Fans of Formula 1 will know that the safety car used in this year’s championship (and since 2015) is the Mercedes-AMG GT S, driven by Bernd Maylander, a former successful touring car racing driver. However, Maylander’s services may no longer be required in the future, as the FIA could look to promote autonomous driving technology.

In an interview with Motorsport.com, Marcin Budkowski, the head of the F1 technical department, suggested that a driverless safety car would help to promote autonomous technologies “We have spoken about an unmanned safety car. It would promote a technology about which there is a bit of scepticism and, instead, it could be shown that it works,” said Budkowski.

However, don’t expect such technologies to make their way to the race cars themselves, as Budkowski believes turning it into another Roborace will ruin the F1 spectacle. “The safety car driver would no longer be essential, because it would leave the controls to the computer. But we must be aware of the attraction of race cars without drivers: the engineers would love it, but not the fans,” he explained.

As such, Budkowski also revealed some scepticism on the idea of autonomous technology in racing, and has doubts whether F1 without drivers will be able to pull in a crowd. “I see it (Roborace) as a very interesting thing, which pushes things in one direction. But can this idea of having no F1 driver captivate millions around the world? Frankly I have doubts,” he noted.