Mercedes has exclusively provided the official F1 safety car since 1996, starting out originally with a Mercedes-AMG C36 and currently using a Mercedes-AMG GT R.

While the German car manufacturer has been fully committed up until now, discussions are underway about a revised deal for 2021, when a new Concorde Agreement comes in.

Although it is understood that no final decision has been made, sources have revealed that it is looking increasingly likely that Mercedes will step back from being the sole safety car supplier.

It will continue to play a major role – which will include providing F1's medical car - but talks are ongoing about a revised arrangement that will likely result in the safety car responsibilities being shared with Aston Martin.

Such a change of deal, that could see the safety car use split evenly between the two car manufacturers across the season, would help share the financial burden between the two companies as F1 expands to a 23-race schedule.

Mercedes and Aston Martin have become increasingly close over the past 12 months, having reached deals on shareholding agreements and closer technical cooperation.

It was recently announced that Mercedes will increase its stake in Aston Martin to 20%, while also giving access to a range of its technologies – including powertrain and electric/electronic architecture.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff also has a private shareholding in Aston Martin, and is close friend with the car manufacturer owner Lawrence Stroll.

Next year, Aston Martin is returning to F1 with its own works team, as it takes over the naming rights for the Racing Point outfit.

Stroll wants to use the marketing benefits of the sport to help boost Aston Martin's road car sales as it embarks on an ambitious renewal of its operations following some difficult years.

The current Mercedes safety car is the fastest in the sport's history, having been upgraded from the start of the 2018 season.

Its 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo engine produces 585hp and it can reach a top speed of 198mph. The safety car is driven by Bernd Maylander.

The Mercedes medical car is an AMG C 63 S Estate, which is driven by Alan van der Merwe.

An Aston Martin spokesperson told “It’s Aston Martin’s policy not to comment on speculation. As a manufacturer we are extremely excited and focused on our imminent return to Formula 1 as a full works team, for the first time in more than 60 years, in 2021.”