250th Grand Prix for Formula One safety car

Stephan Heublein

The climax of the Formula One season is upon us, and the title race is still wide open. However, it's not just the racing drivers that will enjoy a special moment on Sunday; the safety car will be celebrating a major anniversary, its 250th Grand Prix.

The first time a safety car was deployed was at Magny Cours in 1996. It was a Mercedes C36 AMG – but not just any model off the assembly line. "That was my company car," recalls Bernd Mayländer, the current regular safety car driver. The C36 AMG was issued to him in April of that year but was recalled only one month later in May: "I thought I must have done something wrong in the ITC season."