This season’s Formula 1 races will feature all-new safety and medical support cars as the old SLS AMG Safety Car and C63 AMG Medical Car phased out. Replacing them, unsurprisingly, are the new versions of their road-going counterparts; the AMG GT S and the new C63 AMG S Estate.
The AMG GT S puts the SLS into Safety Car retirement after just five years in service. Carrying on as Official F1 Safety Car Driver is Bernard Mayländer who’s been doing the job since 2000. He also had a hand in developing the AMG GT so should know his way around the 510bhp/375kW coupe. Powering the AMG GT S F1 Safety Car is the same 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 producing 510/375kW and 650NM of torque as the road car. With performance stats such as a 0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 310 km/h it should have no problem keeping up with the Formula 1 cars. The only trouble is with that loud V8 engine it could run the risk of stealing the spotlight from them too, in terms of noise anyway.
Mercedes-AMG have thrown everything at the Safety Car to make sure it performs as well as possible in the event of an emergency. There are 402mm carbon ceramic brakes up front and 360mm at the rear. The carbon fibre rear wing from ‘Edition 1’ models has also been fitted. Other additions include many F1 and FIA stickers to make sure everyone knows it’s the safety car and not a random lost AMG GT in the middle of a racetrack because the sat-nav told them to. As if that wasn’t enough there’s also a LED light bar attached to a carbon fibre air scoop on the roof.
Inside there are sports buckets seats with six-point seat belts and lots of high-tech communication equipment. There are two iPads inside where co-drive Peter TIbbetts can see the International Feed of the Grand Prix race and another showing the current locations and lap times of the cars. There’s also an in-car hotspot with WLAN.
Replacing the old C63 AMG Estate Medical Car is the new C63 AMG S Estate. This also has the same 4.0-litre 510bhp/375kW bi-turbo V8 as the AMG GT S but with 700NM of torque. 0-100 km/h is done in 4.1 seconds. The C63 AMG S will be driven by Alan van der Merwe and co-piloted by FIA’s official physician, Dr. Ian Roberts. There’s also space in the back for a couple of staff from local hospitals.
Like the AMG GT S, the C63 is also equipped to get to the scene of an emergency as quickly as possible. 402mm carbon ceramic brakes are standard issue as are sport bucket seats with six-point seat belts. Unlike the AMG GT however there’s also space in the back for medical equipment such as defibrillator and respirator. Stickers and LED lights are also well represented on the Medical Car.
Both the AMG GT S Safety Car and C63 AMG S Estate Medical Car will get their F1 debut at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne this weekend. The SLS AMG was sent out in 10 out of the 19 races last year and entered the track 14 times overall. Which means we should see the AMG GT S in action a fair amount too. Hopefully there won’t be much need for the C63 Medical Car. Safety has never looked or sounded as good as this.
But with a growing number of manufacturers entering F1 (Mercedes-AMG, Ferrari, Infiniti, Renault, McLaren, Honda) what other possible Safety and Medical cars could F1 use? A 488 GTB Safety Car and FF Medical Car would be nice. Not sure about a CR-Z and CR-V combo though…