Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Monza, 2022

Vettel told to apologise over Italian GP fly-by comments

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In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel has been told to apologise for his criticism of Italian president Sergio Mattarella over last week’s pre-race fly-by at Monza.

In brief

Vettel draws criticism over comments on Italian president

Following Sunday’s race Vettel complained the pre-race air display created unnecessary carbon emissions and claimed it only happened because the 81-year-old president requested it. “He’s about 100 years old, so maybe it’s difficult for him to let go of these kind of ego things,” said Vettel.

La Russa, who claimed the aircraft used a 25% biofuel mix to reduce emissions, accused Vettel of a “polemic that offends the president of the republic and all of us”. Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, La Russa said Vettel should “apologise to president Mattarella and to all Italians.”

Kyle Busch teases Indy 500 entry following big career move

Two-times NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch will change teams next year, ending a 15-year spell driving Toyotas for Joe Gibbs Racing and freeing him to make a long-awaited IndyCar debut.

He will move to Richard Childress Racing, a team that runs Chevrolets and opening up the possibility that Busch could enter the Indianapolis 500 in a car powered by a Chevrolet engine

“That’s in the deal, I made sure it was in the deal,” he said at the announcement of his team switch when asked if he was now allowed to try out IndyCar, as his current team and its manufacturer affiliation has prevented it from happening to date.

“I can go run it if I want to run it. By all means, any IndyCar teams that are Chevrolet, call me up.”

W Series’ Babickova injures spine, rival Marti replaces her in F3 test

W Series racer Tereza Babickova will miss the next round in Singapore after she injured her spine just a lap into her Formula Regional European Championship debut at the Red Bull Ring last weekend.

Babickova spun on a kerb and crashed while behind the safety car in wet conditions, ruling her out of the next day’s race, as well as this week’s all-female FIA Formula 3 test at Magny-Cours and the next W Series race in October once the extent of her injury was revealed.

Her W Series rival Nerea Marti will take her place in the private FIA F3 test, organised directly by the championship as a way of increasing the chance of women racing its car in the future.

Hamilton hopes monarchy has “bright future” after queen’s death

Lewis Hamilton said “it was an unusual experience” to find out about the death of Queen Elizabeth II during the Italian GP weekend, and he shared his honest thoughts on the British monarchy after qualifying on Saturday.

“All of us have grown up with knowing the royal family and watching closely, and I remember as a kid I adored Princess Diana,” he said. “And that affected me a lot [her death], I remember.

“Now just thinking like, what does that mean, we won’t have a queen now ever in our lifetime. And what does that now mean for the monarchy? I hope that there’s a bright future up ahead still. There’s lots of positive things and changes that the royal family and the government can do in the future.”

Hamilton said he deliberately waited before acknowledging the queen’s death on social media. “Everyone was posting immediately afterwards. I was like, how has everyone had time?

“I wanted to take some time to think about it, and I was looking at all these amazing images of her, she was so stylish. And that was the part I really loved, her style and her jewels. So I was looking at all these incredible images through her whole life.”

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Comment of the day

Has F1’s efforts to improve the quality of racing this year shown Liberty Media’s gimmicks aren’t needed?

These rules have proved to be great for close racing and will surely only get better as the team’s performance level out. We don’t need any gimmicks or novelty sprint races, just leave the rules as they are and let them close up to each other.

Any more drastic changes will only open up the possibility of another Mercedes era which will ruin the sport. They should also experiment with weakening DRS with the aim to get rid altogether.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Gwenouille, Evered7 and Paul555!

On this day in motorsport

  • 20 years ago today Dario Franchitti won the CART IndyCar race on the Rockingham oval ahead of Cristiano da Matta

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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63 comments on “Vettel told to apologise over Italian GP fly-by comments”

  1. That comment by Hamilton is just shocking. I’m not British but all that unbelievable fanfare about the queen and the new king is funny and confusing at the same time. Who cares about these old people really. Monarchy should be abolished even if it’s just decorative everywhere in the world. What a sad remnant of our tragic past.

    1. What people outside of constitutional monarchies somehow aren’t able to understand is that we judge our monarchy on what it is today, not what it was hundreds of years ago. We have our monarchy because we believe it is a force for good in this country and beyond. To abolish it would lead to financial losses, a reduction in our ability to implement foreign policy and lower morale around the nation.

      I wonder what other institutions you would extend your line of thinking to? In the 1930s the neurologist Egas Moniz won the nobel prize after he invented the prefrontal lobotomy and this procedure was carried out on possibly 10s or 100s of thousands of people who had nothing wrong with them. So today we should abolish the field of neurology.

      Konrad Lorenz was another nobel prize winner who investigated imprinting in geese and used his position to argue in favour of eugenics as a psychologist in the nazi’s office of racial policy. Psychology can be dropped too.

      The US government has fumbled from mistake to mistake with its aggressive foreign policy and has been enacted political repression and state terror far more recently than anything the monarchy has been involved in. I won’t get carried away and say we should throw all of democracy away, just the US government.

      Or instead we could learn from the past and strive to do better for tomorrow, just as the monarchy has already proven it can and will do.

    2. Not sure if this is the appropriate place to be making anti-monarchy comments? I mean it’s Hamilton, a Brit, making a comment about a passing of a national icon within a historic British institution and how it affected him during the Italian Grand Prix. I mean, you even said yourself you’re not British so…

      Isn’t this what Reddit is for or something? Or Twitter?

      1. I wasn’t aware there was an “allowed topics to discuss” list in RaceFans.

        1. How about… race?

          1. I’m a fan of all races.

      2. That monarchy did or try to aggressively occupy most of our countries. She (rest in peace) never was sorry. I’m sorry, but this monarchy is just an internal British problem as much as Putin doesn’t affect lives in Ukraine. You could say this if England always remained in England. But is this the place to talk about it? I guess not, but in truth, Hamilton started it (kinda), so maybe I’m wrong. In any case, people need to understand different perceptions and historical context. In your case, just visit India and talk to people, see how they live…

    3. Lewisham Milton
      14th September 2022, 1:32

      Treason. Orf with his head.

    4. Iosif, I went back to read the comments by Hamilton again because I thought we must have been looking at different pages. Please explain what exactly you found to be “just shocking” about what he said. “Who cares about these old people really” you ask. Well clearly a lot of people do, and what does their age have to do with it? Are you going to write me off because I’m old too? No-one ever said you have to care, but that doesn’t give you the right to deny other people their genuine feelings.

      1. Quite simply, given the story of his life, being underprivileged and basically becoming one the greatest the sport has seen only because his father was doing 3 jobs and pouring everything in his career, I find it shocking that we would say “I hope that there’s a bright future up ahead still” for an institution that is passed on by birth right. To me, as a fan, this contradicts to everything that I feel he stands for outside of the track.

        I don’t deny people’s feelings, I just think that these feelings need to be challenged and people need to wake up. 90 or 95 years of age is too old to be head of state. It wouldn’t happen if the position wasn’t for life (another thing I say exception for). Now people are bowing to a 76 year old “king” for what? What did he really achieve in his life besides being the first born of the “queen”. What did even that queen do for the people at least in the last 30 years that I remember besides spending getting even richer on the taxpayers money and spending vast amounts of to lawyers and settlements it to protect a “child” of hers that was most definitely part of a ring that prostituted young girls? Absurd for a modern democracy all that…

        1. @afonic – The kings (and Queens) of today aren’t the same as in the past where they had it all and you as normal person only dirt. They got paid for a service and maintaine of property which is over the total budget of Great Brittan peanuts but you have something to prevent shady politicy taken everything over and put it in their pockets.

          Countries with a president don’t have that protection and they costs even more.. because they have 4 years to fill their pockets…..

          Lewis is knighted so offcourse he is going to say something about the passing of the Queen. This has nothing todo about his upbringing and how he is now.

          We have a saying here in the Netherlands: Never say bad things about a deceased person (how bad that person was or did is not important)

          The king to be does something as he is a diplomate for his country and that is a really big job ask any ambassadors.

          1. @macleod it’s really a moot point to compare a king to a politician. Politicians might be corrupt or bad but they get elected, they have a certain term and can be held accountable. A “king” is not elected, has no term and doesn’t really answer to the law in order to “protect” the institution.

            A diplomat has spend years studying law and political sciences, rising through the ranks and maybe one day makes it to ambassador. To compare them is like saying that the ambassador of Netherlands in the United States should have a life term, and when he dies his first born becomes the ambassador regardless of education, skill, intellect or even common decency. And he stays in the embassy for free, getting paid a huge amount for “serving” the Dutch people. That’s how absurd monarchy in 2022 sounds.

          2. @afonic I do see your point and I agree that there seems to be contradiction between Hamilton’s feelings towards the royal family on one side and his working class upbringing, but also his eye for his roots and him being vocal about equality on the other side. I guess nobody’s perfect anyway, and today’s society (to me) seems to be too focused on people (especially those in the spotlights) to be completely consistent in their feelings, thoughts and actions – so I won’t judge Lewis over it.

            Beside that I do feel that, given that there’s plenty of attention (and rightly so) for the warmth and joy Queen Elizabeth gave to millions of people, it ís the right moment to also reflect on the darker colonial parts of her long reign. Not to badmouth her majesty now she has passed away, but rather to establish how far we came and to look forward on how we can improve further.

          3. @afonic Just to let you know, the UK legally considers senior Royals to be politicians. They happen to use somewhat different means to exercise the power permitted to them by Parliament than the Parliamentarians do, but they are a category of politician.

            Thus, it is not only not moot, but a potentially productive comparison point (regardless of one’s general political views).

    5. @afonic A monarch is the worse idea for a head of state except for all the others. The idea that the UK will be better off with an elected president given all the political divisiveness is moronic. It certainly wouldn’t be cheaper either!

      By all means come up with your theoretical reasons against monarchy in general and write them down for us all to read, but just realise that nothing you have said here will have changed anybody’s mind.

    6. Not sure I would use the word “shocking” to describe it, but I admit i was a bit surprised as well to read this @afonic.

      I guess it shows how we are all complicated human beings.

      To me, I actually prefer something like the outdated thing a (constitutional) monarchy is over having a polictally chosen president. And I say that as someone from a country with a Monarch as official head of state who has been living in another country where the last 2 presidents have been going from bad to a complete disgrace in the time I have been here.

      In the end, the head of state is a more or less ceremonial role. At least the monarch in a constitutional monarchy is tied down into that role and doesn’t do politics.

  2. Vettel should tell them where to shove his apology. I’m so sick of having to pay for the military and then when I see them wasting fuel(my money) on sporting events it makes it even worse.

    1. Totally agree with that Darryn. No-one should be above criticism, presidents included. It will be interesting to see if the FIA bosses support the view that Vettel is entitled to express opinions, or if they pressure him into grovelling, and argue that he is bringing the sport into disrepute. I am not anti-military, and I know they have to do a certain amount of flying to keep pilots skills up to date, planes in good working order etc, and maybe they would argue that if they hadn’t done the fly past, they’d have done an equivalent amount of flying elsewhere anyway, but if that’s the case, they should be saying that, in a level-headed response to Vettel’s criticism, not getting on their high horses and saying “how dare you criticise us?”

      1. I generally don’t agree with Seb’s approach considering where he is coming from, but in this case he is right.
        Not that it will save the world, but it is the logic, the attitude and approach that other people will solve the problems and “we” can do as we please. Not going to work in the long run.
        The Fly-By was a total waste and it promotes the logic that who-cares, it’s someone else’s problem.
        Now, let’s get back to racing.

    2. Totally agree. Why do we have to pay for the military. Just let Russia and China govern us!!!!

    3. He can criticize but he is not allowed to insult people.
      He is a guy who made a career, and still is, on a motor sport that is nothing else of wasting resources for entertainment purposes.
      He might be right, but he should express his opinion without saying “I am smart and he is old and stupid”.

      1. Nobody is interested to see a multimillionaire suddenly get all engaged in environmental issues. Hypocrisy at the very minimum. But hey, like Lewis they miss and need a stage now they are no longer in the top spotlight. Little toddlers they are imho

        1. Or perhaps they saw the errors of their ways and are showing in private, with their money, and also in public (so that fans and others that hear/read it, even you) that it’s okay to be on the path towards trying to prevent climate change getting worse than it has to be by now Mayrtion. Not everybody is a cynic, though if one is a cynic themselves I do expect it is hard to believe that.

          1. @bosyber I am sure that he is sincere in his views towards the climate, but it is difficult to see him as principled on this issue as it hasn’t really cost him anything (yet).

            I work in renewable energy and the capital he has at his disposal through earnings (guessing >$100m) could do a LOT if he so chooses. Until this happens though he will have accusations of hypocrisy everything he opens his mouth on the issue, well meaning or otherwise.

          2. The primary objective here is podium, not the memorable content. Lets see him putting his money where his mouth is first.

          3. Eh, Hamilton at least stopped using his private plane, and has also put in effect measures to be climate neutral (yes, there is plenty of discussion about the effectiveness and merit, robustness etc. of such schemes, with some pretty clearly being a scam while others may mean well but aren’t effective, and some might actually be worthwhile under the right circumstances).

            So, that’s at least some assets he put into it. Part of his money goes to the diversity program(s), cleanup, and some environmental (I think cleanup?) efforts if I recall correctly. Since he is not, as far as I am aware, needing to report his balance sheet publicly, we don’t know how much, and what else he’s doing. Do you have more information, or are you assuming?

    4. @darryn I hope he doesn’t apologise for anything other than the ‘old’ remark. Nobody or no thing should be beyond scrutiny and Seb can have the freedom to communicate his stance regardless of whether you or I agree with him.

      To imply Mattarellas’ age makes him impaired I think is unnecessary and somewhat personal. David Attenborough and many others impart knowledge and learn themselves. I wouldn’t be surprised if Seb was somewhat fond of his programmes.

      To ask Seb to apologise to all Italians I think somewhat over the top. I imagine more Italians would like an apology for the Hockenheim 18′ than anything else.

      1. @bernasaurus +1 Great comment.

    5. @darryn I think Seb should apologise for assuming the president was on an ego trip and for calling him about 100 years old, but stand firm on his criticism of the flypast itself. Play the ball, not the player.

    6. Regarding the response to Vettel’s comments. It’s typical of the F1 world. They literally brought in a rule THIS YEAR banning pre-race fly-byes to reduce carbon emissions. But for some completely illogical reason they limited it to military fly-byes and not ones from aerobatic teams, because reasons. It’s like trying to solve knife crime by banning knives being held in your right hand but you can hold one in your left hand.
      Vettel was right to criticise. He shouldn’t have made the age remark though because apart from being unnecessarily insulting, it gave people an easy way to attack the broader point he was legitimately making and so he de-valued his own argument.
      But it’s clear he has had enough of all the [insert naughty word here] from the higher-ups in F1 and in politics in general. You can see his frustration.

  3. Having just been reading an article where Domenicali is suggesting points given for practice 1 & 2, reverse grids and single qualifying laps all for ‘the show’, I did rather giggle at the COTD.

  4. Seann Sheriland
    14th September 2022, 4:07

    No apology required!

  5. Att. editors:

    When you publish your fine articles, I will happily click and read them, knowing I will be well informed. You do not need to paste click-baity headlines onto the articles to make me do that.

    Vettel wasn’t “told” to apologize. An italian politician has said that he finds Vettel’s statements insulting, and that he, in said politicians opinion, should apologize.

    I suppose that if it had been said by Vettel’s employer or wife, the use of “told” would have been justified. Otherwise, not really.

    You really do not need to do this. The quality of your work is enough to lure readers in, as indeed it should be.

    1. Bob C., he was told. Just not by someone with authority to enforce the telling (thus, “ordered to apologise”, for example, would have been inappropriate).

  6. Not sure what to do with the article about the owner of one of the minor sponsors. Especially since he is not 58yo, his house is not in Aa, and he has not been arrested.

    Luckily we still have articles about fly overs and the monarchy.

    1. Yeah, the article does mention (I read it yesterday) that the house of the CEO was raided by police, but indeed they themselves do not comment on any connection to the person having been arrested (of course, that doesn’t mean there’s no connection, nor that there’s not a related investigation).

      The subheading is also from themselves though, and at least not added by jff. I would have preferred a reference to the mentioned motorracing link to the money laundering that the article mentions in relation to the arrested person and an apparent network he was part of, that seems of more clear relevance to this site (until and unless the Jumbo CEO is accused of something like that too).

  7. Jack (in) Daniel’s (job) at McLaren

  8. Red Bull’s funny moments.

    COTD makes a good point on racing quality, but weakening DRS per se would be unnecessary as its effectiveness already is okay for the most time & has been for a long time, so a complete removal instead.

  9. I don’t think that Vettel’s stance is wrong, but imagine if he told the Queen what he told Mr Mattarella, that was way over the top.

    Then, Mr LaRussa – who complained about Vettel on the Gazzetta – is a member of the post-fascist party that are going to win the general elections in 10 days, so this is the subtext…

    1. Vettel do a job that is pure waste of petrol and generate a lot of pollution, moving tons of items and persons around the world. Hypocrite guy.
      You are wrong about La Russa. Not same person.
      Anyway, if Fratelli D’Italia will win the next election, respect the Italians. It’s the democracy, babe.
      Was much more fascist/nazi your Max Mosley, and no one told a world about.

      1. Serena, I’m Italian too. And Geronimo LaRussa is the son of the more famous Ignazio, same (post)-fascist affiliation

        1. So, talis pater talis filius?
          The father of Max Mosley was Oswald Mosley, founder of british fascist party, and Max was the FIA president.
          What’s the problem?
          The problem is that Vettel was disrespectful.
          By the way, the Red Arrows had a flyby at Silverstone and Vettel did not blame them nor criticized the Queen age.

          1. Serena, Geronimo is a senator of Fratelli d’Italia, I’m stating a fact. Anyway, chill out a bit, we agree that Vettel is an hypocrite.

          2. @matt88
            Agreed about Vettel, you are wrong anyway about Geronimo La Russa.
            He is NOT a senator of Fratelli d’Italia.
            As you can see, his father is a senator, not him:

          3. Geronimo did serve in Milan as a member of Alleanza Nazionale, though quite some years ago. You can still tell by the hyperbolic language.

            Anyway, Vettel was tactless and though I’m sure he means well to an extent, hopefully someone tells him that he’s the worst public figure for this campaign. Everything about his career, lifestyle, and wealth hurts the message. He’d do much better funding organisations who share his goals.

      2. Serena: “Vettel do a job that is pure waste of petrol and generate a lot of pollution, moving tons of items and persons around the world. Hypocrite guy.”

        Your logic is flawed. So do you think other sports such as football are greener? Every weekend, thousands of people use cars to go see a completely pointless activity, a pure waste of petrol. What about the Olympics? Is that greener? Thousands of athletes flying in from all corners of the planet, for something that is ultimately pointless? Have you been to the cinema recently? How many car crash scenes did you watch? How many gallons of petrol were burnt up flying film crews to exotic locations for a 30 second scene in a film which is ultimately pointless trivial entertainment. Do you have a car and use it for a day out at the beach?

        I doubt that any of us could claim to be a saint, but just because we currently create a carbon footprint ourselves doesn’t mean we are hypocrites if we say the world could be a better place. An F1 driver asking for that is no more a hypocrite than anyone else.

      3. Serena, the reason most of us have heard about Max Mosley in a motorsport context was that he was quietly advised that his last name would be an absolute bar to participating in any politics above student level (regardless of his actual politics). Whereas in his first motorsport event, the first person who identified him apparently asked him, “Ah, so are you the son of the coach-builder, Alf Mosley?”

    2. I don’t think that Vettel’s stance is wrong, but imagine if he told the Queen what he told Mr Mattarella, that was way over the top.

      That’s why he is an hypocrite, he criticizes where it’s easy to criticize. If he said what he said about the Italian president in the UK, he would have been cancelled straightaway…

    3. @matt88 I can imagine it quite easily, had Queen Elizabeth ever asked for such a thing (she wouldn’t have done because British royalty’s relationship with its military is different to the Italian government’s relationship with its military). Remember that Seb has criticised his own team’s sponsor and at least one other government (when in the home country of both, and when there was rather more danger to him than either Italy or the UK).

  10. I quite like Seb, but I fear that when he is truly free to speak his mind then he may become a really obnoxious “Holier than Thou” type of rich brat.
    Sort of Greta Thunberg with a beard.

    1. It is one thing to criticize the President. But Seb’s disqualification of the President was bald ageism. Not so different from disqualifying somebody for their race, or gender. Simply not acceptable.

  11. Hamilton hopes monarchy has “bright future” after queen’s death…

    So it means the monarchy had a “grim past” before queen’s death?
    We always knew that, thank you Lewis!

    1. No, it doesn’t mean that. It makes no comment on the past at all.

  12. Seb’s already as big a hyppocrite as can be. If he apologises, then he’ll be as big a craven as can be. So I won’t be surprised if he does.

    1. So when he doesn’t apologize, will you eat your words?

      1. Why should I? I never said he will. And words are no edible anyway.

        1. In English metaphor, they are. Hence the English extension of the proverb, “Keep your words soft and tender because tomorrow you may have to eat them”.

          1. You maybe never heard of “literal idioms”? you might check here
            Or in a more academic fashion, Popiel SJ, McRae K. The figurative and literal senses of idioms. J, Psycholinguistic Res 1988; 17:475-87

  13. Will Jack Daniel’s will come out with a 0.0% in compliance with don’t drink and drive? Yummy…

    1. That’s existed for two years already…

  14. Now that Vettel’s talent is nowhere near where it used to be, he things he can grab headlines by being a killjoy and a rebel.

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