Sebastian Vettel says he regularly questions his position in Formula 1 as his status as a racer makes him a hypocrite when it comes to pushing for sustainable energy solutions.
The Aston Martin driver has been an advocate for changes to behavior when it comes to social and environmental issues, highlighting the danger Miami is in from rising ocean levels by wearing a t-shirt at last weekend’s race. Appearing on BBC TV’s “Question Time” show in the UK, Vettel spoke about a variety of challenges the world is facing and was then pushed on whether he found it difficult to comment on such matters when he travels around the world to race in F1.
“It’s true, it does (make me a hypocrite),” Vettel said. “You’re right when you laugh because there are questions I ask myself every day. I’m not a saint, in terms of I’m very concerned when it comes to the future — so these topics when it comes to energy, energy dependence and where we’re going in the future…. We need to stop being dependent and we can, because there are solutions in place.
“In Britain you have this sort of gold mine you are sitting on which is wind, and you have the ability to increase energy supply with wind power, solar. Every country has its strengths and weaknesses — if you go to Austria they have the Alps, they have water — they can pump it up, store it and get it back down.
“It is true. It’s something that I’m asking myself (if I should be racing in Formula 1) and traveling the world. There are certain things that are in my control, and certain things are not. It’s my passion to drive a car — I love it. Every time I step in the car, I love it. When I get out of the car, of course I’m thinking as well, ‘Is this something that we should do? Travel the world, wasting resources?’”
However, Vettel said criticism about the impact F1 has needs to be balanced against the positive aspects of the sport and what it means to people around the world.
“On the other hand we are entertaining people. During COVID we were one of the first sports to start again and when everybody’s heads were about to explode there were Formula 1 races back on.
“I’m not saying Formula 1 has this huge position in the world to deliver entertainment — there are plenty of people if you talk about entertainment, sports, culture, comedy… A lot of people couldn’t perform and a lot of people missed that. I think if we didn’t have that in general we would probably go mad.
“But there’s a lot of these questions that I ask myself; there are things that I do because I feel I can do them better. Do I need to take a plane every time? No, not when I can take the car. But there’s certain things in my control and certain things outside my control.”