Mercedes-Benz vehicles have been used as safety and medical cars for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship since 1996, but that all changes for the 2021 season. In a break from tradition, Aston Martin will also be supplying these vehicles this year, although the German carmaker will remain involved, supplying cars painted red for certain races.

The British carmaker recently announced that the Vantage will serve as F1’s safety car, while its first-ever SUV – the DBX – will be the medical car. Both vehicles have been modified for their respective roles and are finished in Racing Green, the same colour used for the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team car, with Green Lime accents.

For the Vantage, it’s AMG-sourced M177 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 has been tuned to deliver 535 PS, which is 25 PS more than stock, to ensure that the coupe is capable of maintaining a certain pace on track. This is important as the tyre temperatures on F1 cars can drop when running at sub-optimal speeds.

Torque remains unchanged at 685 Nm, but it can now be sustained for longer thanks to additional work on the transmission, which the company says allows the driver to have a “better sense of directness, precision, and control through upshifts and downshifts.”

Other changes involve aerodynamics, with the company’s Vaned Grille being coupled to a new front splitter to generate 155.6 kg of downforce at 200 km/h, or 60 kg more than a standard Vantage at the same speed. Modifications to the suspension, steering and dampers have also been done, with further detailed underbody bracing modifications to increase front structural stiffness.

Lower profile Pirelli tyres are also used to complement the comprehensive aero kit, and the safety car’s carbon-ceramic brakes receive additional brake ducts hidden within the grille to aid in their cooling. A rear wing and light bar have also been added on, along with FIA identifiers and an illuminated “Safety Car” plate, the latter for better visibility in all weather conditions.

Inside, the standard seats have been swapped out for FIA-approved racing seats and six-point safety harnesses, while two screens on the dashboard provide relevant information to passengers. The centre console has also been revised to accommodate a panel of switches for various functions, including for the cameras to provide live TV footage. The safety car will be piloted by FIA-appointed driver, Bernd Mayländer, joined by former racing driver, Richard Darker.

As for the DBX, it’s pretty much unchanged mechanically, with its M177 unit producing 550 PS and 700 Nm to ensure any emergencies can be responded to promptly. The SUV carries a large medical bag, a defibrillator, two fire extinguishers and a burn kit, with the interior sporting bucket seats, each equipped with a six-point safety harness.

These provide seating for the driver, Alan van der Merwe and Ian Roberts – the FIA Formula 1 medical response coordinator – as well as a local doctor, leaving one spare, in case an incident requires a racing driver to be driven back to the pit lane.

Like the safety car, the DBX also gets two dash-mounted screens to provide live race footage, plus an additional screen to read live biometric data delivered via technology in the drivers’ gloves, which in the event of an accident, provides critical information on their condition.

Both are also come with a “Marshalling System” and a rear-view camera, the former allowing both the driver and co-driver to see which colour flag is being shown on the track, by the illumination of the same coloured LED light.

The Aston Martin safety and medical cars will make their first appearance at the three-day pre-season test at Bahrain this weekend, and then again at the same venue two weeks later for the opening round of the 2021 season.