Air display, Monza, 2022

Vettel accuses F1 of ‘giving in’ to Italian president by allowing pre-race fly-by

2022 Italian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel says Formula 1 gave in to the demands of Italy’s president and allowed an aeroplane fly-by before its race having previously said it would stop allowing them.

F1 previously told drivers it would stop allowing aircraft to perform demonstrations prior to races, said Vettel. Flights create a high volume of carbon dioxide and unnecessary, short-distance trips, particularly those taken by celebrities on private jets, have drawn considerable criticism in recent months.

Vettel said today’s fly-by took place at the insistence of Italy’s president, 81-year-old Sergio Mattarella, who attended the race.

“I heard the president of Italy was insisting to have the fly-by,” said Vettel. “I mean, he’s about 100 years old, so maybe it’s difficult for him to let go of these kind of ego things.”

F1 has announced it intends to reduce its carbon emissions to net zero by 2030. Allowing fly-bys contradicts that goal, said Vettel.

“The fly-bys, we were promised that they are gone and it seems that the president just has to change his mind and F1 gives in despite the boards around the track about certain goals when it comes to making the world a better place,” he said.

“If you have a goal then you shouldn’t do like all the countries and just neglect the fact that you won’t achieve it,” Vettel added. “You should stick to the word you put out. But time will tell.”

Vettel accused F1 of ‘giving in’
Sergio Mattarella, President of Italy and Luca de Meo, Renault CEO, Monza, 2022
Mattarella visited the F1 paddock today

Vettel, who will retire from F1 at the end of this year, dropped out of his final Italian Grand Prix due to a battery problem on his car. He scored his first F1 victory in this race 14 years ago while driving for Toro Rosso, which is now AlphaTauri.

The Monza circuit celebrated its 100th anniversary this year. With several heritage F1 venues at risk of losing their races, Vettel said Monza “has to stay in the calendar.”

“It is a great circuit, a great atmosphere,” he added. “[But] I hope they stop doing the fly-bys.”

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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78 comments on “Vettel accuses F1 of ‘giving in’ to Italian president by allowing pre-race fly-by”

  1. So tired of Vettel and his incessant carbon moaning. Just leave already.

    1. Well why stop with the flyby? Get rid of F1, and of motorsports entirely. Yes, including electric vehicles, they still have a large carbon footprint and the energy the recharge the batteries comes mostly fron fossil fuels anyway.
      And please, Seb, be consistent and honest, and give back every last penny you have earned from motorsport while contributing to global warming. Otherwise, stick with the label that Canadian politician rightly gave you.

      Said it before and repeat it now, I am interested on Seb’s teaching on how to make the most of a blown diffuser, the guy was a true master on that. Everything else you have to say, I could not care less.

      1. So we do nothing right? We keep flying, we keep having fun using the most carbon intensive ways and keep quiet about it all because someone like you is afraid of hearing about the damage they are causing?

        1. Me, afraid? Try that again

          1. He said afraid but he really meant stupid.

      2. I think you missed Seb’s point.

        1. I missed the Seb point in Silverstone with Red Arrows and the age of the Queen.

    2. You chose to read. The simple solution is to stop reading.

  2. As far i’m concerned there is nothing wrong with fly-by’s…we had it at silverstone with the red arrows…so what is the issue…

  3. Carbon Dioxide = the Gas of Life.
    Retired yet Vettel or joining your buddies in the club of Rome and the WEF?

    1. Also the gas if there isn’t going to be sea ice or snowpack in 100 years. Cool!!!

      1. *gas of rather

    2. Some suspect that he may be a plant.

    3. You should tell Venus that…

  4. Oh man, I’m so tired of that hippie. All those airplanes and trucks and buses that were used just for him to drive around in a racing car produced much more carbon dioxide.

    1. You do realise he is a racing driver… in a business where he is an employee… he isn’t racing F1 cars for his personal fun.

      1. Nor are those pilots flying for fun. It’s also their job, and they aren’t millionaires.

      2. You do realise the airplanes are piloted by professional pilots? They don’t fly those planes for personal fun.

        The difference is, those pilots are not preaching to Vettel about how much pollution his business is producing.
        And nobody asked Vettel to choose a career in a highly pollutive industry! If he wants to preach then he should change his own profession first.
        You can’t protest against drugs while working for a drug cartel.

        1. Huh? Vettel is working for FIA (indirectly) and he is critising FIA. He is doing the very thing you say he can’t do.
          If somebody listened to airplane pilots – they would speak about carbon too because they are humans with logic and logic tells us this activity is bad for humanity. The difference is they don’t have the audience, Vettel does. In both cases expressing views is the right thing. But you’re missing the point with F1 like many other people here. The best people to improve F1 are people who work for it. You and I have little voice when it comes to how to make positive changes, drivers do, teams do, organisations working for / with F1 do. Don’t try to shut them up because your personal views don’t align. Better figure out why you’re against it!

    2. All that is the bare essential to host a Grand Prix. The flyby was completely unnecessary.

      If F1 wants to be carbon neutral then it should start with reducing unnecessary emissions.

      1. Like holding races, Einstein?

  5. What an ignorant statement from Vettel. If there is a place in the world where the President have no power whatsoever, it’s Italy. I wonder if they go to the same woke school because honestly they all look the same : Vettel, Prince Harry, John Kerry… Besides, these greeniacs that are over represented in the media have nothing to offer apart from their continuous childish tantrums that pushed the majority of the stupid politicians to embrace their agenda.

    Europe will already achieve the Net Zero this winter with no gas and fuel whatsoever which must be a source of joy for these woke people. Besides, is there any prosperous green country ? Just asking for a friend…

    1. Greenland used to be green, but it is no more today.

      1. @spafrancorchamps I think some exiled murderer named it that in the hope it would attract people to come live with him in the arctic.

    2. @tifoso1989 Every single statement in your comment is false. Interesting.

  6. Have we already heard from Vettel how he’s going to distribute his net worth of 140 million? European families will be struggling to pay the bills this winter and beyond, so it’s only fair and progressive to give that money back to people who need them much more than someone living in Swiss mansion.

    1. @armchairexpert How is wealth inequality relevant to pollution here? Or you just want to discredit his point by saying something else, even when it’s irrelevant?

      1. His 15 years in this sport created hundred, thousand (maybe even more) times the pollution average family makes throughout their whole existence. 140 million earned at the cost of our health and future has to be distiributed back to the people, otherwise Vettel can stuff his empty words full of virtue signalling down his backside.

        1. @armchairexpert Are you really going to put all that on drivers? or even teams? They take part, by racing in an event FIA organises. You also take part, by watching the very event FIA organises. You contribute to damaging the environment as much as the teams do, and as much as Vettel does. We are all responsible for it. Vettel is just a small cog in a very big business. And money, how is it relevant? He speaks as a driver even if he didn’t make any money his point would still be valid.

      2. @ivan-vinitskyy It is always going to be difficult for Vettel to be taken seriously in this arena right now, as noble or valid as you think the point may be.

        He has amassed astonishing levels of wealth doing a job for 15 years, globetrotting the world flying first class driving horrendously inefficient racing cars, that must produce one of the highest individual carbon footprints imaginable.

        He has hardly, at this point but could change in the future, undertaken to invest in any projects that will make a material environmental difference. He clearly has the means, and I genuinely think the sincerity, to do this but I just can’t see him being taken seriously when he chimes in on subjects like this until he acts using these means. He may choose to do so in the future, maybe even next year!

      3. Carbon dioxide is NOT pollution.

        1. Indeed, it’s part of the carbon cycle, which creates all life on our planet. For millions of years CO2 has been dropping, putting all life at risk of eventually succumbing to failure of plant growth at c.180ppm CO2. After this we risk a barren, perhaps snowball Earth. Burning carbon to create CO2 creates a safety margin, headroom to avoid this happening.

          Who knew? Clearly not Mr Vettel, who when speaking on subjects he knew something about, was once an entertaining listen.

  7. Are you people complaining abouty Vettel serious? You don’t think fly-bys are stupid and wasteful? All for 30sec of noise and colour in the sky? Are you the same deniers who think global warming isn’t a thing? I’m glad Vettel is raising it, why isn’t everyone? This is mad.

    1. Well, so what difference did all fly-byes in the history of F1 made, combined, in regards to global warming? I’d like to see a proper estimation before raging. Sure, I could live without it (actually, I couldn’t care less about it, as you said, it is kinda stupid fun). On the other hand, F1 is equally unnecessary and more wasteful. You’re watching and and contributing to polluting and ending this world, and Vettel is far more responsible, being one of those who actively spread that pollution. Once he decides it’s time to go, after doing it for many years and earning money and popularity, he decides things must change. Well, if he said that 10 years ago I’d have more respect for it.

    2. Formula 1 generates 256,000 CO2 tonnes per year, all for 20 guys and 10 teams driving in circles in 25 different places all around the globe. It’s stupid, wasteful and it should be immediately banned. Our future and environment > entertainment, don’t you agree?

      1. @armchairexpert You assessment is wrong. F1 isn’t run for 10 teams and 20 drivers. It’s run for millions around the world who watch it, work for it. If it wasn’t this entertainment event, there would be others. We can’t not have entertainment but at the same time if this event can’t reduce carbon then it should not exist. It does because FIA have agreed to reduce carbon footprint, it’s just that they fail to stick to their commitments. Most carbon intensive f1 activities can be redesigned to reduce environmental impact. Why is anyone against doing this, I don’t get it! We’re not killing F1, we’re improving it where we can enjoy and it doesn’t kill us at the same time. We – everyone who is for carbon reduction. I don’t see many who say this sport needs to be stopped.

        1. This is called have your cake and eat it

        2. In what world are the current engines an improvement to F1 over the V8’s I still wonder.

          1. @spafrancorchamps sure, lets go through the list:
            1. Reducing the noise saves the hearing of thousands of spectators
            2. It demonstrates to ordinary people that powering race cars with liquid fuel is not the only way, this helps with sustainability efforts in lives of ordinary people.
            3. It creates a platform for engineers to create new ways to make power that doesn’t use ICE engine, which has no future. This platform is good because a) it stimiluates research / engineering / learning and b) creates tech that has the potential to be transferred to road cars
            4. New engines adds a new racing variable, F1 is a team sport and this extra complexity is exactly what f1 is about. Using V8s would not have created any engine differences between teams, it would bring us closer to spec series.
            5. New engine development has the potential to reduce the durability of engines. With ICE v8s no manufacturer would want to spend the money to do this. There is no challange to pump money into something that is essentially an old tech.
            6. New engines burn less fuel to make more power and they last longer. Given R&D, we are still probably creating more net carbon but that’s a choice (good or bad depends on who you ask), there is potential to reduce it of course if F1 wanted to.

          2. It burns less fuel and is way more road relevant.

    3. The pilots require monthly hours in air. So to not have them do those here would mean they are still going to do them elsewhere.

      And it’s totally not okay for Vettel to attack the president and call him ”100 years old”. Ageism much. He pretends to be woke but then he insults others and makes these ridiculous complaints.

      1. Ominous, sorry… did I get you right, we need those flights because existing pilots need training?

        1. Yes, the pilots performing the fly-overs are required to complete certain amount of flight hours regularly. So it doesn’t make a difference if they are during an F1 event or not, same amount of money is spent and emissions released.

    4. Ivan, thank you for your reply. It saddens me to see the level of hate aimed at someone just looking to do the right thing, making easy & practical reductions to our impact on the planet and holding to account those who claim to do likewise. Yes, he remains in Formula 1 for now, but that also gives him a platform and a voice that he may not have elsewhere. I’m happy for that; and F1 will be poorer without him.

      P.S. I concede that his “about 100 years old” comment was neither big nor clever. I hope that he regrets that in retrospect.

    5. Sorry mate – you are mad if you think that a fly past makes any difference whatsoever to the climate.

  8. I don’t mind if pilots make their statements, they are free to share what they think, however, with Vettel, is so arrogant and lack respect. Making such comments on the president of Italy, this is uncalled for, disrespectful and lack of basic civic politeness, like what he said in Canada. There Vettel was branded a hypocrite over Saudi Aramco links after accusing Canada of ‘crime’. He is a guest in Italy, does not run Italy. Better he retires and enjoy all the money from ….Aramco!

    1. That’s leftists for you.

    2. If Italy cannot agree to the terms of hosting a GP then they shouldn’t host a grand pix. There’s free speech in Europe, Vettel has the right to say what he wants.

      Flybys are unnecessary. It’s a fact.

      1. Red Arrows fliby at Silverstone was right indeed?
        Vettel have called the Queen Elizabeth 100 years old lady?
        By the way, Mattarella is 81 yo, the queen was 96 yo.
        Disrespectful stupid guy, who produced in 15 years more Co2 than million of people and take money from saudi Aramco.

  9. Enough with these nonsense. Give back all the money and enjoyment you derived from racing and burning so much fuel all these years. The problem with the world is not Carbon it is greed.

  10. For a change, how about posting in this blogGreta Thunberg’s take on how to tackle the Istanbul Park turn 8 flat out? It would make about as much sense.

    1. Greta Thunberg has never made such a comment.

  11. I thought it was really gross seeing fighters fly by at the USGP several years. Displays of military hardware have no place at a sporting event. At two of the events I didnt get over the feelings that gave me until the race started and I was distracted. I do value the purpose of these aircraft and such planes have gotten me out of some bad situations in Iraq and Afghanistan but I can’t see any good reason for them to be shown off at a sporting event. It reeks of inflated American exceptionalist nationalism.

    That being said, Italy doesn’t have any real military capability – it’s just for show. who cares if they want to fly planes (other than the seb)?

    1. Italians must be very nationalistic

      1. What do you say if someone offends your president for no reason?
        The Red Arrows and the Thunderbirds flew without the stupid comments of no one

    2. @ryanoceros
      Always with your stupid sense of superiority?
      As per Global Firepower, Italy is 11 of 142 in military ranking.
      It seems to me that you no longer have an empire, by the way.

  12. This place does look like a rich one.

    1. These politics or political news have become garbage globally because people are moving to different places. There is no fear these days. The common man is taking pleasure in daily life which is what I see. The suffering for production and investment will be tough and financial burden will be there for the opposite.

  13. Why not save a whole gaggle of bees by not getting on the horrid planes (which will fly anyway without you) to any of the remaining races this year? We don’t want to watch drivers who don’t want to be there.

    On that note, Grumpy Greedy Grandad could go to his beloved Aston Martin right away, and we can can all have a good laugh seeing if Alpine can recruit a driver at short notice instead of losing them…

  14. I agree with Vettel on most things but this is ridiculous. In view of all the flights than go on the world especially those by private jet, banning this one fly past is going to make little difference.

    1. Military jets burn way more fuel and it’s not essential. The other flights, etc are essential to F1 hosting a race.

      Vettel anyway drove to the GP from Switzerland so he can say what he wants and it isn’t hypocritical.

      1. The F1 races are not essential , and the hypocrites are not essential too.

  15. Part of me just wonders if he felt he had to say it on the basis that he didn’t it be would feel it impacts all the stuff he previously did/said on environmental matters.

    Just feels like that if he is not careful he is slowly backing himself into a corner, where he gains followers/attention through his unobtrusive and principled environmental work but then he feels pressured to continue doing it to keep people happy and retain credibility within that community. I have always got the impression that he doesn’t care about what other people think about him though!

  16. Vettel was 100% right. The flyby was just not essential to a F1 race and was a pointless source of emission.

    As someone who drove from Switzerland to the race and is cutting back his own emissions as much as possible it is probably frustrating to have jets burn through tons of fuel for nothing but show.

  17. Vettel’s comments would have been fine with me if he had’nt stooped to childish insults “I mean, he’s about 100 years old”. Guess it’s ok for us to make comments about Seb based on his appearance now, right?

    1. Ho did not told that to Queen Elizabeth and Red Arrows in Silverstone.
      Vettel was a desrespectful and rude host in Italy.

  18. Mark in Florida
    12th September 2022, 2:24

    Oh man Seb is tripping hard! There’s more CO2 coming out of his mouth with all that inane talking than those jets produced. I’m just about worn out with his talk. Does he swim to Austin Texas for the grand prix? Of course not he flies like everyone else does. I’m tired of these do not as I do, do as I say people. Worry more about WW3 Seb.

  19. Vettel is a hypocrite, flying around the world in private jets then criticizing a short flypast which incidentally was not for his enjoyment, it was for the thousands of fans who attended the event. I think I it was great!

  20. Print it on your greenik shirt, then keep wobbling about.

  21. Seb would have the right to speak out about these problems if he came to Monza on a horse-drawn cart built by Greta herself…
    But… methane horses produce from their rears and manure are no less dangerous for the climate!

  22. Maybe Vettel should get a few things right first, for example, F1 didn’t ban flyovers due to carbon emissions but, in the wake of the Ukraine – Russia war, to remove any military show of force. The Frecce in Italy (same as the Red Arrows in the UK) are independent of the military and therefore they were allowed by F1.

  23. Relax Captain Planet. You’re about to have 20 gas guzzling machines drive in a circle for an hour and half. Crying about the fly-by isn’t a great look.

  24. Vettel is absolutely right but he too is 50 years old and retiring from F1 and maybe he should just go take care of his bees as he cannot win anymore ;)

  25. The disparaging remark about the president’s age was probably a little off but otherwise Seb’s right. The way his simple observation has triggered so many here gives me little hope for humanity… Extremes at either end of the spectrum are unhelpful for anyone. Environmentalism is about doing things better and minimising your impact. Sure the single flyover is a drop in the ocean in terms of carbon emissions. But so is the individual car of the billions on roads around the world. It all adds up! It’s just not the direction F1 said it would take. I think that’s the frustration Seb feels and has expressed.

    1. The spinning ex pilot was frustrated after having polluted for years and taking a lot of money from Saudi Aramco?
      Respect for the President Mattarella, sandals with socks dude…

  26. …said one of the racers in a motor race.
    Guess everyone, crews,racers fans arrived via magic carpet

  27. The point to me was that F1 promised to do something and then overturned it on the say-so of one guest, without considering the opinions of anyone else or the relative merits of the notion. Difficult to trust an organisation which breaks its word like that.

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