In the new 2013 Formula 1® season, Mercedes-AMG will once again help to ensure safety at all Formula 1® races forming part of the FIA Formula One World Championship™. For the 18th year the performance brand of Mercedes-Benz is providing the Official F1® Safety Car and the Official F1® Medical Car. The SLS AMG GT with 435 kW (591 hp) and the C 63 AMG Estate with 358 kW (487 hp) will be deployed at the direction of Race Control officials usually when weather or incidents are considered to impact on the safety of a race. The two AMG high-performance cars had their first appearance at the opening race of the Formula 1® season in Melbourne/Australia (14 to 17 March) the 2013 FORMULA 1 ROLEX AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX. The second race of the season, the 2013 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix will take place this weekend.
The main reasons for intervention by the Safety Car are poor weather conditions or accidents. The Official F1® Safety Car is driven by Bernd Mayländer (from Germany) and his co-driver, the FIA-employee Pete Tibbetts (from Great Britain). Bernd Mayländer: "We are on standby in the pit lane in the Official F1® Safety Car, waiting for a radio message from Race Control." When the need arises, the aim is to guide the field safely around the track until the danger no longer exists. The racing driver from Schorndorf has been the official driver of the Safety Car for the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) since 2000. As a former DTM driver he is also active as an instructor for the AMG Driving Academy and as a Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador at selected events.
The SLS AMG GT is the perfect car for the exacting requirements of Formula 1®. In keeping with the philosophy of Mercedes-AMG, the Safety Car does without technical modifications or retrofitted lightweight design measures as far as possible. The SLS AMG GT's outstanding driving dynamics come courtesy of its thoroughbred super sports car heritage: thanks to an aluminium spaceframe body, the Official F1® Safety Car tips the scales at just 1620 kg (DIN kerb weight). Thanks to the dry-sump lubrication system, it has been possible to install the V8 engine very low down, giving the vehicle a low centre of gravity. And as a result of the engine's positioning behind the front axle and the transaxle arrangement of the dual-clutch transmission on the rear axle, the car also has a favourable weight distribution ratio of 47:53 percent (front/rear). As is customary on super sports cars, aluminium double-wishbone axles to ensure high cornering speeds, precise turn-in characteristics and superb agility, as well as low mass inertia during sudden changes of direction are all part of the package with the SLS AMG GT.
The 6.3-litre V8 front mid-engine with a maximum output of 435 kW (591 hp) and 650 newton metres of peak torque is also the series-production version, as are the AMG SPEEDSHIFT DCT 7-speed sports transmission, the AMG RIDE CONTROL Performance suspension, the AMG high-performance ceramic composite brake system and the weight-optimised AMG 10-spoke forged light-alloy wheels painted in matt black with a high-sheen finish. The rear silencer specially developed for the Safety Car generates an even more exciting V8 sound signature to thrill Formula 1® fans watching at the circuit as well as at home on TV. The SLS AMG GT accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.7 seconds, and reaches the 200 km/h mark after just 11.2 seconds.
The major distinguishing visual feature between the standard production SLS AMG GT and the Official F1® Safety Car is the roof light bar. It boasts an aerodynamically efficient profile and sits on a special carbon-fibre hood which ensures the most efficient airflow over the rear aerofoil, which automatically extends at speeds above 120 km/h. All of the bar's light functions are handled by LEDs which offer a fast response time and low power consumption.
Green: the two centrally positioned green lights on the front and rear are lit up when the gullwing model joins the field at the start of a Safety Car phase. Permanent green is the signal for all Formula 1® drivers to overtake the Safety Car.
Orange: as soon as the Safety Car has positioned itself in front of all of the Formula 1® racing cars, the green LEDs are switched off and the orange LEDs are switched on. The flashing orange lights on the outer ends of the bar indicate that no overtaking whatsoever is allowed.
The roof light bar also incorporates a TV camera, and a second camera located next to the rear number plate allows the driver and co-driver to keep an eye on the Formula 1® cars behind via a monitor in the cockpit. The special number plate on the rear, with "Safety Car" lettering and 700 green LEDs, provides additional safety in darkness or wet weather. Another important feature is the stroboscopic lights in the headlamps and tail lights. They are activated permanently and provide a general signalling function while the Safety Car is being deployed.
In last year's Formula 1® season the Official F1® Safety Car went into action in nine of the 20 races. In 2012 the SLS AMG GT took to the track 13 times, covering 53 laps and a distance of 281 kilometres. The SLS AMG GT celebrated its Formula 1® debut at the 2012 FORMULA 1 SHELL BELGIAN GRAND PRIX, replacing the SLS AMG. As in previous years, the SLS AMG GT Official F1® Safety Car will be operational at all rounds of the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship™.
To accompany the Official F1®Safety Car in the 2013 season, Mercedes-AMG is once again providing the Official F1® Medical Car. As in the previous years since 2008, the C 63 AMG Estate will be responsible for ensuring a rapid emergency response in the event of an accident. The Medical Car follows the Formula 1® field during the initial lap, as the racing cars are still bunched extremely closely together during this critical phase of the race.
The 6.3-litre V8 engine of the C 63 AMG has the AMG Performance package and delivers an output of 358 kW (487 hp). High performance is also ensured by the variable coil-over suspension, the AMG high-performance braking system, AMG light-alloy wheels with tyre sizes 235/35 R 19 (front) and 255/30 R 19 (rear), the differential lock and 3-stage ESP®. Visually, the Medical Car is similar to the Safety Car: the light bar on the roof, the FIA and F1®logos, the stroboscopic LED lights at the front and rear, and the rear number plate illuminated with LEDs and with "Medical Car" lettering, distinguish the special Estate model from the standard production vehicle. To ensure the best possible airflow to the radiator, the AMG front apron also has larger intake apertures and side air vents.
The Official F1® Medical Car is driven by racing driver Alan van de Merwe (from South Africa); his co-driver is the official FIA Chief Medical Officer Dr Ian Roberts (from Great Britain). Two assisting medical personnel from a specially selected clinic near the race track sit in the rear. Four AMG sports bucket seats with six-point seat belts, two monitors integrated into the centre console for monitoring the race and a radio set for communicating with Race Control distinguish the interior of the Official F1® Medical Car from that of the standard production C 63 AMG Estate. There is plenty of space for all the emergency equipment – including a defibrillator and respiration apparatus – in the 485-litre luggage area of the C 63 AMG Estate.
Mercedes-AMG has extensive experience in the design, development and deployment of the Official F1® Safety Car and Official F1® Medical Car. The Affalterbach-based company has been active in the top echelons of international motorsport since 1996.
All the Mercedes-AMG Medical Cars at a glance