When it’s wet conditions, you really feel the pressure – especially when you look in your rearview mirror and see the full grid of F1 cars behind you. In the wet, you know the tyres aren’t working like they are in the F1 cars, so it’s very slippery. I have no chance to heat up the tyres either, so when I’m on the track with cold tyres, I’d sometimes prefer to be at home watching on the sofa!
To give some idea of the speeds involved, on average, an F1 car is around about 10 seconds per kilometre quicker than my Mercedes AMG GT S safety car and around 12 seconds quicker per kilometre than the Mercedes C63 medical car. I had a Mercedes SLS for four years and I’ve had the AMG GT S for two years now. Before, I remember we mostly used Mercedes CL55s when I started in 2000, which was a very different kind of car. By comparison, it was a nice, comfortable limousine with leather and air conditioning!
Now, we have a really sporty car, so we’ve been getting quicker and quicker. Nonetheless, as my boss Charlie Whiting says: “We are a safety car, so we have to be safe.” I can’t take the checkered flag and win the race, for example. My job is to be on the track and to slow the cars and the drivers down to help the marshals work as safely as possible on the track.
I get all my information on the radio from Charlie and I have two monitors in the car, where I can watch the race, see the lap times and use our GPS to pinpoint exactly where each of the cars is. I can also see if there has been an impact and even how big the g-force was in it.