Aston Martin is set to share safety car duties on the Formula 1 schedule next year as Mercedes AMG looks to slowly step back from the role it has held for over twenty seasons.
Mercedes has been the sole supplier of the official F1 safety car since 1996. Before that, the role was sporadically spread between Lamborghini, Porsche, Ford and Fiat. The Honda Prelude was also used once for the 1994 Japanese Grand Prix.
The current safety car is the Mercedes AMG GT R which is the fastest in the sport’s history. Packing a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and over 580hp, the current iteration of safety car boasts a top speed of 198 mph.
However, Autosport is reporting that Mercedes is looking increasingly likely to step down as the sole supplier of the sport’s safety car. Aston Martin is now set to supply the safety car at 12 of next year’s 23 Grands Prix.
Mercedes’ parent company Daimler recently took a 20 per cent shareholding in Aston Martin which is owned by Racing Point team owner Lawrence Stroll. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff also has a private shareholding in the manufacturer.
Next year, the Aston Martin moniker will return to the F1 grid with Racing Point morphing into the British firm. Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel is already confirmed to join the team.
Mercedes have long been rumoured to pull the plug on its F1 operations as it addresses the financial consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the team did agree to the new Concorde Agreement earlier this year which confirms their commitment until at least 2025.
Speculation is now spreading about which vehicle from Aston Martin’s portfolio will receive the call-up.
A race-derived Vantage is set to be the preferred car of choice for the safety car. The medical car will likely be a DBX.
Aston Martin has already spent stints as the safety car supplier in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) and the FIA World Endurance Championship.