Maybe it will score more points than the F1 team.
The 2023 Formula 1 season kicks off this weekend, and there will be at least one turbocharged V8-powered machine on track. Aston Martin has confirmed that the DBX707 will take over from the standard DBX as the new official FIA Medical Car of Formula 1. The Vantage debuted on the grid in 2021 and is also returning as the official Safety Car. It will be painted in the same Aston Martin Racing Green used on the AMR23 Formula 1 single-seater.
Building a Medical Car is a bit more advanced than chucking a box of Band-Aids and some Vicodin in the trunk of a DBX. The vehicle is required to have fire extinguishers, medical bags, and a defibrillator, and that's not including the modifications needed to keep the driver and passenger safe.
Then come the FIA-approved racing seats with six-point harnesses. Remember that this car and the Vantage will be driven on the limit just to stay ahead of F1 cars plodding along.
The passenger will have a direct line to Race Control and the FIA marshaling system, as well as biometric readouts from the drivers and a live feed of the race. This allows them to make an early assessment of an incident while en route to the crash scene. With Nicholas Latifi gone and Lance Stroll not partaking in the first race due to a negative encounter with a bicycle, the chances of a crash in the first race are relatively low.
Still, in all seriousness, it's worth pointing out that F1's most recent death occurred in 2015. The danger out there is still very real, and these guys need the best equipment to save lives.
"[The] DBX707 is the perfect vehicle for the critical role as an Official FIA Medical Car of Formula 1, providing the performance and punch required for the world's greatest racing circuits, in addition to the flexibility and space required by the sport's officials and medics," said Roberto Fedeli, Aston Martin's Chief Technology Officer.
Aston Martin's new racing driver, Fernando Alonso, took his DBX707 for a spin on a track, and it looked perfectly planted.
"The updated FIA Medical Car is an impressive step forward and ensures that we will keep pace in the high-speed world of Formula 1," said Alan van der Merwe, FIA Medical Car driver. "It's definitely going to allow the Medical Car team to fully focus on the job and respond quickly and safely during any on-track deployments."
Van der Merwe will definitely feel the additional ponies. The standard DBX's 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 produces 542 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. Aston Martin ramps those figures to 697 hp and 663 lb-ft in the 707.
As for the Vantage Safety Car, it will be driven by Bernd Maylander, a former 24 Hours of Nurburgring winner and retired Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) racer. Since F1 drivers complained the Vantage was too slow last year, Aston Martin made some improvements learned from Vantage race cars that compete in various motorsports classes across the globe. Still, we suspect Mercedes-AMG alternatives will still be quicker on track, whether as Medical/Safety Cars or as competitors.
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