MONZA, Italy, Sep 4 – Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel said Friday that Formula One must “act responsibly” over the environment if the sport wants to remain relevant.
“I think this sport has some big challenges ahead,” the Ferrari driver told a video news conference ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
“Obviously, the whole situation with the pandemic around the world doesn’t help, but nevertheless, there are some big questions to be answered for the future to make sure that this sport is still around in years to come.
“With where the world is going, there are big things that we need to tackle. We need to address (them) and Formula One is, maybe, not at the forefront of this.
“We can do better than what we’re currently doing.
“Looking after the world, the environment, I think there’s some interesting aspects that we are trying to fulfil or achieve, but I think F1 has to do more and be a bit more open and tolerant.
“Otherwise… it could get difficult in the future.”
– Environmental concern –
The 33-year-old German, who won successive world titles from 2010 to 2013, said F1 should be “setting examples rather than reacting to pressure from the outside” when it came to cleaning up its environmental performance.
“As a global sport, we should act responsibly,” he said.
“When it comes to the environment, obviously we are driving around the weekend in cars, we’re burning fuel which is probably a very small amount of the total energy, or total carbon footprint, if you want to talk in CO2 terms. But still I think we need to be setting the right example, not just in our carbon footprint, but also on other things.
“Every little bit makes a difference. The amount of plastic bottles we consume during the weekend, I think there are solutions to that.
“How we power some panels in the paddock, there are solutions to that.
“We should be at the forefront in pushing developments rather than using a convenient and cheap way in order to make things work and easy.
“F1 is obviously the pinnacle of motorsports when it comes to development of the cars, but I think it doesn’t just stop there.
“When you talk about the cars, I think there’s more that can be done in order to have greater relevance for the future.”
– ‘Very open’ with Ferrari –
Vettel added that he remained ‘very open’ with Ferrari despite knowing he is in his last season with the team and is, this weekend, racing for them at Monza for the last time.
“I don’t feel pushed out,” he said. “We’re very open, also vocal, and when something is not right – and that’s for Charles (Leclerc) and myself -– if I get asked, I would answer. And if I don’t get asked, I might say it, nevertheless.
“I’m open, I’m here to do my job until the end of the year.
“I enjoy racing and I want to make sure I can get out of the car at the end of the year knowing that I’ve done everything I can to put all the things together, that mattered, to get the best result.”
He admitted, too, that this weekend will be very tough for the team as they compete with a car that is down on power and overall performance compared to the leading teams.
“We’re here to fight and we’re here to fight for the tifosi as well and we are doing the utmost we can,” he said.
“But expectations are always a big word, especially here in Monza, so it will be very difficult this year.”