performance of the various safety cars is not a criterion that it is concerned about. The main concern was that the cars should help to reduce the dangers for those responsible for the route and the driver in the event of an accident.
But while the FIA is happy with the Aston Martin’s performance, it’s clear that driver frustration isn’t so easily quenched – especially at races where heating tires for a restart is crucial.
How do the safety cars from Aston Martin and Mercedes perform technically?
The 2022 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series safety car brings up the rear in Jeddah
Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images
Mercedes AMG GT Black Series
This year, Mercedes took a leap when it introduced all-new safety and medical cars – the most powerful versions ever.
The Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series Safety Car is a slightly modified version of the track version of the production model.
Changes were made for practical reasons – like the turn signal lights (integrated into the car for aerodynamic reasons, rather than as a bar above), on-board cameras and a cup holder.
But technically it’s pretty much exactly like the racetrack model. Powered by a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8, aerodynamics, weight and center of gravity have been engineered for the track rather than the street.
It has 537 kW (730 hp) with some lightweight construction and active aerodynamics that can change the profile of both the front splitter and rear wing to reduce drag on the straights and deliver more downforce in the corners.
The racing version of the car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.2 seconds and has a top speed of 325 km/h. (202mph)
Downforce figures estimate that it generates 249 kg at 200 km/h while increasing to 400 kg at 250 km/h.
F1 safety car driver Bernd Maylander has certainly raved about it, admitting he couldn’t believe how much progress the 2022 safety car was over its predecessor.
“I’m just blown away by how close it is to a thoroughbred racing car,” he said. “It’s really a big step compared to last year’s GT R – which was already at an extremely high level.”
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage Safety Car in Melbourne
Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
Aston Martin’s Vantage Safety Car is technically upgraded from the original road-going version of the sports car – but has now been released as a bespoke F1 model.
The 4-liter turbocharged V8 produces 535 hp (528 hp) – that’s 25 hp more than the normal road car. It accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds
With the addition of a front splitter and louvered grille, the Vantage generates 155.6kg of downforce at 200km/h, which is 60kg more than the production car at the same speed.
The safety car also features upgraded suspension, steering and dampers, as well as strut modifications to improve the structural rigidity of the front end.
It features a flashing light panel in the more traditional position at the top of the roof.
Safety Car Technical Comparison
|tech comparison||Mercedes AMG GT Black Series||Aston Martin Vantage|
|engine||4 liter biturbo V8||4 liter turbocharged V8|
|hp||730 hp||528 hp|
|Maximum Torque||800 nM||685 nM|
|Acceleration (0-62mph)||3.2 seconds||3.5 seconds|
|Downforce at 125mph||249kg||155.6kg|
The medical cars from Mercedes and Aston Martin are not boring either.
The Mercedes GT 63 S 4MATIC+ powered by a 4.0 liter V8 biturbo delivers 470 KW (639 hp) and accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.2 seconds. Its top speed is 315 km/h (195.7 mph).
The Aston Martin DBX Medical Car has an output of 550 hp (542 hp), which takes it from 0 to 62 mph (99.7 km/h) in 4.5 seconds. It has a top speed of 181mph.
Aston Martin DBX Medical Car
Photo by: Aston Martin
Mercedes‑AMG GT 63 S 4MATIC+ F1 Medical Car
Photo: Daimler AG