The first time a safety car was ever used during an F1 race was during the Canadian Grand Prix in 1973 following various incidents under treacherous weather conditions. But what is the role of the F1 safety car? It wasn’t until 1992 that the FIA laid down clear guidelines for the role of the safety car, following trials at the British and French Grands Prix.
The safety car comes into use during an F1 race when the Race Director – currently Charlie Whiting – wants to reduce speed for safety reasons. This could be after an accident or because the track is waterlogged following a period of heavy rain. According to the regulations, the safety car enters the circuit “whenever there is an immediate hazard but the conditions do not require the race to be interrupted”.
Since 2000 the FIA has entrusted the task of driving the safety car to Bernd Maylander, a former successful touring car racer. Since 1996 the official Formula One safety car has been supplied by Mercedes-Benz, but we take a look further back at some of the other cars to have led F1 cars round the track.
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