Sebastian Vettel is many things. Not only a great driver, with 4 F1 world championship titles, but a complex person as well, who cares deeply about topics of sustainability, environmental issues, LGBTQ+ community and many more. In recent years we definitely got to know the better of him in that sense, even though Vettel still stays pretty much a very private person, without any social media accounts and such.
In a recent interview with the Race, Sebastian spoke about a few of the topics that are close to his heart, especially the future of F1, the sustainability journey and LGBTQ+ community.
Vettel was asked if F1 needs to show more support towards the LGBTQ+ community, to which Sebastian is an open ally, yet F1 visits many countries where culturally the community is not accepted, is a target of hate, abuse and crimes. As an example, Vettel wore a rainbow “SAME LOVE” t-shirt and facemask during the We Race As One moment that happens before every race in Hungary, a country that despite being in the European Union has placed anti-LGBTQ+ laws in their system. That caused some stir and Vettel was reprimanded by FIA (despite standing up for an important cause and showing more human decency than some).
To the question if F1 should be more “militant” about the cause, Sebastian replied: “There are certain topics too big to neglect. We all agree – and it doesn’t matter where you come from – that it’s only fair to treat people equally. Countries have different rules in place, different governments, different backgrounds. I can’t speak for all the countries and be an expert because I don’t know.
“But there are certain countries I think are no-go. We go to some of those places and roll out a red carpet with nice messages on it. I think it takes more than just words, I think it takes actions.
You proposed [in your question] something and I don’t know what is the best way of communicating and not just relying on a flag which lies on the track for a couple of minutes, what the best action is. But certainly, I feel our sport could apply a lot of pressure and could be of immense help to spread that fairness around the globe even more.
“I think it’s not right to judge people or apply certain laws which differentiate people just because they happen to love a man instead of a woman or a woman instead of a man. That’s one thing, or the way they look, or their background or the things they believe in. I think any form of separation is wrong.
“We should be… we are so much richer because we have all that. Imagine if we were all the same. We wouldn’t progress. Imagine all the cars looked the same in F1, the same colour, the same aero bits. It would be boring and we’d never made progress. We’ve made progress because we were happy to apply different ideas, forms, cultures. Same for us. We have evolved so much as a species because we are all different and I think we should celebrate the differences rather than be afraid of it.”
Later on, Sebastian was asked about his “green activism” and if he’s afraid people will criticise him and perceive it as hypocrisy, because he races in F1. To that, he replied: “Sure and I think it’s valid because F1 is not green. We live in a time when we have innovations and possibilities to arguably make F1 green as well and not lose any of the spectacle, speed, challenge, passion. We have so many clever people and engineering power here, we could come up with solutions.
“But the current regs are very exciting, the engine is super-efficient but it’s useless, it’s not going to be an engine formula that’s going to be on the road and which is going to be in your car when you decide to buy a new car.
“Therefore, what is the relevance? There are certain things being talked about for future regulations that could shift the change into more relevant areas and if they come that’s a good thing. If they don’t come I’m not optimistic. I think F1 will disappear if they don’t come – and probably rightly so. Because we are at the stage where we know we’ve made mistakes and we have no time to keep doing mistakes.”
In relation to that, Vettel was asked if sustainable fuels are the future of the sport. Recently, F1 announced they’re aiming at creating a 100% sustainable drop-in fuel, as an addition to their goal to reach Net Zero Carbon by 2030. About that, Sebastian said: “I’m not a specialist on all the fuels but I’d rather synthetic fuels than biofuels because with biofuels it’s a bit complicated but you need to source your carbon from somewhere. I think there could be some complications there.
“It’s definitely right F1 pursues renewable fuels, a usage for synthetic fuels but as it is now we have a content of only 10% of e-fuels in the car – which is not a revolution. You have been able to buy that at fuel pumps around the world for several years.
“It doesn’t match the ambitions that F1 has to be a technological lead. We react rather than be proactive and lead the way. I’m afraid we might be doing that with synthetic fuels as the engines will be frozen after 2022.
“There is some talk something might change but frozen until 25/26, so another five years of no progress which I think will put our sport under huge pressure because in those five years I think a lot of pressure will hopefully be applied around the world and putting things under pressure which haven’t applied any change.”
Lastly, he was asked about what changes F1 needs to implement in the future, in order to be more sustainable, environmentally friendly and drive positive change in that sphere. To that, he replied: “I don’t have all the answers. But we have lots of engineers. If you look at mobility we could find a solution. We have more than 1 billion cars in the world fuelled with fossil fuels every day. Planes, trains, ships fuelled with fossil fuels. Finding a real alternative for them will have to be one of the solutions for the future other than electrifying cars of finding hydrogen powertrains or maybe something else a clever man or woman will invent in the future.
“I think F1 should be introducing synthetic fuels as soon as possible even if some of the regs are already done. We don’t have time to talk about personal interests or one manufacturer over the other and whether it has been concluded and there is a piece of paper. Because there is something much, much larger at stake and we could use our resources- intelligence of F1, all the clever people facilities and money.
“And don’t forget for the last 10 years we’ve spent a lot of money on an engine that basically has no relevance to the normal person on the road or the next generation of cars. Each manufacturer spent more than a billion developing those engines. Some of that money is around to push the right cases.
“I don’t know what the best solution is but we have to be doing it now rather than discussing it for the next five years.”
source: the race