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Sebastian Vettel Says Energy Crisis Makes Him Question Racing in F1

In a wide-ranging interview on BBC’s Question Time, Sebastian Vettel said that the global energy crisis makes him question whether competing in Formula One, as well as traveling the world, is the right thing for him to do.

“There’s certain things that are in my control, and certain things are not,” the four-time world champion said. “It’s my passion to drive a car. I love it. Every time I step in the car, I love it.

“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?’”

His appearance on the show marks the first time an active Formula One driver has joined the panel and it comes after he called out the growing crisis prior to the Miami Grand Prix. For the Opening Party last Wednesday, the Aston Martin driver wore a shirt that read “Miami 2060 - 1st Grand Prix Underwater - Act Now or Swim Later.”

The 34-year-old said on the BBC program that he asks himself questions “every day” about protecting the planet, adding that he’s “not a saint.” 

“On energy, we need to stop being dependent [on fossil fuels], and we can, because there are solutions in place,” Vettel continued. “You know, in Britain, you have this sort of gold mine you’re sitting on, which is wind, and you have the ability to increase your energy supply with wind power, solar.

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And although motorsports is widely criticized for its impact on the environment, Vettel does defend Formula One by adding that it has had a positive impact on society, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We were one of the first sports to start again. When everybody’s heads were about to explode, there were Formula One races back on” he said. “I’m not saying Formula One has this huge position in the world to deliver entertainment. There’s plenty of people—if you talk about entertainment, sports, culture, comedy—a lot of people who couldn’t perform, and a lot of people missed that. And I think if we didn’t have that, in general, we’d probably go mad.”

Vettel discussed ways how he is combatting the energy crisis and climate change in ways he can control, such as taking a car versus an airplane when he can. 

Sustainability is one of the main pillars on Formula One’s plans for the future with the aim to go net-zero carbon by 2030. The sport already launched a hybrid engine in the cars with better thermal efficiency, meaning less fuel is used. Thermal efficiency is essentially the amount of energy needed to power an engine, in this case. 

As of its announcement in late 2021, Formula One is planning to not only introduce a new engine but also convert to 100% sustainable fuel in ’25.  

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