Paris, Sunday: Formula One races will be revolutionised in the future following the FIA’s announcement today that the sport’s iconic Safety Car will be revised in time for next week’s Monaco Grand Prix, to reflect some of the latest developments to affect the category since the start of the year.
The new Safety Car, which will still be a modified Mercedes CLK 63 AMG, will from Monaco onwards sport a version of the controversial double-decker diffuser, declared legal by the FIA earlier in the season, as well as the revolutionary Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) that has made an ineffective and expensive debut in F1 this season.
The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, which concerns itself with the safety of drivers in Formula One, has been lobbying for some time for the safety car to be made slightly faster in order to prevent cars from cooling down too much during caution periods. Today’s announcement is expected to make those improvements, though Safety Car driver Bernd Maylander indicated that there were other motivations for the changes too.
“We end up leading a lot of races, as a lot of these guys don’t know how to negotiate the first corner of a race properly,” Maylander said, pointing out the chaotic start of the last race in Spain. “So we figured, we’re in the lead for so long, why not take a shot at winning the race too? With a double-decker diffuser and KERS, we might even beat the Brawn cars.”
The introduction of KERS to the car is seen as an endorsement of the system by Mercedes, whose McLaren team have arguably got the best from their unit since the start of the year in Melbourne. “I might have some fun when the ‘Lapped Cars May Now Overtake’ board is displayed,” Maylander admitted. “We’ll see if they can get past me!”