F1's secret safety car showdown

On Thursdays before a Formula 1 GP weekend really kicks off, Bernd Maylander, the F1 safety car driver, and Dr. Jacques Tropenat, the F1 medical car driver, check out the trackside cameras and timing equipment. Steering identical Mercedes CLK 63's, they also check out their driving skills by seeing which one of them can set the best lap.

Bernd is a former race car driver who has been doing safety car duty since 2000. When the FIA decided to hire a professional safety car driver instead of using former F1 pilots, Bernd was plucked from the DTM series and given two years of training. Now, the hardest driving he does is when he's called out to parade the racers around during a caution. He knows how slow it looks on TV, but he says "I have to drive 99% up to my limit. I can't drive over my limit - that extra 1% is to make sure I'm safe. The drivers know I have to drive really hard in a much slower car, but if they push me then I know I can drive a little bit quicker. We have to play together." He also wins the award for The Most Obvious Quote of Memorial Weekend when he says "The difference between a safety car and a F1 car is like a jumbo jet and a star fighter. To put it simply, I could never win a Grand Prix in the safety car." That said, his only real competition is the Thursday bout with his medical colleague. Call it Fire Marshall Bill vs. McDreamy.

Thanks for the tip, Patrick!

[Source: BBC]

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