Safety car driver admits huge issue nearly occurred

Safety Car driver Bernd Maylander has made a surprising admission about an incident that almost occurred.

Safety Car driver Bernd Maylander incredibly, and slightly worryingly, revealed that the pace car nearly ran out of fuel 16 years ago, at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Back in 2007, the Japanese GP was taking place not at Suzuka, but in Fuji, after the latter had undergone a redesign.

The race was won by rookie at the time Lewis Hamilton, in what was one of the wettest races in Formula 1 history.

Seven drivers retired with multiple crashes having taken place, with the likes of Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber having all retired.

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Because the conditions were so bad, the Safety Car was required for several laps, to the point where Maylander noticed something very concerning.

Maylander noticed that the Safety Car was close to running out of fuel, something he informed the deputy race director at the time about.

It was getting to the point where Maylander was wondering whether he’d need to enter the pits and swap to a Safety Car with fuel; however, he was called into the pits not long after informing the deputy race director of the situation.

Maylander was back out on track moments later though, after Alonso crashed.

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It gave him a time though, to change cars.

”It was a new track and I had never been in Fuji before,” Maylander revealed on the F1 Nation podcast.

“It was horrible weather on Sunday. We were not even sure we could start the race and I get deployed we did a couple of laps get a feeling and already my co-driver Peter Tibbetts said ‘We are doing a lot of laps.’

“I said ‘We have to keep an eye on the fuel’ and I saw it was less than half [left] and I said to deputy race director Herbie Blash on the radio, ‘How many laps do we have to go?’ and he said ‘Let’s see the weather is still bad.’

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“I said, ‘Just for your info I think after five or six laps we are running out of fuel.

”Luckily, they told us the safety car is in next lap [and] we tried to start for a regular start. I informed the team we [need to] swap for a spare car, we ran down the pit-lane for our parking position.

“Then Lewis or Fernando crashed in turn five or six and that was the next safety car. I was on the track again so luckily I was on the track for five or six laps and everything was saved.”