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F1’s Sebastian Vettel Calls Out Growing Climate Crisis Ahead of Miami Grand Prix

MIAMI—Sebastian Vettel used his platform ahead of the Miami Grand Prix to highlight a growing worldwide concern: climate change. 

For the Opening Party on Wednesday, the Aston Martin driver wore a shirt that read “Miami 2060 - 1st Grand Prix Underwater - Act Now or Swim Later.” 

When asked if the message was addressed to politicians, Vettel said to Sky Sports F1, “No, it’s not a political message. I’m not a politician; I don’t want to be political. I think it’s a very human message.

“I think it’s great that we have a race [in Miami]. There’s great people here, and it’s very exciting, the coming weekend. But, I find it alarming and I’m surprised that we go to a place that is not going to be there in 50 years time, and everybody acts and carries on as business as usual. That’s very disturbing to me.”

Vettel is right—there is a risk of the area going underwater in the coming years due to climate change. According to an analysis from Climate Central ahead of 2020’s Super Bowl LIV in Miami, flooding of more than six feet over the high-tide line has the potential to fill Hard Rock Stadium with a foot and a half of water. This would include the new track surrounding the stadium. The flood event could occur “through a combination of sea level rise, tide, and storm surge,” the report stated. In a 2019 report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it is projected that the sea level surrounding southeast Florida will rise by two-and-a-half feet by 2060. 

Hard Rock Stadium rests less than 10 feet above sea level. 

“The situation is very, very serious,” Vettel said to Sky Sports. “Obviously, I wanted to express my feelings with the T-shirt, and rather than just drawing a dark cloud or bad scenario, I thought I’d do it in a way that people understand and can maybe relate to. 

“It’s really just what I feel. It’s not trying to take a political stand. Sometimes the truth isn’t very nice, but it’s still worth spreading if it’s so serious and it will impact on so many people, especially those people who cannot afford to maybe start over new. It should show us that we are in trouble, and we need to act now. Otherwise, there will be a lot of suffering.” 

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