Vettel: F1 must ask itself if money comes over morals

Sebastian Vettel says Formula 1 needs to join other sports in asking itself if the chase for increased revenue should come above any concerns over its moral compass.

F1's addition of races in Saudi Arabia and Qatar has prompted renewed concerns about regimes with poor human rights records using grand prix racing as a sportswashing exercise.

However, F1 chiefs and the FIA have long argued that sports should remain neutral, and that racing in places like that can have a positive by highlighting potential issues.

But Vettel thinks there comes a point where the sport has to make a decision on morality grounds, and not just because it wants to try to increase profits.

Speaking to selected media, including Motorsport.com, in a wide-racing interview on human rights, sustainability and tolerance, Vettel said that profits should not be the sole factor in deciding where sports events are hosted.

"I think the trouble is that ultimately a sport, and it's the same as a country, is governed by individual people," he said.

"Individual people have individual opinions, and backgrounds, whatever, so it is of course difficult.

"But we have to find the perfect people to sort of govern our sport, and then apply the right path going forward.

"There's more than just that interest, there's obviously huge financial interest, in going forward. But I think at some point you need to ask your question, and people in charge need to ask themselves the question: do you have a moral?

"Do you therefore say no to certain things? Or do you just say 'yes' to any big deal that's around the corner, but for the wrong reasons?

"I think that's the bigger picture stuff that people in charge ultimately need to ask themselves."

Vettel has been a strong campaigner this year on a number of issues, including the environment and highlighting LGBT rights.

And while F1 has made a lot of its #weraceasone campaign, Vettel believes that the sport needs to put actions behind its words, and do more than a simple ceremony before every race.

"I think there are certain topics that are too big to neglect," he said. "I think we all agree that – and this doesn't matter where you come from – it's only fair to treat people equally.

"I think there are obviously countries that have different rules in place, different governments, different backgrounds.

"Now, I can't speak for all the countries and be an expert, because I don't know. But obviously there's certain aspects in certain countries that I think I know about.

"We go to some of those places, and we roll out a huge carpet with nice messages on it. But I think it takes more than just words, I think it takes actions."

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Asked if F1 should be more militant, Vettel said: "I don't know what exactly is the best way to not just communicate on a flag that lies on the track for a couple of minutes.

"But certainly I feel that our sport could apply a lot of pressure and could be of immense help to spread that fairness around the globe even more.

"Because in the end, I think it's not right to judge people or to apply certain laws and to differentiate people just because they happen to love a man instead of a woman or a woman instead of a man.

"I think any form of separation is wrong. Imagine we would all be the same, I think we wouldn't progress.

"I mean, imagine all the cars would look the same in Formula 1. It would be boring: not just the same colour, but also the same aero bits. Now going more into our language, it would be absolutely boring, we would never make progress.

"And the same goes for us. I think we have evolved so much as human species, because we are all different in a way, and I think we should celebrate the difference, rather than be afraid of it."

shares
comments
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

Previous article

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

Next article

Ricciardo won’t let Turkish GP setback derail McLaren F1 momentum

Ricciardo won’t let Turkish GP setback derail McLaren F1 momentum
Load comments
Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Prime

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. Kevin Turner looks back at the life of Switzerland's first F1 winner on the 50th anniversary of his death

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Prime

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Prime

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

Formula 1
Oct 20, 2021
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Prime

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Tim Wright.

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Prime

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? Stuart Codling talks to the man in charge.

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021