Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Monza, 2020

F1 faces “big challenges ahead” to stay relevant, says Vettel

2020 Italian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 faces “big challenges ahead” to stay relevant in a changing world, says Sebastian Vettel.

The Ferrari driver said the sport must become more environmentally responsible and lead technological change rather than react to it.

“Looking at where the world is, I think obviously being critical and from the outside, you could ask where Formula 1 is and what place Formula 1 is filling,” said Vettel. “And therefore I think you need to be serious about that.

“I think this sport has some big challenges ahead. Obviously, the whole situation with the pandemic around the world doesn’t help. But nevertheless, there’s some big questions to be answered for the future to make sure that this sport is still around in years to come.

“With where the world is going there are big things that we need to tackle, we need to address, and Formula 1 is maybe not at the forefront of this. It is obviously a sport and it’s entertainment. But we can do better than what we’re currently doing.

“Looking after the world, the environment, I think there’s some interesting aspects that we are trying to fulfil or achieve. But I think Formula 1 [also] has to do more and be a bit more open and tolerant. Otherwise, I think, that’s just my personal opinion, it could get difficult in the future.”

Vettel said the sport particularly needs to look at ways to reduce its environmental impact besides the cars’ engines.

“As a global sport we should act responsibly. Formula 1 should be setting examples rather than reacting to pressure from the outside.

“So when it comes to the environment, obviously we are driving around the weekend in cars, we’re burning fuel which is probably a very small amount of the total energy or total carbon footprint if you want to talk in CO2 terms but still I think we need to start acting more and more setting the right example, not just in our carbon footprint, but also on other things.

“I do think every every little bit makes a difference. The amount of plastic bottles we have, we consume during the weekend, I think there are solutions to that. How we power some panels in the paddock, there are solutions to that. We should be at the forefront in pushing developments rather than using what is a convenient and cheap in order to make things work and easy.

“F1 is obviously the pinnacle of motorsports when it comes to development of the cars. But I think it doesn’t just stop there. And also, when you talk about the cars, I think there’s more that can be done in order to have greater relevance for the future to find our technologies in the road a few years down the road.”

Last year Formula 1 announced it intends to become a “net zero” producer of carbon emissions by the year 2030.

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2020 Italian Grand Prix

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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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20 comments on “F1 faces “big challenges ahead” to stay relevant, says Vettel”

  1. Seb could be a good person to have involved in F1 management, I think

  2. He’s got a point. Big grandiose announcements are fun and make for good PR and all, but lets start with the low hanging fruit. Disposable plastics: water bottles, drink straws, etc should already be gone.

    1. he sure does. Good to see him saying these things, as you mention there is probably a lot of low hanging fruit around staging the race weekends.

  3. Well said Seb.

  4. wonder if Seb is lining up a Formula E seat for next year instead of F1?

    1. Had the same thought.

  5. Gotta agree with Seb. Imagine if someone came up with the idea of F1 today: spending hundreds of millions times ten to have two cars per team circling round for two hours every Sunday around the globe, with teams of 400 to 800 people, with people going round in jumbo-jets and freighting parts around the world. Sounds pretty stupid.

    1. euhm, they did. It is called Formula E.
      And after that they did it again, with the W series.
      And no, a race team is not shipping 400 to 800 people along to a GP if that is what you are suggesting.

      1. Neither of those series have the sheer expenditure or carbon footprint as that of F1.

  6. When it comes to the actual events, such as the Grand Prix weekends, the FIA could mandate that the event organizers implement and attain certification to the ISO 20121 Standard

    1. The ISO 20121 standard is a great opportunity for F1 to be an example of sustainability commitment!

  7. Carbon footprint? Eco-soustenability? Set max speed on track 150 kmph or 100 mph.. install velox to detect infractions… use lpg or methan or wood instead, or definitely not race at all..

    1. @formevic wow, none of that makes any sense.

      Speed does not equal increased CO2. LPG and methane are both huge contributors to global warming. And indeed, burning wood, whilst lovely to sit by and cook on, is pretty bad as all the carbon is released into the atmosphere when burning.

      The answer will either be electric or hydrogen (in both cases) sourced from renewable energy.

      1. I know.. my words was ironic. Note also most of electricity need burn something or nuclear origin.. anything is safe nowadays. One thing is: go Flinstonish.. on your feet, all staff against nature is harmful , definitely.

  8. Didn’t he want V12s?! 😉

  9. THAT is how it’s done. No “I’m (recently) woke, and you people really need to be more like me and do better” condescending attitude.

    1. +++++++1

  10. Formula E is right on this now and will only improve. Few more years of speed improvements and better tracks and it will lead the way in all areas.

    Unfortunately F1 is like a sweaty, overweight racey 80s comedian trying to survive in a PC world.

  11. Well, the big thing that needs to be tackled has been an elephant in the room for the past 40 years. A lack of entertainment due to a flawed Technical Formula.

    And as long as F1 isn’t entertaining, everything else doesn’t matter because F1 will continue to lose fans.

  12. Plastic water bottles would be a start, but maybe each driver using 50 tires each race weekend might be a better place to cut back.

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