Over the last few years, Sebastian Vettel has been vocal about his concerns for the environment with regards to climate change and even admitted the conflict between his beliefs while being part of a fuel-guzzling sport was a factor in his decision to retire at the end of the year.
While Formula One has set ambitious targets to become carbon neutral by the end of the decade, some have questioned how serious the sport is when it recently announced a 24-race calendar for 2023, which could make it the longest in F1 history, up from 22 this year.
The calendar also has failed to keep races in the same geography clubbed together which could have cut down on to-and-fro to Europe where all teams are based.
On Thursday, Vettel called for independent monitoring of F1’s ambitious targets to hold the sport accountable in terms of meeting its target.
“I think big organisations, whether it is business or sports, events, probably need to dare to make a step to find an organisation to control them and if they don't stay within the limitations they put out, then face consequences,” Vettel remarked when asked about F1’ actions which go against its stated claims.
“I think otherwise, we can put everything on a poster and a piece of paper, and it all sounds great, but if it doesn't happen, so what.”
“So I think the real transparent way would be to find an external independent body to police them if they achieve their goals or not. I think that is the only credible way of doing it,” he added.
“There is more interest in F1, there's a bigger chance to make money and it's all fair and valid. But, if you look at the first three races (in 2023), the easy wins would be to save on travel and flights,” Vettel remarked on the decision to have the pre-season testing in Bahrain, followed by the race the next weekend while skipping one weekend before the second round in neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
After Saudi Arabia on March 19, F1 will then travel to Australia for a race on April 2, followed by one in China on April 16.
“Everybody will go there (Bahrain) and come back for three weeks in a row, which is fair because everybody's got family and life wherever they are based. You can't expect people to stay out for eight weeks at the beginning of the season,” he added.
The four-time champion is the most successful driver at the Singapore Grand Prix with five wins and when asked if coming here gives a special feeling, Vettel said, “Maybe a little. I think we are all different. I don't work on the basis of looking back so much. I work more on the basis of looking forward. Obviously next year I won't be here to drive a Grand Prix so it is difficult to grasp in this regard for me.”
Incidentally, Vettel’s last win came here in 2019 with Ferrari and could well be the place of the last win of his career considering his Aston Martin team is unlikely to challenge for wins in the remainder of the season.
“It is one of the challenges I really enjoyed as a driver over the years. It is physically a tough and demanding race. But we have a different outlook this time. We are not here expecting to be amongst the top finishers but it is a track where I can make a difference,” he added.