Red Bull’s reigning Formula 1 Drivers’ Champion Max Verstappen has urged Formula 1 to investigate the Aston Martin Vantage safety car for driving “like a turtle”. He claimed drivers following the safety car during last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix were unable to maintain tyre temperatures. The remark comes after Verstappen’s forced retirement from the race following engine issues.
The Aston Martin V8 Vantage F1 Edition is powered by a 4.0L twin-turbo V8 that produces 528bhp, though Verstappen believes the car lacks the performance necessary to lead the F1 grid while enabling Formula 1 cars to keep their sticky tyres hot enough.
The Dutch Champion said: “The safety car was driving so slow, it was like a turtle. Unbelievable. To drive 140 [km/h] on the back straight, there was not a damaged car, so I don’t understand why we have to drive so slowly. We have to investigate.”
“It’s pretty terrible the way we are driving behind the safety car at the moment.”
The Aston is notably underpowered compared to the new 730bhp Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series, which was introduced in 2022 and used in the Bahrain and Saudi Arabian Grand Prixs. The Mercedes-AMG safety car is believed to be around five seconds faster than the Aston Martin per lap at some circuits on the calendar.
“For sure, the Mercedes safety car is faster because of the extra aero because this Aston Martin is really slow. It definitely needs more grip because our tyres were stone cold” Verstappen added, in a rare seal of approval for Mercedes power.
Verstappen, who has famously been the beneficiary of safety car interventions in the past, was not the only driver to highlight issues with the Aston Martin. Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc stated: “For sure, with the cars that we have now, it’s very difficult to keep the temperatures in the tyres behind the safety car.”
Third-placed Mercedes-AMG driver George Russel also supported his rival’s statements, saying: “We don’t have the issue with the Mercedes-AMG safety car! On a serious note, the Mercedes-AMG is like five seconds, a lot quicker, than the Aston Martin safety car, which is pretty substantial.”
So, do you think Verstappen makes a valid point? Should Formula 1 speed up the Aston Martin safety car? Or should it be dropped entirely in favour of the faster Mercedes AMG-GT Black Series? Let us know your thoughts.