The new Aston Martin Vantage is playing a starring role in Formula 1 this season. As the official FIA safety car for the race series, this perfectly tuned and specially equipped version of the high-performance Vantage is often seen at the front of the pack, controlling the pace of the race. Otherwise it is stationed at the exit of the pit lane, ready to roar into action if needed.

Revealed back in February, alongside its ‘brothers in speed’ – the Vantage GT3 racer and the AMR24 F1 challenger – the new Vantage made its debut at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

It is powered by a potent, hand-built 4.0 twin-turbo V8 engine, giving it a 30 per cent increase on power over the previous model. And, despite a few modifications, it is the same car as the new road-going Vantage, with no engine upgrade, no changes to its cooling system and no upgrade in braking performance. As Aston Martin state: “It was born for this role. Safety has never looked so thrilling.”

Bernd Mayländer is Formula 1’s official safety car driver. “The car comes from an incredible bloodline and this newest version is the fastest yet,” he says. “My first impressions were very positive as I could immediately feel the improvement in handling and, of course, power. 

“We need a car that is fast and focused so we can respond quickly and safely when we receive the call for on-track deployment, and Vantage provides that.”

To provide maximum attack on the race track, the car has additional, modified underfloor aerodynamics, along with an extended and profiled front splitter. For extra downforce, a new rear wing has been fitted with a tuned Gurney flap. The FIA lightbar has also received new aero-profiling.

There are modifications inside the car too. The production seats have been replaced by pole position seats, while a central console features switchgear to work the FIA systems, along with screens showing live lap times, the track positioning of all of the cars and a rear-view camera. 

Although functional, the safety car is still an Aston Martin so the interior has been finished in a lime-coloured trim, in a nod to the marque’s own racing colours.

Roberto Fedeli, is group chief technology officer at Aston Martin. “Every thought, every idea, every piece of technology and every stroke of the designer’s pen that went into Vantage can now be enjoyed by the fans of Formula 1,” he says. “This new car is already the fastest and most driver-focused Vantage yet, which makes it perfect for this unique job.”