In the event of an accident or extremly poor conditions, FIA has two main methods of neutralising a practice session or race – safety car or virtual safety car (VSC) whic was introduced in 2015.
Official safety car in Formula 1 is Mercedes Benz (since 1996.) and current model is Mercedes Benz GT S. Car has 4-litre V8 biturbo engine with 510 HP and 650 Nm and aerodynamicaly shaped roof light with LED technology and two TV cameras.
Mercedes F1 safety car history
1996.: C 36 AMG
1997.: CLK 55 AMG
2000.: CL 55 AMG
2001.: SL 55 AMG
2003.: CLK 55 AMG
2004.: SLK 55 AMG
2006.: CLK 63 AMG
2008.: SL 63 AMG
2010.: SLS AMG
2012. (from Belgian GP): SLS AMG GT
2015.: GT S
Safety car driver is Bernd Maylander (since 2000.), ex racing driver who started his racing career in karting in late 80’s. Alan van der Merwe drives the Medical car with his co-driver dr.Ian Roberts. Medical car has same V8 engine as Safety car, but also carries all necessary medical equipment.
Virtual safety car, introduced in 2015., is used when double yellow flags are needed on any section of the track but circumstances are not such to warrant the safety car itself. When the VSC is called, teams will be notified via the official messaging system while drivers will be notified by all light panels on the track displaying ‘VSC’.
Under VSC, drivers must reduce their speed and stay above a minimum sector times set by the FIA. Drivers must not drive unnecessarily slowly, erracitally or potentially dangerous to other competitors and cannot overtake except if another driver in front enters the pit lane or slows with an obvious problems.
When it’s safe to end VSC procedure, teams will be notified via the official messaging system. At any time between 10 and 15 seconds later, the FIA light panels will change to green and drivers are free to resume the race. In the event of a more serious accident the safety car will be called.
The safety car will join the circuit with its orange lights on and all drivers must follow it without overtaking. SC will signal backmarkers to pass it using its green light until the race leader is immediately behind it.
Under certain circumstances SC may travel trough the pit lane and drivers will be allowed to stop at their pit garage.
When the safety car is ready to leave the circuit it will turn its orange lights off. Drivers must continue in formation until they cross the first SC line where green lights will indicate they can race again. DRS won’t be enabled until two racing laps are completed.
In extremly poor weather race may begin behind SC which will put its orange lights ten minutes before the start of the race to indicate this will happen. When lights switch to green SC will lead the field in starting grid order.
After the track is safe to race and SC returns to the pit lane, normal standing start will occur (new rule for 2017.).
If the race starts behind SC, overtaking on the first lap is not allowed unless some driver has a problem getting away from the grid. That driver may repass cars to regain his original starting position until the end of the lap. If he fails to do so, he must pit and rejoin the race once the field have passed the pit exit.
Mercedes Benz AMG GT S technical specifications
|Engine||V8, 3982 cm3, biturbo, direct fuel injection|
|Power||510 HP @ 6250 rpm|
|Maximum RPM||7000 rpm|
|Torque||650 Nm @ 1750 – 4750 rmp|
|Transmission||automatic with two clutches, seven gears and manual mode (7G-DCT), rear wheel drive|
|Front suspension||Coil spring, Double-tube gas pressure with CDC/Coil spring, double-tube gas pressure with CDC, tubular torsion bar|
|Rear suspension||Coil spring, Double-tube gas pressure with CDC/Coil spring, double-tube gas pressure with CDC, torsion bar|
|Brakes||Discs, internally ventilated and perforated, 390 mm front and rear, ABS|
|Wheels||Front: 9.0 J x 19, rear: 11.0 J x 19|
|Tyres||Front: 265/35 ZR19, rear: 295/30 ZR 20|
|Weight distribution||F:R 47% : 53%|
|Power to weight ratio||352 HP/tonn|
|0 – 100 km/h||3,8 s (claimed)|
|Maximum speed||310 km/h (limited)|
|Average fuel consumption||9,4 – 9,6 l/100 km|
|Average CO2||219 – 224 g/km (EURO 6)|
|Price||from 115 600 euros|
FIA F1 2017. sporting regulations can be downloaded here.