Reigning world champion Max Verstappen wants Formula 1 to speed up its Aston Martin safety car, which he likened to a “turtle” after last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix. During the 58-lap race, the safety car was brought out on two occasions after Carlos Sainz beached his Ferrari in the gravel and Sebastian Vettel’s crash.

The motorsport currently has two safety cars – an Aston Martin Vantage and a Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series – which alternate at races, with the former being driven by former DTM racing driver Bernd Maylander at Albert Park Circuit last Sunday.

While both safety cars feature a 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8, it is the Black Series with the most power, serving up 730 PS compared to the Aston’s 535 PS. The Mercedes-AMG safety car also delivers higher levels of aerodynamic performance by comparison.

“There’s so little grip and the safety car was driving so slow, it was like a turtle. Unbelievable,” Verstappen said after the race. “To drive 140 [km/h] on the back straight, there was not a damaged car, so I don’t understand why we have to drive so slowly. We have to investigate,” he continued.

“For sure the Mercedes safety car is faster because of the extra aero, because this Aston Martin is really slow. It definitely needs more grip, because our tyres were stone cold. It’s pretty terrible the way we are driving behind the safety car at the moment,” Verstappen added.

While behind a safety car, drivers often weave their cars from side to side to try and keep their tyre temperatures at an optimal level so there’s enough grip at the restart. Verstappen took both restarts behind eventual race winner Charles Leclerc, who agreed with his 2022 rival but didn’t complain on the radio.

“To be honest it always feels too slow in the car because with those Formula 1 cars, we have so much grip and it’s very, very difficult, especially on the compound we were all on, which was the hards,” said Leclerc in a post-race interview.

“I was struggling massively to put some temperature in them, so I also struggled. To be honest, I wanted to complain, but then I checked how much the safety car was sliding in the corner and I don’t think there was anything more that he could give so I didn’t want to put too much pressure. For sure with the cars that we have now it’s very difficult to keep the temperatures in the tyres behind the safety car,” he added.

“We don’t have the issue with the Mercedes-AMG safety car. On a serious note, the Mercedes-AMG is like five seconds, a lot quicker, than the Aston Martin safety car, which is pretty substantial,” quipped Mercedes driver George Russell, who finished third after Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. “We need to put a Ferrari so it’s then five second faster than the Mercedes car,” Leclerc quipped in reply.