FEBRUARY 14, 2022
Vettel admits environmental hypocrisy
Outspoken environmentalist Sebastian Vettel has acknowledged the "extreme dichotomy" of wearing the name of the world's biggest oil company on his chest and Formula 1 car in 2022.
Aston Martin has sealed a massive title sponsorship deal with Aramco - the state owned Saudi oil giant Aramco - at precisely the same time as quadruple world champion Vettel is predicting the demise of the industry.
"Fossil fuels will die out - hopefully very soon," he told Radaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland.
Vettel, 34, said companies like Aramco need to "ask themselves how they want to shape the future".
"It can be an opportunity," he also told the German broadcaster RTL. "More needs to be done, new paths need to be explored."
As for his own personal situation, Vettel admitted the "extreme dichotomy" of simultaneously representing the world's biggest oil giant whilst maintaining his anti-fossil fuel stance.
When asked if that is a dilemma, he added: "That's right.
"None of this is happening fast enough for me," said Vettel when contemplating the next steps for the energy industry and planet.
"We have to tackle the problems now and find solutions. Formula 1 offers so many opportunities to point the way to the future of mobility, but it's true that the different interests stand in each other's way.
"The goal must therefore be to bring about as much change as possible from within. The pressure from the outside is growing and Formula 1 will be in trouble if it doesn't adapt."
As for Aston Martin's massive Aramco deal, Vettel insisted that it was "not my decision".
"But it's a good thing that these questions are asked," he said. "I know that my job is not very environmentally conscious and not very sustainable, so I don't see myself as a role model in that respect."
Rather, he sees himself as a single voice to "inspire and convince as many people as possible that we can shape a better future".
Vettel, and his teammate Lance Stroll, have now taken Aston Martin's 2022 car for its maiden runs at Silverstone.
Eagle-eyed technical experts are not sure what to think of the Mercedes-powered car. "The Aston Martin looks really ugly," well-known F1 technical analyst Giorgio Piola commented.
Aston Martin technical boss Andy Green commented: "We designed the concept so that we can react quickly.
"For example, we designed the radiators so that we can change the shape of the sidepods at any time. I expect the cars to converge faster than usual in terms of design," he added.