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Sebastian: Formula One can help drive societal change now

Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team’s Sebastian Vettel believes both his and Formula One’s powerful platform can help drive positive change in society.

Sebastian Vettel

In 2020, Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton led the charge to inspire change and highlighted racial injustices and a lack of diversity within Formula One.

Formula One itself has undergone significant change, stating that it is "committed to building a more diverse and inclusive sport, breaking down the stereotypes associated with a career in motorsports and encouraging people from all backgrounds to get involved."

Sebastian has also been a continued voice in the push for more sustainability, equality and diversity, reflecting his role as one of the elder statesmen of Formula One, as his role in the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association demonstrates.

The four-time World Champion sat down with journalist and presenter Lee McKenzie to discuss his beliefs, motivations, and a desire to see Formula One maximise its platform to encourage societal change.

Exclusive interview

Sebastian Vettel: Fighting for Change

"Ask questions and don't be shy of making others aware.” This World Environment Day, join Sebastian Vettel as he sits down with Lee McKenzie to discuss some of the causes close to his heart. From sustainability to equality, it's time to take action.

A conversation with Sebastian
A conversation with Sebastian

Here are some of the key talking points from Sebastian and Lee’s conversations.

Lee McKenzie: What does belief mean to you?

Sebastian: "Ultimately, belief is what motivates you to get up and do what you do. I think it's something you need, but it's probably fair to say it is something you don't always have.

"We are human beings, just like everybody else, and sometimes you have more belief than [you do in] other times.

"I think the key is to not lose belief in the big picture and to believe in yourself, your abilities, the team you're racing for and what you can achieve together."

Lee McKenzie: You're becoming increasingly vocal about changes that are happening in the world. Does that come naturally to you?

Sebastian: "It’s maybe more natural at my age today than it is when you are in your early 20s. I think that's probably true for all of us.

"I just think there are some topics that you can't afford to duck anymore, especially in sports. I think sports have always taken in the bigger picture, but in a position where you just wouldn't comment, or you wouldn't take a stand.

"For some topics, you can't do that anymore. We live in a different time.

"There are two big ones. Obviously, one is addressing racism around the world and taking a stand, standing up for what is right, and being outspoken against racism.

I think it's about seeing the chance [to improve]. That's where F1 can be very powerful, if we set the right guidelines and come up with new solutions, then we are all better off.
Sebastian Vettel

"And the other one concerns all of us; the drastic change our climate has taken in the last 100 to 200 years, compared to today, [what we do] with the knowledge of today and what we should do."

Lee McKenzie: Formula One is not a sport that you can do in your back garden, and it does have environmental consequences. Do you think the sport is doing enough?

Sebastian: "Some things cannot be changed overnight, but others can. But I think we can do better.

"I think we can have a better schedule, where we hold the races, and when. I think we can work on the regulations, which mean the cars will create less pollution, or be better in terms of technology for the environment in the future.

"I think it's about seeing the chance [to improve]. That's where F1 can be very powerful, if we set the right guidelines and come up with new solutions, then we are all better off.

"The sport is not suffering, but the opposite is thriving. The cars would be more exciting, the driving would be more exciting, and the experience around the track will be more exciting for the fans.

"It's not easy, and it's not done overnight. But if you never start in the first place, you don't become aware [of the possibilities of change]. Then you don't ask why, and you don't start [to make a change], and it won't happen.

"But in my point of view, it [change] has to has to happen."

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