AMG prominently in the 2012 F1 season
Mercedes-AMG is set to feature prominently in the 2012 Formula 1 season. The opening race in Melbourne, Australia (16 - 18 March 2012) will not only witness the debut of the newly christened MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula 1 team, but also the return of the Official F1™ Safety Car and the Official F1™ Medical Car from Mercedes-AMG. The SLS AMG and C 63 AMG Estate ensure maximum safety in extreme conditions.
The gullwing model, with its characteristic roof lights and distinctive FIA and F1 logos on its aluminium body, has been deployed in the role of official Safety Car for Formula 1 since 2010. As soon as Race Control considers that the safe progress of the race may be impeded, it sends the SLS AMG out onto the track. "Poor weather conditions or accidents are the main reasons for deploying the Safety Car," according to Bernd Mayländer, driver of the Official F1™ Safety Car. "We remain on standby in the pits and receive the order to go out onto the track via radio. Then it's a case of leading the field safely around the circuit until the dangerous situation has been dealt with."
Bernd Mayländer has driven the Official F1™ Safety Car since 2000
The FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) has entrusted the task of driving the Safety Car to 40 year-old racer Bernd Mayländer since 2000. When the Formula 1 calendar permits, Mayländer, a native of Schorndorf, Germany also works as an instructor for the AMG Driving Academy and attends selected events as a Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador. Mayländer's co-driver in the Safety Car is FIA associate Pete Tibbetts (45 years old, from Great Britain), who remains in permanent radio contact with Race Control. The SLS AMG Official F1™ Safety Car is also on call throughout the race weekend for the majority of the accompanying race series, such as the GP2 and GP3 Series and the Porsche Supercup.
A significant change in the 2012 season involves lapped vehicles during a Safety Car phase: they will be allowed to overtake the Safety Car after the Race Control has given the appropriate signal. By allowing them to gain their lap back, the natural race order of the cars will be restored, something which should allow for more equal opportunities when the race restarts.
Safety Car deployed twelve times in the 2011 Formula 1 season
In the 2011 Formula 1 season, the SLS AMG Official F1™ Safety Car was deployed twelve times, covering a total distance of 284.3 kilometres. At the Canadian Grand Prix in June 2011, there were no less than 5 Safety Car phases owing to extreme heavy rain and accidents. The SLS AMG covered some 32 laps, or 139.6 km, at the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit – a greater percentage than ever before in the history of Formula 1. At the Monaco Grand Prix there were two Safety Car phases, while the Grands Prix in Belgium, Italy, Singapore, Japan and Korea each had just one Safety Car phase. The absolute record for the deployment of the Safety Car in a season stands at 21 outings, a figure which was reached in 2010. The total distance covered by the car during that season was 452.3 km.