Greenpeace target Shell with Belgian GP protest

2013 Belgian Grand Prix

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Greenpeace disrupted activities at the Belgian Grand Prix as they sought to draw attention to race sponsor Shell’s drilling practices.

Protesters unrolled a large banner in the main grandstand opposite the pits in the build-up to the race. Others were deployed by remote control during the podium ceremony, as shown in the video above.

According to the environmental organisation, two members of their 35-strong team were arrested after “subverting” a Shell advertising board at the Radillon corner. Other banners were displayed by paragliders before the start of the race.

Julia Ritschard of Swiss group said: “Shell has spent millions on this event, hoping to ride on the glory of the drivers and pretend it’s a company worthy of a spot on the podium.”

“But Shell has proven time and again that it will cut the most dangerous corners in the race to drill for oil as the Arctic ice melts away. So I’m here to let Formula One fans know what this company is really up to and make sure the truth of what Shell is doing in the Arctic is part of today’s race.”

2013 Belgian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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162 comments on “Greenpeace target Shell with Belgian GP protest”

  1. A worthy cause but don’t think this will have gained them any supporters, it was a bit silly and potentially dangerous, but they have brought the issue to peoples attention.

    1. How is fiddling with an advertising hoarding dangerous?

      The drivers don’t slow down around the track to see if any of the sponsors have any money saving offers on…

      1. @hairs I saw an article about it on pitpass that said they had flown microlights into the circuit which would have prevented the medical helicopter from taking off.

          1. @zippyone Link doesn’t work for me. But as I understand the stuff with the microlights happened before the race so it’s hard to see how anyone was put at risk.

          2. @zippyone Were they even microlights? I’ve seen video of them paragliding down.

          3. @keithcollantine @bascb I was not there, just repeating what I heard, silly of me really.

            By the way, I fully support Greenpeace, I am actually a member of Greenpeace. However I was concerned that this stunt would give them bad publicity but I suppose any publicity on the matter is good. I am an active environmentalist, and am nearing the completion of my Environmental Science degree , as well as a major F1 fanatic!

        1. Well, @zippyone pitpass would say that, given that they eat out of bernies hand, wouldn’t they?

          I think that being gutsy in their actions is exactly what got Greenpeace support in the first place when they started out fighting whaling and nuclear experiments!

    2. I feel you don’t necessarily need to support Greenpeace on this. Shell is on one side of the spectrum, and Greenpeace definitely on the other side. But what they did do was raise public awareness. Shell has been doing a very good job of keeping this out of the media, and FOM has been doing a good job keeping this Greenpeace action out of the media. But if they can reach only 1% of the people who follow Formula 1, it might make a difference.

      I was reading the intro of Grand Prix Plus, and I couldn’t disagree more. They bash Greenpeace for using a sporting event to convey a political message. But they completely ignore the fact that all those sponsors also use the sport to convey their message (albeit not a political one). Everyone will want to use an event like this for something due to the media coverage, whether it be political or to get customers.

      @keithcollantine thank you for spending some attention to this instead of pretending it never happened.

      1. Nigelstash (@)
        25th August 2013, 21:25

        But I disagree that Shell’s message isn’t political. The advertising at an f1 event may be straightforward but taken as a whole, Shell are like all big companies – they claim to be environmentally aware when it suits them but their actions suggest profit is their only motive.

      2. @mowgli Well said. Good job @keithcollantine, as always keeping us informed.

      3. @mowgli +1 – Well said. I also appreciate that @keithcollantine reported this.

        Also, @nigelstash has the right idea. You cannot differentiate between political messages and those which seek to raise awareness or advertise. All public discourse is inherently political and I have absolutely no problem with Greenpeace’s actions. In fact, I think that such organizations should do more to peacefully confront companies such as Shell at events like these.

      4. +1 I’m glad this site sees fit to tell us all the news. I never would’ve found out about this otherwise.

      5. @mowgli

        I was reading the intro of Grand Prix Plus, and I couldn’t disagree more. They bash Greenpeace for using a sporting event to convey a political message.

        I can’t fathom such a naive point of view. From government-funded driver sponsorship programmes to races paid for with public money, you’d be hard pressed to find a more political sport than Formula One.

        Whenever someone trots out the “sport shouldn’t be used for politics” line we should recognise it for what it really is: the author is actually saying “sport shouldn’t be used for the kind of politics I disagree with“.

        For the record, I’m somewhat ambivalent and uninformed about the issue of Arctic drilling, though less now than I was 24 hours ago!

        Anyway, thanks for the positive feedback everyone.

        1. Saward and Tremayne appear to specialize in naive points of view on political matters. Their pronouncements regarding Bahrain last year were an embarrassment to F1 journalism. (see ).

          1. @jonathan189

            Saward’s coverage of this issue is equally naive and misinformed.

        2. From government-funded driver sponsorship programmes to races paid for with public money, you’d be hard pressed to find a more political sport than Formula One.
          Whenever someone trots out the “sport shouldn’t be used for politics” line we should recognise it for what it really is: the author is actually saying “sport shouldn’t be used for the kind of politics I disagree with“.
          For the record, I’m somewhat ambivalent and uninformed about the issue of Arctic drilling, though less now than I was 24 hours ago!

          I am 101% with Keith on this.

      6. One might argue that if Greenpeace wished to use the grand prix as a means to get their message across similar to Shell and other big multinats, then they can pay for the banner advertising like everyone else.

        1. Why would you do that. Nobody would have given a ****. Look how much people are talking about this! this would a very successful campaign to make people look at Shell and recognise what an irresponsible operator they are, in an irresponsible industry.

      7. @mowgli @keithcollantine Moreover, politicians often present trophies on the podium and use the races to promote themselves, not only their countries. And no one is preventing drivers from issuing political statements, just look at Maldonado’s active support for Venezuela’s governing party.

      8. @keithcollantine, thank you for the facilitating this thread. This is why I come back to F1 Fanatic because I can always count on a reasonable perspective and thoughtful discussion from you and other readers. My view of the whole affair is that Greenpeace made a peaceful demonstration that did not put anyone in danger. They got their message out in front of a wide audience and did not have to run onto the track with a placard to do so. Sure, it was censored on TV, but these days fans follow the Internet as well so I’m sure it got plenty of attention.

        As an aside, I’ve been wanting to support Grand Prix Plus because I hear it’s high quality and insightful, but it’s their positions on such matters that keeps me from subscribing.

    3. I was worried that they were going to try to disrupt the race itself – which would have been extremely dangerous – but in the end their protest consisted of banners which highlighted their cause, made their point and put nobody in any harm. Not that I agree with them but they made their point and drew huge attention to their cause.

      A pretty effective protest in my view….

      The only worrying point was the lack of security. Apparently they ‘planted’ these devices weeks ago and were able to microlight over the circuit, and it seemed to take the police the entire race to get them down. What if, rather than simple protesters, they had been people intent on causing disruption, violence and terrorism ??? The lack of security was very very worrying.

      1. @marlarkey

        The only worrying point was the lack of security. Apparently they ‘planted’ these devices weeks ago and were able to microlight over the circuit, and it seemed to take the police the entire race to get them down. What if, rather than simple protesters, they had been people intent on causing disruption, violence and terrorism ??? The lack of security was very very worrying.

        Very true, especially in the context of Bahrain.

        1. if Greenpeace can get banners on the podium, F1 is not safe in Bahrain. Even the drivers.

          1. Agreed… or in many other venues… however I imagine that security in many of the ‘dodgier’ venues is more secure than at Spa…

            This was a major security failure in my view

      1. Great entertainment value, when i watched the race on German TV, I thought they were booing Vettel, turns out is was either the security guys or some crazy lady, lol

    4. Not sure I agree about the dangerous part (beyond the inherent danger in paragliding and stomping about on a grandstand roof) but certainly agree with silly.

      I’ll refrain from commenting on the worthiness or righteousness of the cause, but personally stunts like this will never change my mind over anything. What does it prove? That they can come up with a clever logo of a polar bear and Shell logo.


      But wait! The little devil horn! Shell are clearly evil!

      Pfft, if you want to convince me of your stand point, give me the relevant information, point out facts that might not be immediately obvious, then leave me to make my own mind up.

      What will not work for me is a PR stunt like this. It just lowers what is otherwise a serious debate to the level of attention seeking children.

      I am aware that I don’t speak for everyone who views that and that these views won’t be shared by everyone (or, indeed, perhaps anyone) but if an organisation wants to be taken seriously by me, then they need to treat me like an adult.

      1. “Pfft, if you want to convince me of your stand point, give me the relevant information, point out facts that might not be immediately obvious, then leave me to make my own mind up.”

        They gave you a link:

        I haven’t read much from it, but it looks quite informative to me. Many people had no idea about what’s going on up there whatsoever. I guess now a lot more do… Get reading brother.

        1. And that link is on my reading list. But for me the rest of the stunt looks childish and will only serve to put me off their message.

          1. Would you even be aware of their message otherwise?

          2. I totally agree with you that generally I am more open to a message when talked to rather than shouted at but the problem with companies such as shell is they spent insane amount of money keeping this information out of the mainstream press cycle. Even you pointing out why this type of message does not work for you intellectually benefits the message Greenpeace is trying to get across, which is merely awareness of this issue. Shock value is cheap, but when done properly is good value.

            Unless you look for this type of stuff, you’re not likely to come across it. I tend to wonder around slightly more ‘subversive’ sources for information rather than the pr mill we call news, but this hadn’t gotten to my attention. Had Greenpeace been handing out understated, informative pamphlets I doubt the message would have left the circuit.

            In any case, you have to give them credit for the remotely controlled rising banners on the podium. That was adorable.

  2. I gotta admit that I kinda like that the angle is against Shell only and not Formula 1. Quite different compared to other places.

    1. I’m just happy they didn’t disrupt the race itself. Good on them!

      1. I agree. I really appreciate how Keith hasn’t tried to cover this up, as evidenced by people not knowing about it from watching the race on TV.

        Hiding things like that shows you that F1 management is the censoring, propaganda mouthpiece for whoever pays them.

        1. Sorry, Keith hasn’t, as others have, including unsurprisingly the official news and footage.

      2. Exactly, really nicely executed action to let the racing have its course, but point to niggling isues!

    2. I like the fact they’re protesting drilling for oil in what is essentially, a barren wasteland and not Formula 1 and the support paddock burning a shed load of fossil fuels and releasing a massive amount of CO2 etc into the atmosphere. @jp1987
      As long as they take reasonable precautions, there should be no oil spills and the disruption to the local wildlife should be minimal and have no lasting impact.
      The World runs on oil, and we need to get it from somewhere.

      1. And when the oil runs out we can design cars that run on the tears of Panda Bears!!

        1. @hellotraverse I’m sure the pandas will be gone before the oil is.

      2. @xjr15jaaag I see what you are saying. However, if they directed their protests to groups akin to them they would have no impact. As the old saying goes, they would be “preaching to the choir”.

        On the other hand, I am afraid we might have a more fundamental disagreement about the topic in hand today. You seem to be satisfied with the prospect of drilling for oil in the Arctic, or as you describe it “a barren wasteland”. I personally believe our efforts should not be directed at drilling on the last wilderness of the world but as to reduce our thirst for oil. In other words, ending the fact that “World runs on oil” :)

      3. @xjr15jaaag
        First of all, Formula 1 really isn’t “releasing a massive amount of CO2” and is not the cause of global air pollution. Many human activities are, but F1 is not even a blip on the radar, although I’m glad that the sport starts to promote lower carbon emissions. It’s mostly a PR move, but it’s a good move.

        Oil companies on the other hand don’t take “reasonable precautions”. They take absolutely minimal precautions, necessary for running the business. That’s why every few years we have oil spills, or we hear about people dying on oil platforms. It’s cheaper to “lobby” (we should really say “bribe”) politicians and make them pass laws allowing for self-regulation and no external oversight.

        Also, the Arctic is far from a “barren wasteland”. It’s a rich and quite important ecosystem inhabited by many species of fish, marine mammals, birds, land animals and plants. Reckless destruction of the Arctic reminds me of reckless destruction of our Oceans. In 50 years we’ve lost more than 90 percent of the big fish, but hey, who cares. It’s just a big underwater wasteland and it doesn’t really concern us. Right?

        1. @maroonjack You sir, just won the internet

        2. But it’s not like oil drilling can’t be done in a safe way though; who’s to say that Shell isn’t drilling in a safe way which doesn’t disrupt the surrounding wildlife already?

          1. @xjr15jaaag buddy maybe you should do a bit of research in order to understand the issue better. I am sure once you do, your opinion will change. There is no way to drill oil out of the ground without causing some form of disruption to the wildlife. These protestors are bringing to our attention the fact that Shell could be doing something to mitigate that disruption but have elected not to simply to save on costs and get more profits. While you or me will never see a penny of this profit, we (and our children) will feel the effects on the environment caused by them not taking the appropriate measures to protect the environment.

          2. Given that they ran their arctic drilling rig into the ground once already this year, I think it might be reasonable to conclude they could be drilling in a safer fashion than they currently are.

          3. It can be done, but its more expensive that way @xjr15jaag, so oil companies try to avoid it.

            And the arctic is not only a very vital ecosystem, the fact its cold waters, also means its quite fragile.

        3. @maroonjack – It’s also worth noting that Formula 1 has often been used to develop new technologies that find their way into road cars. And because it’s a competitive environment, those technologies get developed faster than they would if car manufacturers were trying to make them in their own. Next year’s engine regulations, with their emphasis on fuel efficiency and energy recovery systems, is a prime examp if this. I imagine that organisations like Greenpeace would know and hopefully appreciate this.

          They’re not radical environmentalists who want everyone to live in trees on a vegan diet – they’re just opposed to destructive drilling practices.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys, may I quote you on this the next time we are discussing the lack of development allowed in F1 since the V10 became mandatory.
            Oh! and of course I agree entirely.

          2. @hohum – Of course.

            People like to complain that the FIA likes to stamp out innovation and technical development. Now, I don’t know about you, but when I look at the technical regulations, I see the requirements for kinetic and thermal energy recovery systems, and the need for engines that last longer and use less fuel whilst still producing the same amount of power as the current engines, and I think that’s going to be pretty innovative. It’s going to require some pretty sophisticated engineering just to make it work. A screaming V12 might sound nice, but this is some pretty exciting stuff.

      4. Right. The oli companies will make sure they do it right and not harm the environment. You are either VERY young, VERY unimformed, or don not understand that oil companies would love to see the artic melt completely away – easier drilling more profits, while sea levels rise, currents and jet streams change and WE and all animal life suffer. But we” still need their oil, eh? They know this.

      5. Shell’s practises are not environmentally sound is controlled conditions, and that’s why they are even more questionable in the Arctic. Further, do you realise they are pumping hot water onto the ice sheets to speed up melt so they can access the drilling site. If the ice-caps aren’;t melting fast enough already, try turning on the hot water. If they have a spill (which is almost inevitable, given their previous record) clean-up and containment will be almost certainly a disaster, as they are pioneering in regions where no testing has ever been performed. SEE the risk that they are taking and assess it for yourself. Tell your local MP that you want it stopped.
        Drilling in the arctic by ANYONE is a disaster waiting to happen! It’s not worth it!

        1. Thank you for these links, because Greenpeace’s website ( contains exactly zero information on what Shell’s dangerous drilling practices actually are.

      6. Unfortunately, Shell have proven themselves to be quite IRRESPONSIBLE in the matter of where and how they drill for oil. Their technology is over 40 years old, they have lost control of a drilling rig off Kodiak Island and their method for getting to the spots they want to drill is to pump hot water onto the ice sheets.

    3. Man, I’m yet to visit the web site but in one word: EPIC.

    4. A few years ago a mining company wanted to build a port in Western Australia. They spent about AUD80,000,000 (about Vettels helmet budget) on a 3 month environmental study. They concluded that there was lots of common dolphins of various sizes and there would be little impact. A biologist read the report and thought that it was nice that a large mining company wanted to put the environment before profits. Actually he thought he should take a holiday to the area to see what 80million buys. Well he found a new pygmy dolphin which has never been documented that is only found in that small area.

  3. Massive applause for choosing to make this into an article and not ignoring it, Keith.

    I don’t like Greenpeace, because the causes they are fighting for are absolutely right, but the extreme means (like for instance Rainbow Warrior and Sea Shepherd) don’t justify that. If you really want to make a change, go into politics, don’t climb onto an F1 podium.

    In a way, I think there will be a big smirk on their faces after this, considering their protest was the only memorable thing from this race.

    1. @andae23 – Sea Shepherd used to be a part if Greenpeace, but they are their own organisation now. I think they’re a little too extreme for Greenpeace’s liking, particularly in their methods. It’s a wonder they haven’t gotten anyone killed.

      1. @prisoner-monkeys Didn’t know that, thanks

        1. @andae23 – Greenpeace have never liked any protest that could result in violence. In 1985, the French security services, the DGSE, blew up their flagship, the “Rainbow Warrior”, when it was anchored in Auckland harbour while Greenpeace were protesting French nuclear testing in the South Pacific. They’ve been careful to avoid violence or being associated with it ever since. So when the Sea Shepherd is ramming Japanese whaling vessels a thousand kilometres from anywhere and in the middle of some of the most dangerous seas on the planet, Greenpeace’s stance is understandable.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys I know they are very violence-reluctant, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think their methods are extreme (too extreme imo).

  4. Shell is drilling for oil in the artic?

    1. No, no, no, in the aRctic.

      1. No, no, no, in the arCtic.

  5. Same Question here… Shell is drilling for oil in the artic ? IF so @Greenpeace has brought the subject to the word attention. I thought that the Alaska and the Canadian Oil Sands were the final frontiers on the north for Oil !!!

    @KeithCollantine thanks for bringing in the article on the topic. Atleast makes us fans understand the nuances a little better. Felt Sorry for Vettel and the others on podium as the Boos were creating a wrong perception !!!!! With Spa being so close to Germany, i was under the assumption that a lot of German fans would be coming in to watch the race. It was kind of Surprising to hear the boos in such a scenarios. This explains better !!!!!

    I think in the next Decade Formula 1 should Move into Formula Electric or Formula Solar !!!!!

    1. Yes.. They are… and they are using 40 year old technology which is proven to fail in ‘known’ environments. People only take photos of the arctic when it’s placid, calm and beautiful – but it is a hell of a place to have an oil rig and it’s occupants survive when it gets rough…. which is most of the year.

  6. Just to show those fools at Greenpeace what I think of them and their antics I went out and filled up my truck with 40 gallons of premium Shell gasoline!

    1. I just bought 100 gallons and then burnt it for no reason ;-D

    2. Nigelstash (@)
      25th August 2013, 21:29

      Aren’t you tough! Bet the girls love your big truck too!

    3. @stuwhitey Yeah buddy! Way to hit em where it hurts! I bet Greenpeace is gonna think twice next time they start planning antics!

    4. made me laugh, thumbs up

  7. Shouldn’t of wasted your time giving these your ‘airtime’ ….

    1. I’m not going to ignore a story just because you disapprove of their point of view.

      1. Indeed. Annoyed the BBC failed to even mention it. Not that I agree with idiots who interfere with helicopters over the heads of the public…

        1. Basically, the BBC was caught out. When all the Bahrain stuff was kicking off last year, the BBC made sure a real journalist (Dan Roan) was on hand to provide an informed perspective about events, as a much-needed counterpoint to the ignorance and naivety of David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan. But this time they weren’t expecting any trouble, so had no one on site with enough experience to know what to say.

      2. Glad you posted it Keith :)

        1. Me too. I’m impressed by the maturity of the responses.

          1. @ned-flanders Agreed, a very different discussion environment than most forums on the internet for sure.

          2. So do i. And i am also quite impressed by the tone of this discussion. It has all the ingredients to be a sterile flame war, and yet the opinions are measured and respectful so far.

      3. Glad it was posted. Barely noticed anything on the TV coverage as they were surely trying to hide it. I thought this stunt with the remote control antennae was hilarious!

      4. +1

        The lack of security is extremely worrying…

    2. Kudos to @keithcollantine for running this story. Many journalist/News organisations (BBC) wouldn’t.

  8. Ah, the protesting of evil oil, all while wearing and using materials made from petroleum….the classics….

    1. It’s not just protesting oil, it’s specifically against drilling for oil in the Arctic, a pristine environment. Shell is a greedy, unethical company, one of the worst. I support them, I am glad they did not disrupt the race though or I may have had a different point of view!!

      1. @zippyone

        I think if they were trying to win F1 fans over, they have done exactly the right thing. Lampoon the dignitaries and flout the restrictive nature of F1. But by god if you touch my race.

        Haha, actually, it might have spiced things up a bit if they had!

    2. @zippyone +1 I agree, it is neither oil or Oil companies which is the evil, it is the process of drilling in Artic and disrupting the polar ice caps creating wholesome global weather disruptions which is wrong that needs attention of public and the governments.

      1. @tmax

        I tend to disagree. When a large company is endangering the world in the search for profits I’d quite happily call that evil.

  9. “But Shell has proven time and again that it will cut the most dangerous corners in the race to drill for oil

    or is it world?

    Nice article.

  10. Thanks for posting this, I thought fans were booing Vettel. I liked it when Hammy and Vet poured champagne over Coulthard!

  11. I think the booing of the fans who were at the track (especially when the protesters were trying their antics on the podium) speaks volumes. And I agree with them.

  12. Uh oh… now that they’ve raised awareness about oil in the Arctic, no doubt Bernie will be pushing for a Grand Prix there!

    On a serious note, they do have a point, even though I think this protest will ultimately make no difference. It’s not going to make Shell think again about Arctic drilling, and so long as everyone still gets to drive a car whenever they like or fly to the other side of the planet, then very few people will care about the damage done to the Earth.

    1. But hopefully this sort of thing will make Shell think twice before they cut corners on costs and risk oil spills etc

      1. Hopefully, but still not likely. This is not the first protest of its kind, and it’s never made Shell think twice in the past.

    2. If everyone refused to buy at Shell outlets – for just one day – that would create a blip on the profit wheel. I have heard of this working once before over petrol prices, and we would be telling them what the world thinks and how we can make a difference to their profits with our global opinion.

  13. Haven’t they been getting oil from the Arctic for the better part of 50 years now?

    1. And by “they” I mean oil companies in general, not specifically Shell.

      1. Yup. Major corporations have been clamoring to tap the vast amounts of oil in the Arctic for decades. But evidently not many people are aware of that, which I guess is the whole reason for the protest.

    2. Now they are pumping hot water on to the ice to melt the regions they want to exploit. How long are you going to sit by and accept that?

  14. Wow! Thanks for this great insight @keithcollantine, also for the way you behave when facing some rude comments from posters. F1 is my favorite sport and I’m glad they are doing anything possible to minimize pollution, wastes & promoting low carbon emissions.
    I love my planet Earth, when given the occasion I always try to promote it around me… Going ”green” is necessary nowadays because our standards of life are slowly ‘destroying’ our world!
    I came across a video on Youtube about sailors killing seals with stick, leaving them suffering and all these blood+ cry & you could feel the pain in their eyes. Damn God I was so outraged! I would have never thought it possible in my life. Now since January 2013 you have to be +18 years to watch it because these videos have been flame and reported… too much cruelty. I’m glad to hear about the oil drilling in the Arctic story and judging by some good answers round here it’s some serious issue.
    Citizens have the right to be informed. We need to know what’s happening.
    BUT there’s no way you should use ‘violence’ to raise awareness! What Greenpeace activists did today was really counterproductive & dangerous for themselves! I sometimes come across videos, banners and other stuff from the civil society, I wonder if the environmentalists and the NGO’s are using these not-so-much-’ debatable methods to get some proper reaction! Maybe they feel like doing that because people are ignorant or the I-dont-want-to-see attitude…

    1. @ladyf1fanatic Thanks but what did they do that was “violent”?

      1. Nothing to do with Greenpeace the past Sunday. That part of my comment should have been in the last sentence. What I meant with ‘violence’ because I remembered there ‘some’ factions of the environmentalism threatening Corporate now, unfortunately doing illegal things (burn or destroy things like animal research equipment, bulldozers, facilities, etc.)

  15. Everyone to turns up to an F1 race enjoys watching high octane fuel be turned into speed, noise and tyre smoke. Can’t help but think they could have picked a better way to get their point across.

    1. A better time and a better place for sure. Not to mention, they’re trying to ’embarrass’ Shell by using a lame pun.

      I was on the phone with my parents earlier, they don’t follow F1 as closely as I do, but watch the races. They had no idea Greenpeace was at the track; I’m willing to bet the casual majority and people on the track not near start/finish or a video screen didn’t have a clue either.

      1. I dont think they are targeting F1 at all… GreenPeace respect motorsport and understand that cutting edge technologies, including safety, efficiency and even fuel types can be developed with such a sport. By raising attention to the practises and outcomes of Shells activity, as a major sponsor of the event, they are getting uss all talking and putting pressure on F1 to find better sponsors and develop fuel solutions.

        1. I think they’re aiming at us only to stop Shell from drilling in the Arctic, really. Unlike some organizations, they did mention a specific issue rather than attacking Shell in its whole, the Belgian GP or Ferrari.

          We as fans don’t have that much impact on who’s sponsoring F1; an existing sponsor might drop out because they don’t see their sales rise as projected, but new companies enter F1 to gain more exposure. There weren’t a lot of people protesting GazProm on Minardi despite their shady business, much like there was a lack of international coverage of a loss-making car company buying an F1 team (Spyker).

          It’s also pretty hard for us as consumers and (I’d say) most F1 teams to find out where our oil actually came from. I’d love Ferrari to man up and refuse Shell to supply them with oil from sensitive areas, but considering their close connection in developing fuels; it’s pretty unlikely.

  16. All for those wishing to make the world a better place, but protesting against a fuel company??? Wonder what their microlites and planes run on, air?!?!

  17. Was this the cause of the booing during the awards ceremony? (Canadian TV coverage did not mention what it was all about.)

    1. @paul-a, Hi yawl, same in Oz very confusing.

    2. Ye people were booing because of this and also because there was a person abseiling with a banner near the podium as well. Vettel asked David Coultard why people were booing but he brushed over it and asked another question.

  18. It’s interesting that there’s not much mention of this elsewhere on the web!

    1. It’s really bad I think.

      Hiding it away is scary because that is censorship at it’s finest. That’s horrible for our society.

      1. I think a lot of people will not give any attention to it because of their idea that politics have absolutely no place in sport. Even when it does happen, some just don’t report on it. Some F1 sites even have ‘don’t mention the war Bahrain’ policies..

        1. @npf1

          Times like now I wish there was a +1 button!

  19. I suppose it’s brought a certain amount of awareness to people who otherwise didn’t know about this, but ultimately I see it as a bit of a wasted effort. At the end of the video it says ’embarrassing Shell: priceless’, but to me the only person they looked to have embarrassed is the poor sod on the podium that had to take the banners down. I won’t ridicule their cause, because it’s a good one, but there are better ways to go about protesting Shell’s practices than pettily hi-jacking a Grand Prix podium ceremony with two small, remote control banners that were visible for all of about 30 seconds (and it failed anyway, because FOM ensured their message wasn’t seen on the broadcast).

    1. A wasted effort we are all talking about! Bravo!

      1. @hohum We’ll have all forgotten this by tomorrow, when we start talking about whether or not Kimi ends up at Ferrari or Lotus (or whether or not Pirelli stick around next year). Considering we’ll be the only people that remember this (outside of the organizers), that says a lot.

        1. @journeyer, but at least we thought about it today.

    2. If anything, I applaud the guy who took them down. He did a swift job without causing much commotion. The people who inspected the podium should be ashamed..

  20. I think FOM handled it very well by not showing this during the podium. Some people might say that security dropped the ball on the one but there job is to keep drivers safe so they are alrite in my books.

  21. Remote-controlled banners were used to display a message of protest on a large banner in the main grandstand opposite the pits in the build-up to the race

    Unbelievable. I was there. I sat in the Gold 1 Grand Stand.
    When posting an article at least get your facts straight…

    1. @baron-2 As always if a mistake is made I’m happy to correct it.

  22. I love F1 but I couldn’t care less if the cars run on petrol or liquified banana skins. So good on Greenpeace for highlighting bad environmental practices and poor corporate citizenship whomever the company may be. It is realised now that a hundred years or so of fossil fuel use is causing problems for human kind and the other species that share the planet. Those of us who support motor racing ought not to get on our high horses when protests like this happen. It’s a wonder there hasn’t been more. But I always say to those who say motor racing “wastes” fuel to look at all other recreational activity as well. I think if you take into account the fuel used in all other sports by spectators travelling to events, or tourists jetting around sight-seeing then 22 F1 cars is of no significance. We have the same rights as them to enjoy our chosen sport. The point is not to stop us humans having fun but to do it in a better and more sustainable way.

  23. “Shell has proven time and again that it will cut the most dangerous corners in the race to drill for oil as the Arctic ice melts away.”

    I’m interested in what dangerous corners are they cutting? What’s their proof? It’s easy to make up stories and try to convey a message… I know I’m not up to date on the latest world news or anything, but I feel like there really isn’t a need to be flashy in them making up stories. Drilling for oil is a dangerous job but in my two minutes researching how Shell is allegedly cutting corners, I found zero accusations outside of stories similar to this.

      1. There’s nothing there that seems they cut corners in terms of safety.
        I will say that it seems the constant problems with Shell in the arctic are concerning, but, again, nothing conveys them “cutting corners” as greenpeace claims.

        1. @beejis60

          Given the consequences mistakes can lead to, I think it’s fair to say that if they are not fully prepared for the situations that may and are occurring, like extreme weather, that they are cutting corners.

  24. I wish the people in Greenpeace would come up with solutions to problems rather than point the obvious ones out to us. They point out nothing new, we know oil is bad, anywhere you drill will mess up the environment, but some of us also know we need it unless someones comes up with a better idea.

    They only focused on F1 because of the amount of people watching, Greenpeace’s marketing department is just looking for eyeballs.

    1. I’m quite sure if you asked them they’d have many “solutions”. Although notably in this case the first would likely be,

      Step 1: Don’t drill in arctic.

      They focused on this race because of how important it is to Shell. Shell’s marketing department is also looking for eyeballs. Also, note that they are not saying “don’t use oil”, they are criticizing specifically the drilling for oil in the arctic.

  25. Am I the only one that doesn’t care that the icecaps are melting? It’s part of the earths natural cycle, they melt for a few thousand years and then it’s hot for a few thousand years and then they freeze for a few thousand years and then it’s cold for a few thousand years and then the process repeats itself.

    1. In a natural cycle, there aren’t added carbon emissions or a hefty impact on the earth’s resources, though. To think we can completely halt climate change is foolish; but not as much as thinking we cannot influence it at all.

    2. I would imagine there are lot of people who would disagree, if for no other reason than enjoying their homes being above sea level.

      1. @matt90

        I can’t swim :C

      2. I would totally love for New Jersey to flood and my home in the Poconos to become beachfront property haha.

  26. Well, F1 is all about commitment and Greenpeace’s actions certainly required a lot of dedication and effort. Given that and also the fact that they didn’t interrupt the race itself or protest against F1 as a sport, I must admit I have a certain respect for them and say “well done” even if they kind of interrupted our church service.

    I guess this is a significant reminder that those who ensure that F1 world keeps turning, including the sponsors and the suppliers, are not always nice people. As long as the engines keep roaring, we might forget about it but we shouldn’t be surprised that there are other people, who care about human rights or the future of our planet.

  27. As well as being an F1 fan I have the misfortune/fortune to report on the shipping and offshore industries for a living as a trade journalist. I also had the fortune/misfortune to witness Andy Brown the head of Shell’s upstream division (the bit that does stuff like drilling for oil) fail completely to answer any questions whatsoever on their rig accident in the Arctic while being grilled in public in early June, in front of 500 plus, largely partisan to Shell’s cause, of a top level shipping/offshore industry audience at major event in Norway, called Norshipping. The moderator doing the grilling was a CNN presenter so no slouch shall we say.
    Shell’s response was pretty incriminating in its own way, they’re only concerned with getting the **** sued off them, so they say nothing substantive at all. But they’re not the only ones doing it – Statoil, Norway’s national company is really big on the idea oddly enough(!) and probably has far more experience than anyone else, but they are a wee bit less sexy to the environmentalists than Shell, and to be fair say even less than Shell beyond the absolute necessary if that is actually humanly possible….
    People are experimenting with shipping oil etc via a polar route from Asia to Europe – Russia has issued 300 plus licenses this year – compared to less than 40 in 2012.
    I don’t agree with what Greenpeace did yesterday, frankly its just stupid and annoying, and apart from creating a bad day for a few PR depts achieved remarkably little I’d imagine although I’m sure they all feel like heroes. Maybe they should try the same stunt in Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Malaysia or Bahrain now that would require real balls.

  28. I have got to admire the ingenuity Greenpeace used there.

  29. Great post Keith!

    It’s regrettable that both Sky and the BBC ignored a peaceful protest which deserved to be a talking point. I strongly believe F1 should be leading the way with green technology, sustainable use of resources and support for human rights. There’s nothing in the rules that says the sport has to bow down before amoral multinationals and brutal regimes. It doesn’t have to provide a criticism-free advertising platform to companies like Shell and governments like that of Bahrain. Only the apparently limitless greed of FOM has led us to the current unfortunate situation.

  30. Haha, I love how nonchalantly the guy just bent the banners down and dealt with the problem. Props to professional and level-headed security.

  31. Seeing as I once was almost assaulted by some people from Greenpeace just for expressing my love for F1 and my opinion on some of their environmental issues, I really have no respect for such a pointless, stupid and therefore idiotic action.

    The bit that cars pollute are just a shadow form what certain industries in China, India, Russia, the United States,… blow into the air. Why should we as Europeans, who for that matter are the most environmental aware of any on this earth pay the price for the countries I named.

    Like I said I have no love for Greenpeace as most of their activists are mindless and aggressive personalities that would prefer to send us back to the caveman era. Therefore I sincerely condemn this pointless action, which is completely aimed at the wrong persons, once again….

    1. Well put sir!

    2. I agree with you 100%. There are many other organizattions concerned with enviromental issues whose attitude are firm and strong but not radical and agressive as Greenpeace. Violence generates more violence. The money that raises Greenpeace can be used to advertise their point of view legally in the media.

  32. good to see them stick it to the man!
    the guy who had to take the signs down must have felt a right pratt, perhaps he should have just left it, probably bought more attention to the signs anyway

    always good to see someone getting the better of ecclestone, good on yer!

  33. Wow. To be honest I thought nobody would really take notice of this protest, but there’s been quite a response on this article. If their goal was to make people aware of and get them thinking about Shell’s activities, then they’ve succeeded.

    Quite ironic really. The disapproving response from the crowd has probably drawn a lot more attention to the issue…

  34. I understand that they’re trying to put across a message, but im not quite sure why greenpeace believe that they can display their advertisments free of charge…
    I’d also think that security breaches of this nature would require some kind of investigation and potentially stepped up security/procedures, which im sure will be reflected in ticket prices…

  35. FOM had the original video taken down from YouTube, however Greenpeace have re-uploaded it elsewhere.

    1. Hahaha! Good luck with THAT, Greenpeace. FOM is on every major video platform now – that’ll be taken down too in a jiffy.

      1. @journeyer According to Greenpeace the original already had 240,000 views. But it’s another interesting sign of how selectively FOM enforce their copyright controls on material that wasn’t filmed using their cameras.

      2. FOM

        Social Media ?????

        Oh Yeah, the F1 police, you cant watch till you pay $$$$$$$

  36. Collected my thoughts on Greenpeace: I agree with their point of view, but I don’t get their act of protest. Shell is a minuscule part of the Belgian GP, so I don’t understand why they target a Grand Prix just to make a point with no clear relevance to this event. Yes, they are forced to resort to leeching off of these kind of events, but it doesn’t justify making a point that is not universally shared.

    One more thing I wanted to say RE the video they’ve uploaded: the video ends with “Embarrassing Shell on its biggest PR day of the year – priceless”. That’s not protesting, that’s bullying, which makes we wonder whether their objective is to raise awareness on the Shell problem, or just annoy Shell and have Greenpeace-followers laugh at Shell’s expense.

  37. Actually we thought they were protesting against ticket prices…

    If we invest in a microlight, how much can we save at next year’s British GP, Glastonbury, etc ?

  38. You are sure giving them quite the article keith, lots of pictures and updated the video when the youtube one got deleted…

    1. @ausuma It’s not uncommon for articles on F1 Fanatic to be updated with more information and extra media in this way. A lot of the information has come out in dribs and drabs. I could have done separate articles for the videos and pictures but I think had I done that the story would have ended up occupying a disproportionate amount of space on the home page to the level of interest in it. Though having said that there has been more interest in this than I expected there would be.

  39. i was sat at the bus stop chicane and had no idea this was going on! Even during the podium ceremony it wasn’t that obvious! it was only when we walked along the pit straight we noticed the banner opposite the pits, but even then I didn’t really think much of it. Cant imagine that FOM or whoever had to do much to cover this up.

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