FORMULA ONE SAFETY CARS ARRIVE AT COTA
Federation Internationale de I’Automobile (FIA) Sporting Regulations, Section 40.3: “The safety car may be brought into operation to neutralize a race upon the order of the clerk of the course. It will be used only if competitors or officials are in immediate physical danger but the circumstances are not such as to necessitate suspending the race.”
What that means to you and me is this: If track conditions become unsafe during a race due to a crash, extreme weather or debris on the track, the safety car is deployed. The safety car is a 571-HP Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG (bottom in the photo) piloted by former touring-car racer Bernd Maylander. It’s his job to tame the 16,500 collective horsepower of the Formula One field and lead them safely around the track until the stewards decide the track is suitable to return to racing.
The car you see on the top of the stack is a 487-HP Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, the FIA Formula 1 Medical Car. During races, FIA Chief Medical Delegate Doctor Ian Roberts can be found waiting inside. He’ll be on stand-by at the end of pit lane for the duration of the race, ready to race to the scene of any serious accident on track.
These two cars, amazing in their own right, travel the Formula One calendar along with the rest of the teams and FIA personnel.
A week and a half ago, on October 5th, these cars were on track at Suzuka Circuit during the Japanese Grand Prix. Five days later and 4,920 miles from Suzuka, they could be found lapping Sochi Autodrom during the Russian Grand Prix weekend. Five days after that and 6,680 miles from Sochi, they’ve arrived at Circuit of the Americas.
You’ll see these vehicles turning laps during the Formula One United States Grand Prix weekend here at COTA. When they aren’t leading the world’s most advanced racing machinery around the track or providing urgent medical care to the world’s most elite drivers, they inspect the course on behalf of the FIA and have even been known to take a few lucky souls along for a ride!