Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Hockenheimring, 2019

‘I like fuel… If you don’t like F1, don’t watch it’ – Verstappen

2019 Mexican Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen says Formula 1 should not “overreact” in the fact of growing concerns about its contribution to rising global temperatures.

Lewis Hamilton’s comments about the environment and pledge to become ‘carbon neutral’ by the end of the year has prompted discussion over F1’s effect on the climate. Hamilton revealed yesterday he is in the process of replacing many of his conventional road cars with electric models.

However Verstappen does not want to see F1 move too far away from using combustion engines.

“I like fuel. Can I say that?” asked Verstappen in response to a question from RaceFans yesterday.

“I don’t like electric stuff. I like my little moped at home, the electric one. But not for an F1 car.

“I know [the] environment is very important but F1 has been around as well for a long time and I don’t think we should overreact or be a drama queen about it. So let’s get on with it. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.”

However Sebastian Vettel believes F1 needs to send a “stronger message” about the environment and defended Hamilton’s use of his social media presence to promote his views. “I’m not active on social media but I think the point is very clear,” said Vettel. “I think you would be ignorant if you wouldn’t look at it.

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Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2019
“We should send a much stronger message” – Vettel
“Obviously, as Lewis mentioned, it’s very difficult, in a way, to us to get acceptance from outside, because we don’t have the smallest footprint because the races happen around the world. We do have to travel, so it’s part of our jobs.

“But I think in general, Formula 1 should do more. It’s a worldwide operating platform. I think we should send a much stronger message regarding this subject and I think personally – this is free to everyone – but I think everybody can do something, contribute a little bit and if the whole world would act like that, it would make a huge difference. I think it’s inevitable that change is coming and hopefully rather sooner than later.”

As part of his efforts to reduce his impact on the environment Hamilton has also adopted what he calls a ‘plant-based’ diet. Verstappen is doubtful of the claims Hamilton has made for the diet’s effect on his performance.

“I watched this documentary about being plant-based,” said Verstappen. “And then it’s actually quite interesting that a lot of athletes actually say that they gain performance from it.

“But then that’s also different from Formula 1 where we are not limited in pace because physically. Yes you need to be strong, you need to be fit, but it’s not like where you are cycling or running and stuff like it’s more or less all you.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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74 comments on “‘I like fuel… If you don’t like F1, don’t watch it’ – Verstappen”

  1. ABEL ISRAEL CRUZ AYUSO
    25th October 2019, 9:05

    If global music bands like U2 or Radiohead have been trying to reduce their carbon footprint and somehow suceeded in reducing it, I can’t see why F1 couldn’t try…

    1. He makes a good point. If people stop watching, F1 will lose money and will have to adapt. I’m with him, since F1s impact is so minimal, it doesn’t even matter. Unless industrial emissions don’t go down, nothing anyone else does matters at all.

      1. “Unless industrial emissions don’t go down, nothing anyone else does matters at all.”

        While technically true, industrial emissions will not magically go down by themselves, massive public pressure (as well as government regulation) is required. Having a sport that goes through 520 sets of tires a month isn’t exactly setting a good example.

        1. 520 sets of tires per month sounds like a big number (where does this number come from) but at the same time all of these tires are recycled and reused in some ways.

          F1 is a sport just like any other and the biggest pollution that comes out of f1 just like from any other sport comes from the crowds watching it and the sport itself moving around the world. If f1 wanted to be more eco friendly they could reduce the amount of stuff they fly around the earth for flyaway races. 10% less fuel for one jumbo jet for one flight would already save more than many f1 races with their tires.

          I also think many people here confuse the real issues f1 has with being eco friendly and their pr campaigns. When f1 says it is green it only means it in marketing terms. Not in reality. Green sells and f1 wants to be seen green. Even when in reality none of the changes it does make it any greener. F1 cars spending little less fuel makes absolutely no difference to the environment even that is really all what f1 does us to believe. I’d say f1’s move towards these hybrid engines is eco negative because you don’t just add 80kg of electronics to the cars, 100 engineers to factories and more stuff to fly around the globe just so you can use 50kg less fuel and then say you are green because less fuel is used.

          In the end the only conflict here is that f1’s pr campaign doesn’t match what it does but people think it does. Which is a weird thing to say but ultimately people think f1 is green because hybrid engines. What a total nonsense. Ultimately f1 just like any other is a sport and its biggest environmental impacts come from moving people. Not from driving the race cars. Yet all we hear is the opposite. Sure 105kg of fuel per race is less than 150kg per race but is it more environmentally friendly? It doesn’t even matter if a jumbo jet can burn 80 000 liters of fuel for one long flight. And what is the main agenda for f1 at the moment? More races. Even if the cars could magically appear out of nothing and spend no fuel and take no resources to make it would not even be a drop in a bucket compared to the total environmental impact of f1. Yet the only thing that is talked about is the cars.

  2. I think this whole conversation perfectly illustrates the difference between intelligent, mature persons (Vettel and Hamilton) and a blatantly ignorant one.
    Good job, maxi boy. You clearly set yourself apart from your rivals. Daddy Jos would be proud.

    1. I think this whole conversation perfectly illustrates the difference between extremely hypocrital people (Hamilton), normal people (Vettel) and very honest, mature and extremely intelligent people (Verstappen).
      You can talk the talk, but do you walk the walk? Hamilton cares sooo much, but he refuses to stop doing what he likes, and picking up his well to do paycheck while burning fuel….to do what? Finish 1st, 2nd …..
      If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.
      If it makes you feel bad, stop doing it.

      1. Philups, something tell me you and Trump will get along just fine. 2 very fine intellectuals…

        1. @ivan-vinitskyy What a pathetic and hypo-critic post. But hey you’re such a judge of character. And anyone who disagrees with you is lesser. Sad loser

          1. @montreal95, you clearly struggle with understanding the meaning of words… and spelling… maybe try again?

        2. @ivan-vinitskyy
          Hahaha, sure buddy, me and Trump (who talks the talks, and also doesn’t walk the walk….) will get a long pretty well.
          But enlighten us lesser intellectuals; What in my post makes you conclude me and Donald will get along just fine?
          Or, just like Don, you’re also just bluster without coming up with proper arguments?
          Oh, and btw, since F1 ranks among the top listed environmental disasters just to amuse people, and contributes literally nothing to better the state of humankind, don’t you think Hamilton is quite an hypocrite?
          If he walks out tomorrow, he’ll reduce his own carbon imprint by quite a margin, without anyone besides himself feeling real consequenses.

      2. why is this so complicated for people? if both drivers are going to race (they are) and one of them decides to cut down on his carbon footprint in other areas of his life (he is), then that is a net benefit to the planet. just because they drive racing cars doesn’t mean they have to do nothing for the environment outwith their racing. hamilton even admits he’s not carbon neutral, but he’s taking steps to change that. and as raikkonen says (who you quote), if everyone does a little bit then it would make a massive difference worldwide.

      3. Philups I think that is a very negative and closed mind attitude.

      4. Even if you call Hamilton a hypocrite, whatever, people think what they think, Verstappen is objectively not being intelligent or mature here. Just switching off the TV doesn’t mean that all of a sudden F1 is eco-friendly. That sort of ‘just ignore it’ mentality is what brings us countless horrific things in the elite that have gone unnoticed over the past decades, that are only now coming to the surface. People always used to just ignore such things, and it just makes them worse.

        1. I fully agree with Philups, these statement don’t have anything to do with intelligent or mature, neither is about ignoring it ….

          How on earth can you pretend to care so much and be a racing driver which is about burning fuel… not to mention flying over the world with a complete fleet of aircrafts… Is Hamilton taking the cargo flight home, or his private jet..? Obviously he’s not a total hypocrite, being a veganist helps…it really does, but as an F1 driver your simply not in a position to tell the world about it.

          The problem isn’t F1, that what’s Verstappen is referring to, it’s out consume frantic society… we burn to much fuel, use to much gas, eat to many cows that result into to much nitrogen due to industrial farming

        2. @hugh11 MV is perfectly intelligent and mature in his comment something I cannot say about your post. All these hypocrite celebrities babbling about eco-friendliness while traversing the world in their private planes, but hey they own a Prius! which btw is extremely environmentally damaging to make but who cares? Virtue signalling RULZ lol !

          1. That is totally unrelated to both what Max and my post said but ok, go off sis.

      5. Ignorant? He is like the one honest driver there is… All those others are like trained monkeys who parrot the PR bull that the teams PR people tell them…. Also he doesn’t spend much time with Jos anymore.

      6. Maxiboy obviously has the fan base he deserves. Nothing surprising here.
        Basically, Hamilton’s h@ters, lol!

        1. @liko41 When you use ‘maxiboy’ and ‘h@ters’ do you not realize you remove any cache you might have had in speaking on someone else’s intelligence?

          1. Nope.
            And I’m not by far surprised that you can’t get it.
            Maxi boys will be maxi boys

        2. I like Max and i like Lewis so in which box are you going to put me in? just a racefan.

          The problem is the industy what we do is nothing. So before they cut like 60% then we could do something.

        3. @Fantomius

          Nah mate, apparently you are a Hamilton boy…and that means you dislike Verstappen for the obvious reasons

      7. very honest, mature and extremely intelligent people (Verstappen)

        LMAO

    2. @liko41
      Are you joking; Hamilton intelligent? If he cares so much, he should walk away and start doing something green.
      It’s not like he is a working class joe, stuck in job, with family obligations and a mortgage and such.
      I 100% agree with Philups, and Max; If you don’t like it, don’t watch it….if it makes you feel bad, stop doing it.

      1. Oh, apparently censorship is fully active here.
        Nothing will prevent me to say to @smurfler what he deserves: i.q. of a turnip.

        1. @liko41 if his i.q. is of a turnip yours not better than an amoeba. sad really

          1. Yeah, you are sad, devil’s advocate.
            The turnip is quite small, in your case.

        2. @liko41
          Lol, talking about censorship and deriding once in one comment…..
          A 100% score on the Trumpscale of “truth” and “maturity”, hahaha, man, you really exposed your “sincerity ”, “objectivity” and mental age (lack off).
          No wonder you side with Lewis on his hypocritical crusade!
          Meanwhile, keep watching F1, use the internet, buy your fashion and pretend to care.

    3. Fantomius : Bravo! I could not have said it better.

      1. @macradar That’s nothing to publicly and proudly boast about.

    4. @liko41 Or maybe a question of maturity. Formula 1 drivers live in a bubble of racing and (when successful) fame and wealth from a young age. Hamilton has been through those stages. Nothing says Verstappen will change opinion, of course, but he might over time.

      1. That Max is speaking strictly of F1 and it remaining ‘fuel’ does not automatically mean he is flippant about the environment in his personal life.

    5. All this thread says to me is that we live in polarising times. Just because it’s not possible to be completely carbon neutral without giving up your job, doesn’t mean you can’t at least try to cut down on some things. It is with great delight when certain sections of the media accuse Greta Thunberg of hypocrisy, without seeing the bigger picture in that in a relative sense she is almost certainly carbon negative through raising awareness to others through her actions. If you only think at surface level you will not see that.

      Unfortunately everything is either all in or all out these days. There’s no grey areas at all, social media and the right wing press has reduced things to surface level only – you’re either a leaver or remainer, republican or democrat. It’s basically crap – what happened to the middle ground; trying your best to reduce air travel and sorting out plastics diligently, whilst also enjoying drifting around Snetterton in a 911.

      Rant over.

      1. @john-h Couldn’t have said it better myself.

        Welcome to 2019, where nuance and constructive criticism are dead. The only form of “debate” most people know now are ad hominem and trying to find literally any hole in an argument while ignoring any and all merits it may have, and that’s really sad. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve all done it, but sadly it’s become the go-to strategy for most people.

  3. It was not very wise to equate F1 with fuel. F1 is about the pinnacle of motor racing. That to me means racing at the highest performance responsibly. Hence F1 has a responsibility to push for ‘environmentally friendly’ / less damaging technology. F1 is not about pushing performance of fuel per se.
    Stopping all together, as Kimi mentioned rhetorically (covered in a separate article on Racefans) is in my opinion not a viable solution. Because this would mean, we just deny some of our inner passion for speed, competition and excellence. Hence this is a theoretical solution that would never work in practice.
    This debate was going to come to F1 sooner or later. F1 management was well aware of this and has been proactively managing this. I’m curious to see if there’s more restrictions in fuel consumption in the 2021 engine regs.

  4. A really thought provoking opinion by someone we really should be listening to..

    1. @rushfan
      Opposed to Hamilton’s; “I care, but refuse to give up my heft paycheck and keep burning fule in pursuit of a couple of meaningless throphies and records?”
      Verstappen is right: If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.

    2. I mean, F1 clearly can and should do a lot more to be environmentally friendly. It doesn’t have to stop being F1 to achieve that.

      However, the whole, “if you don’t like it don’t watch it” misses the point and is exactly why climate change is such a difficult sell to the masses. F1 can exist AND be more environmentally friendly. It doesn’t have to go to the extremes of not traveling or using fuel but anyone with a brain can see that it can be improved.

    3. “A really thought provoking opinion by someone we really should be listening to..”

  5. “But I think in general, Formula 1 should do more. It’s a worldwide operating platform.

    I’ve never been to a Grand Prix, but the impression I get is the average spectator or employee has to make their own way to the GP. Those thousands of people would easily use more fuel than all of the F1 cars would use for the entire weekend. Why not put on a decent bus or train service from nearby cities and towns to the GP so people can use the public transport instead of travelling to the event in their car?
    Also, the roads should be adjusted to minimise queues because vehicle engines idling wastes fuel.

    1. @drycrust Valid points and suggestions.

    2. But you see, that’s a transportation / infrastructure problem of the city, not F1. Living means moving around, be it parks or work, or seaside… we can’t stop doing things because they are bad for the environment, at least not yet. What Lewis is doing is not radical, as radical just won’t work on people. He’s making a point to raise awareness and offer options. Not having a private plane is an example of what $50M+ individuals can do, eating plant-based foods another option pretty much for everyone. These are easy, accessible options we can take so we don’t have to be radical in 10 year’s time. If we don’t do these easy options now, we’ll have to stop flying because by that time (guestimating this of course) people will by dying of high temperatures in Asia, of frequent natural disasters. There will be no F1. It will not be about choosing what kind of entertainment to watch on TV, it’ll be back to survival. Personally switching energy providers to mostly renewable sources, drive electric, reduce meat intake, travel on holidays less is what I do and it’s not hard. I don’t really understand why most can’t do this…

    3. “Why not put on a decent bus or train service from nearby cities and towns to the GP so people can use the public transport instead of travelling to the event in their car?”

      That does happen, i got a coach from Barcelona city centre to Montemelo for the GP. As did many others that i saw when we go to the circuit.

    4. They do put on trains and buses. You’ve never been but feel able to make a point without ANY knowledge. . Pah TV fans

    5. Cars and transportation only account for 17 to 20 % of pollution. Meaning F1 running 20 weekends a year, isn’t gonna kill the polar bears. Max is right, if you dont like it, go watch something else.

    6. Brands Hatch is my local circuit, and I would quite enjoy going there more. But doing so is a real slog. I live in London, and on my own, so I don’t have a car. A taxi from the station to Brands is £16 one way. There’s a bus, but there’s only about three per day and the last one leaves around 2pm on Sundays. The only alternative is to walk several miles to a station, cross-country if you don’t want to add another mile or two to your journey. Providing better public transport to events is an easy way to increase crowd sizes, I won’t be the only person who doesn’t go because of it.

  6. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.

    This sort of argument just does not work for issues where everyone is affected by the consequences, even if they personally do not contribute.

    1. Ummm if you do not watch F1, then you are not contributing to it.

      1. but if f1 contributes to climate change and you don’t watch f1 you are still affected by climate change

      2. You may not contribute to it but you are still experiencing the negative effects of it.

        I could tell my company to dump chemicals into the local river. You don’t have to buy my products but you (and everyone else who doesn’t buy my product) will absolutely experience the effects of what I’m doing…

    2. @mrboerns Irrelevant. F1’s “contribution” as was proven already is negligible. The production cycle of a Toyota Prius one the other hand…

    3. @mrboerns
      “his sort of argument just does not work for issues where everyone is affected by the consequences, even if they personally do not contribute.”
      But atleast you can look at yourself in the mirror with a clean conscience and tell your children you did the best you could.

  7. A short period of reflective silence from Verstappen might save him from himself.

    Not just because of this comment but a whole stream of them demonstrating he either has a poor memory, poor judgement or, most likely, is a conceited young man who just shoots from the lip and an empty head.

    1. He is saying he likes petroleum cars and that if you do not like that part of F1, then you should not be watching and supporting F1 series as it goes againts what you believe in.

      His argument makes sense compared to Hamilton’s, who doesn’t want to drive FE despite of the fact that is the premier electric racing series in the works that combines his two passions (racing and environment friendly vehicles).

      1. Add on: And I said the stuff above despite bring a Hamilton fan who usually doesnt like Versteppen.

    2. Witan you made my day! Empty head he is.

      1. @macradar Empty headed comments both yours and Witan’s that’s 4 sure

    3. @Witan
      He ain’t no Lewis, makin a post and hours later deleting it. He saying it as it is.
      More Max, less Lewis.
      BTW: We ALL love fuel, and no one here commenting truly cares about the environment.

      1. Speak for yourself Philups.
        I have made a lot of changes and I am going electric with solar panels to charge my vehicle.
        Every effort , no matter how small, DOES make a difference.

  8. “I know [the] environment is very important but F1 has been around as well for a long time

    Um sorry Maxxi boy but so has the environment. Lets see Motor Racing nearly 120 yrs. Environment as we know it with enough oxygen to support land animals somewhere between 350-390 million yrs, but I get his point. We don’t have to miss out to improve the world. We can innovate something Motor Racing has shown in the past it is perfectly capable of.
    I posted this a few days ago.

    @david-br They could go hydrogen. It’s very clean can be produced using solar power and produces mostly water as waste.
    Apparently there is nitrogen produced and due to the heat there is a reaction between that and oxygen making nitrogen oxides (NOx) which is not good. But in theory Hydrogen power can work without producing NOx.
    So where better to sort out the solution than on the race track?
    So we get to keep F1 and all of the sounds and the atmospherics it is famous for, and we get to keep complaining about it :))

    1. ​The problem with hydrogen cars is that they are inefficient compared to electric ones on a per mile basis. That defeats one of the biggest reasons why you want to use an electric car over a petroleum one.

      We will be using fossil fuels in some capacity for a long time. The reason why the switching to electric is considered a big deal from an environmental perspective is you get higher mileage per energy unit. So even if we took all our car fossil fuels and place them inside power plants instead, we will be emitting less carbon per km.

      Real Engineering has a video on it:

      https://youtu.be/f7MzFfuNOtY

      1. Yaru It’s time for a change, you can get on board or be left behind!

  9. As a vegan person, my personal opinion is :

    1 – Reducing the impact at the venues if far more important than on track. The impact of meat producing is far greater than all racing categories put together. If Lewis can influence a small number people to at least eat less meat he can drive a v10 over a track during a day and still be carbon neutral.

    2- F1 is a PR mess. The only person with some visibility to the outside world is Hamilton. As a series it has lost the impact it had on the 90’s. Imagine the impact on the world if instead of Hamilton, Vettel and Max discussing this we had Senna,Prost and Mansell.

    3- Discussing F1 and FE about “vegan credits” in nonsense. Like i said the problem lies elsewhere. I believe that at least until a new generation of batteries comes along, F1 can impact the world on a more significant way than FE can. When that new tech does appear i believe F1 will loose its crown as the pinnacle of motorsport.

  10. formula 1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport..so emphasis should be on speed and safety etc and not saving the environment.

  11. Is Max the new JV now…

    I am happy for him to speak his mind just like i was for JV.

  12. Meh.

    This going green business is such a hoax.

    This leads to design by committee.

    We want F1 to produce 20% more revenue,
    use 30% less fuel,
    have 50% more spectators,
    who produce 40% less trash,
    racing drivers who complain on the radio 90% less,
    but promote green awareness 60% more,
    cars that loose only 10% downforce while following,
    while being 70% more fun to watch.

    Excuse me if I fail to believe in their efforts.

    Throwing numbers around is a lot of fun, I do it sometimes, but most of environmental numbers are so convoluted it stops making any sense.

    If we want to produce less CO2 we should just stop pumping fossile fuels out of the ground. Within a year 80% of emissions would be gone. All small efforts are a total joke, all this energy spent on solutions that change things maybe 0.2% while emissions grow by several % each year. F1 like most of our civilization is just doing bandaid fixes to create illusion that something is being done.

    1. Quite a nihilistic viewpoint. Not entirely untrue, although people like to believe that they’re making a difference, and additionally awareness needs to be raised of these issues otherwise people won’t stop pumping fossil fuels. Ignoring the issues won’t help, as like you say, emissions will still grow by several % each year.
      Societal paradigm shifts always start from small groups making changes and protesting, and then the movement grows so much that the people with the power to change things can no longer ignore it. We’re in the intermediate stage right now, where while such people may not be directly helping right now, in some years maybe they will be.

  13. Too right. Far too many petty coat raisers standing on a chair squealing. Meanwhile they use throw away bottles, drive half a mile, leave the lights on, throw away good food/clothes. F1 is an easy target for nobodies to point a finger and wag. I hate all this hybrid rubbish when there are 300 diesel lorries parked by the track. Its worse than hypocrisy its just down right lies.

  14. If you don’t like F1, don’t watch it

    That’s why I switched off when it was obvious it was another year of mercedes domination. Careful what you wish for Max or there might be no viewers left…

  15. May be we can add up the CO2 contribution of football globally, every weekend. Total conjecture, but F1’s whole season possibly a fraction of that?

    1. Probably true but it’s still worth exploring how F1 can do more.

  16. While in 50 years time we may look back and ponder why on earth did we follow such a harmful sport to the environment, F1 could do so much more to promote the effectiveness of these hybrid engines. I remember seeing articles stating that in the couple of years of development with these new rules F1 did more to the thermal efficiency of the engines than had been achieved in the past 60 years, going from 35 percent to 50 percent. That is the kind of message we should be sending out, and that is the kind of innovation that the sport can provide for, to put it bluntly, the whole planet.

    1. @kaiie Very well said and I agree and my first thought when you spoke of the introduction of these hybrid power units to F1 was of the large percentage of people around here who immediately decried the quietness, screaming for the return of the screaming V8’s, 10’s, and 12’s. Personally my initial reaction was that there was great beauty in their quietness when it means they are using so much less fuel for the same if not greater speeds achieved.

  17. I think I’m beginning to like Max. As the owner of a turbocharged rotary, I own one of the most noisy and polluting cars on the road today. It’s my weekend car and opening the throttle and knowing that it’s dirty… and shoots flames and screams out the external wastegate and is wasteful makes me smile. Yes I have a normal car for Monday to Friday but I enjoy my weekend car and it’s what makes life fun for me and amongst other things… what makes life worth living. I used to put F1 in the same category. It was noisy, obnoxious and unsafe. It was kind of what made F1 cool for me. In the great scheme if things, it’s a drop in the ocean and it’s entertainment value, for me, used to exceed it’s negative environmental impact on the planet.

    Unfortunately “Halo” and this current “green” nonsense has made this the first year where I haven’t watched a single race. I stop in here on the weekends to see how Ricciardo is doing because I like the guy and want to see him do well… but F1 is dead to me now and I’ve been watching since around 1990. F1 should never been green and has become way too sanitised and full of emasculated, self righteous millennials.

    Everyone needs a little bit of “bad” in their life. It’s good for your mental health.

    It’s OK though, I’ve just compensated for F1 with a few more pounds of boost , a little less timing and a suitable amount of extra fuel.

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