Since 2021, safety car duties have been shared between long-time supplier Mercedes – which runs the 720bhp AMG GT Black Series track-based sports car – and the improved Aston Martin Vantage F1 Edition.
The outgoing Aston model has almost 200bhp less power than the Mercedes, offers less power and weighs 45kg more.
Given the subsequent lap time difference, with the Mercedes estimated to be five seconds faster, Max Verstappen called the Vantage a “tortoise” for not spinning fast enough to allow the drivers to maintain tire temperature.
Speaking at the 2022 Australian Grand Prix, the three-time world champion said: “The safety car was going very slowly, it was like a turtle.
“To drive 140 (km/h) on the back straight, there was no damaged car, so I don’t understand why we have to drive slowly, we have to investigate.
“Obviously, the Mercedes safety car is faster because of the extra aero, because this Aston Martin is very slow. It definitely needs more grip, because our tires were stone cold.
“It’s really bad how we’re driving behind the safety car at the moment.”
The new improved safety car will replace Aston Martin’s previous version, shown at the 2023 Qatar GP.
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Sports Pictures
However, Aston is set to launch a new safety car this season based on the heavily updated Vantage as part of a mid-life upgrade.
Along with revised bodywork and a new grille, power has been increased by 150bhp to 656bhp courtesy of a bigger turbocharger, more cooling and a new camshaft for its AMG-sourced 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8.
The new Vantage has been spotted testing ahead of the opening day of F1 pre-season testing in Bahrain, with a rear wing and green and black camouflage.
Motorsport.com understands that the new Vantage will be introduced at the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP, the second race of the campaign.
The Aston Martin F1 team and its Vantage safety car carry key branding from Aramco, the Saudi state oil company.
The new Vantage, its GT3 racing counterpart and the AMR24 F1 rival were all launched on 12 February.
Aston also offers an F1 treatment car, which in 2023 was upgraded from the standard DBX sports utility vehicle to the upgraded 707 model, named in honor of its power output.