F1: Vettel insists he can win races at Aston Martin
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Outspoken F1 star Sebastian Vettel has questioned the sport’s decisions to allow certain nations to host Grand Prix, suggesting that some of the money F1 receives is “not very pure”. The German’s words come as, after trips to Mexico and Brazil, the sport heads to the Middle East for the final three rounds of the 2021 calendar.
Two of those races will be in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, two countries whose regimes have come in for criticism over their respective human rights records.
News that Qatar would host an F1 race for the first time ever this year led to Amnesty International urging drivers to speak out about sportswashing.
Vettel, who has rarely shied away from speaking publicly about societal issues, seems to have answered that call.
Asked about the issue, the German said he understands that the sport wants and needs to make the money being offered by these countries, but would like morals to be a bigger part of the equation for future decisions.
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“There’s a lot of countries where we go to and a lot of money, in a way, that we receive that maybe it’s not very pure,” he told the New York Times.
“It’s a difficult thing to get into, obviously. Some countries are better off than others in this respect.
“I think, in a way, it’s wrong we go to certain places because then if you had morals, then you would just say no.
“But obviously, financially, I can see there’s a huge incentive for Formula 1 as a business to go there.”
Vettel, like everyone else in the paddock, has little to no say as to where they race year after year – those deals are brokered by those who run the sport.
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But, as the faces of F1, the German says it is the drivers and the teams who are put into a difficult position when they have to travel to and compete in certain countries.
“Where does it leave the mechanics, the engineers, the drivers?” the Aston Martin star asked.
“Where does it leave the people employed by a team to do a job that they willingly do, and it’s not their choice or their decision where to practice that job? I think it’s a difficult one.
“As a broader organisation, I think it’s to do with the responsibility that we have to, overall, just grow in awareness and consciousness that we have a responsibility with our actions.
“Whether that is hosting a Formula 1 event, whether that is running a company, whether that is selling a product.
“I think we need to start facing more the consequences of our actions and take on that responsibility.”
Vettel has made a name for himself in recent times as someone who is not afraid to publicly stand against things he believes are wrong.
He incurred the wrath of the Hungarian government earlier this season by wearing rainbow clothing in Budapest in protest of a planned new anti-LGBTQ+ law.
And instead of baking banana bread and doing Joe Wicks workouts, he spent lockdown in 2020 working on an internship with a bio-farm which works to create safe habitats for bees.
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