Bernd Maylander has been leading a faceless life for the last 13 years. He enjoys the responsibility entrusted upon him and draws satisfaction from the fact that nothing major has happened during his tenure as the safety car driver in Formula One races.
The 41-year-old German, a former race driver, understands that his slow pace might have frustrated many drivers during the races, but it is not something that bothers him too much. “It is not a matter of the safety of the drivers, but the spectators, marshals and everybody involved. Safety is paramount,” said Maylander on Thursday, while interacting with the media ahead of the Indian Grand Prix.
Maylander, who drives the safety car in order to limit the pace of the competing cars in case of a caution period (such as heavy rain or accident), said maintaining his focus in adverse situations was crucial.
“I am always ready in the car, with the seat belt on…I have to be focused on my job. It is always a step forward.”
Looks quite slow
Maylander was amused that his car, an SLS AMG with a capacity of touching 250km per hour, had to play the role of limiting the pace of a race. “On television, it looks quite slow. The car has radio system and monitors to get a hang of things and communicate. Communication is so important here,” he said. Maylander drew satisfaction from the remarkable job he did during the rain-affected 2007 Japanese Grand Prix, the 2010 Korean GP and the 2011 Canadian GP. Promoting the International Automobile Federation (FIA) Action for Road Safety, Maylander said safe driving should not be limited to races only.
“We have to remember some simple rules to increase road safety. They are belt up, respect the highway code, obey the speed limit, check tyres, drive sober, protect children, pay attention, stop when tired, wear a helmet, and be courteous and considerate,” said Maylander.