The Secret Life Of A Safety Car Driver

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Bernd Mayländer's office is a Mercedes–Benz SLS AMG. He’s led more laps in the 2010 Formula One season than all but the top five drivers. And he’s been at it for ten years.

The world may be full of obscure middle age German racing drivers lapping away in DTM but it’s probably safe to say that none of them have it as cool as Mayländer, a 39-year-old from a Stuttgart suburb. He has been the official operator of the


Formula One safety car since the 2000 season. A positively prehistoric date if you consider that it was the dawn of Michael Schumacher’s long reign which has long since been over.


For the past several years, Formula One safety cars have been Mercedes–Benz AMG models, with an SLS AMG serving as safety car for the recently concluded 2010 season.

Mayländer has had a busy year. A number of races with heavy rain and/or accidents which left liberal sprinklings of carbon fiber on track resulted in Mayländer’s car out for 88 laps over the year: more than an entire Grand Prix. In fact, he’s led more race laps than anyone other than Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, and Mark Webber, the five drivers who were in the championship hunt for most of the season.


A related note: you have until tomorrow morning to catch up on the Abu Dhabi title race if you wish to read our various after-season and other F1-related posts this week without spoilers. If you missed the race on Sunday, don’t worry. Some say that various nooks and crannies of the internet can be a boon to locating past F1 race broadcasts.

Photo Credit: Paul Gilham/Getty Images, Clive Mason/Getty Images, Mercedes–Benz