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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Maylander on 24 years in F1’s security automobile

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On the 1973 Canadian Grand Prix, a Porsche tempo automobile intervened for the primary time after a collision between Francois Cevert and Jody Scheckter.

The FIA’s 50-year security automobile anniversary is considerably deceptive, nonetheless, as additional appearances had been few and much between. The protection automobile as we all know it has solely been an everyday fixture for the reason that 1993 season.

One man has been on the wheel for twenty-four of these 30 years. Former DTM and sportscar racer Bernd Maylander was entrusted with the position by the late Charlie Whiting in 2000, after beginning the yr prior in Method 3000.

You would be forgiven for pondering that Maylander has seen all of it and has lengthy settled right into a routine position, however after to talking the 52-year-old German on the anniversary weekend in Montreal, it’s clear that that’s removed from the reality.

“Perhaps it is my character,” he tells Autosport. “On the Saturday night earlier than the race I am nonetheless pondering: ‘Have I finished this proper? Is that this right?’

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“I have never misplaced this ardour, as a result of I like my job. I like what I am doing and I am totally centered. I believe that is the sort of ardour you wish to cowl your job in addition to doable.

“And for those who’re asking if I nonetheless get nervous, yeah, that is a sort of nervous. I believe that is like an actor or a singer. In the event that they need to go on a stage and so they’re not nervous anymore, I believe the voice might be not so good as it may very well be.

“So yeah, I am actually on. That is my character and I like this. If I lose that, then possibly I’ve to consider doing one thing completely different. However even at 52, after 24 years, I am nonetheless full on and all the time trying ahead to each race.”

Bernd Maylander, the motive force of the Security Automotive, 2002 Malaysian Grand Prix

Photograph by: James Bearne

A specific level of delight for Maylander is seeing how security requirements in Method 1, and motorsport at massive, have advanced over his tenure. Not solely eye-catching options, such because the halo and HANS units, but in addition how the FIA’s security protocol has matured through the years.

“In Method 1, we’re the very best racing league, so we should always all the time be the instance championship for classes, to be as protected as doable,” he explains.

“It is a studying process from all sides. Like each staff has to grasp its automobile initially of the season, we even have to grasp what we are able to do higher. Growing security automobiles in several methods, communication and security units with the HANS, with the halo, with all the massive issues of safety through the years.

“I began in a standard aluminium chassis, proper now I am sitting in a carbon fibre chassis. So, I believe all this growth helps quite a bit.

“In motorsport it is nonetheless doable to create issues in a really quick time and that makes motorsports fairly vital for regular highway automobiles as nicely. And that is fairly spectacular.

“Method 1 is not only 10 groups, it is 12 groups along with F1 and the FIA. Competitors is a special half, however on security we’re all in the identical boat. And that is what we’ve got to cowl in one of the best ways doable.”

If F1’s security procedures have come on in leaps and bounds, then so too have F1’s security automobiles, with Maylander now alternating between a 527bhp Aston Martin Vantage F1 Version and a 730bhp Mercedes-AMG GT Black Collection. Two high-spec sportscars optimised for the monitor are a far cry from among the leisurely saloon automobiles and hatchbacks used within the early years.

Maylander enjoys being concerned within the security automobiles’ growth, which is the place his historical past as a racer is useful.

The safety car at the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix

The protection automobile on the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix

Photograph by: Andre Vor / Sutton Photographs

“I believed in 2000, that have to be an ideal automobile,” Maylander recollects his unique Mercedes-Benz CL55 AMG. “Generally I’ve the chance to drive these {old} automobiles after which I say: ‘Oh, that is an {old} automobile.'”

“However at the moment, it was actually the top-level sportscar. And for those who bounce proper now within the Aston Martin Vantage or the Mercedes-AMG, this can be a race automobile like I used to be in a race automobile 20 or 30 years in the past.

“The extent is actually, actually excessive, however we by no means cease enhancing and doing issues higher. And that is fairly spectacular for me. Additionally, for those who see the Method 1 automobiles from 20 years in the past in comparison with proper now, it is fairly spectacular what is feasible.

“When Aston joined us two years in the past, I examined the automobile along with our take a look at driver. We now have our engineers, our software program guys… it is correct staff that works collectively so all the pieces runs in in a great way.

“That is fairly an fascinating a part of my job. I believe each race driver loves to check and to engineer new issues.”

However regardless of all his expertise, the German feels no two race weekends are the identical.

Generally he’s caught in his standard holding sample, on standby on the finish of the pitlane. And typically he ‘leads’ probably the most laps of the race – with some figuring out he is nonetheless within the prime 5 of most laps led across the perilous streets of Singapore. His complete variety of race laps is now believed to be nicely over 1,000.

The Safety Car Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

The Security Automotive Max Verstappen, Purple Bull Racing RB19, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Photograph by: Patrick Vinet / Motorsport Images

“I say there are not any commonplace races anymore in my life as a result of all the pieces can occur,” he explains. “So possibly you assume on to Sunday morning, it is a regular, clean weekend, after which when the lights exit, all the pieces can occur.

“And precisely for that you must be ready. That is not solely me, but in addition for the medical automobile driver, for everybody.

“If there’s an accident, we’re concerned with all of the automobiles, with all of the groups and so we’re prepared for all the pieces. And that may change from one to the opposite second. As soon as the chequered flag is out, solely then we all know what is going on to occur.”

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