The four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel will retire from the sport at the end of the current season.
The 35-year-old has cited his concern over the impact that F1 has on climate change as his main reason – the German even appearing on the BBC’s Question Time earlier this year to speak of his fears and his ‘contradictory’ position.
Vettel will retire as one of the most successful drivers in the sport’s history, with only Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher wracking up more titles and wins than the Aston Martin man. He won four titles in a row with Red Bull in his halcyon days of 2010 to 2013.
But he has become increasingly environmentally-aware over the years, and after leaving Ferrari seemed more willing to speak his mind on the impact that Formula 1 has on the climate.
“It’s my passion to drive a car. Every time I step in the car, I love it,” Vettel has said. “When I get out of the car, of course I’m thinking as well: ‘Is this something we should do, travel the world, wasting resources?”
“I feel we live in very decisive times and how we all shape these next years will determine our lives. I believe in change and progress, and that every little bit makes a difference.”
Vettel has long been respected by his peers, and Hamilton – with whom he had a number of terrific battles over the years – tweeted:
Seb, it’s been an honour to call you a competitor and an ever greater honour to call you my friend. Leaving this sport better than you found it is always the goal. I have no doubt that whatever comes next for you will be exciting, meaningful, and rewarding. Love you, man. pic.twitter.com/eHVmOpov2m
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) July 28, 2022
Is Formula 1 Really Bad for the Environment?
The brains behind F1 cars have moved heaven and earth to ensure that their latest generation of vehicles boast lower emissions and enhanced eco-efficiency.
So much so that the sport has a vision of being net carbon zero by 2030, which is agreeable enough until you learn that it currently contributes 256,000 tons of CO2 emissions each season.
The other main issue is transporting drivers, staff, race day, personnel and cars to each country – the 2022 season has seen Formula 1 as a sport visit five different continents and jet back and forth between them, with Grand Prix races in Australia, Italy and the USA following one another in just a matter of weeks.
A study found that around 72% of emissions generated by F1 are simply through putting a race on – transportation and the like, and the major concern is that there are few ways that issue will be resolved until somebody invents a portal or wormhole.
Formula 1 chiefs do their best to offset their environmental carnage by embarking on tree planting missions and funding research, but they are fighting a losing battle in their quest to balance the good and the bad.
Maybe Vettel has got a point….