Four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel believes the series would be “stupid” to “neglect” the current world issues surrounding climate change.
On Tuesday, F1 will announce a major new sustainability push – highlighting the often overlooked efficiency of the current hybrid engines and emphasising the championship’s move towards synthetic fuels in 2021 and beyond.
Vettel says F1 can have a huge influence over people, and it has to take advantage of that position.
“Formula 1 is a worldwide sport,” Vettel told Autosport. “And a worldwide operating platform.
“So with all the facts that are available to us today, you cannot neglect what is happening in the world and ignore what is happening in the world.
“That would be just stupid.
“So it is fair to ask opinions and so on, and obviously a lot of people are following F1 and are inspired by F1, and I think F1 should do a lot more than what we’re currently doing to set a course for the future.
“If you’re black and white [in approach] you say that it’s bad what we do for the environment, because we drive around in cars and we burn fuel.
“Obviously, F1 has the opportunity to develop engine formulas, technologies and so on, that will help us, that will help mobility and transport in the future to make it more efficient, etc.
“At the moment we have a very efficient engine, but it’s questionable how much of that efficiency will find its way onto the road.
“So I think overall F1 does have a responsibility, and I think each one of us has a responsibility to lead, to lead by example, and that is why I feel we should do a lot more.
“We should be the first ones and not just have the highest standards in terms of performance, in terms of cars, in terms of competition, racing, entertainment, but also set the highest standards in terms of thinking ahead and looking after our future, the planet’s future, the future of the sport and all this.
“I think it is all linked.”
Vettel believes synthetic fuels is an area F1 should push, admitting it will not be easy but highlighting the investment manufacturers already make in simply finding performance from F1 engines.
He also thinks F1 should look at introducing “plastic-free paddocks”, adding that the series should be “the first ones, not the last ones” to achieve this feat in world sport.
Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, who has long made clear his position on environmental issues, has welcomed news of F1’s initiative.
“Hopefully you remember I’ve been talking about this stuff for some time now,” he said when asked about the forthcoming announcement by Autosport.
“There’s a bunch of things, I think it’s great that finally F1’s reacting.
“In general that’s what a lot of businesses are doing nowadays.
“They said they were being sustainable by recycling some paper or something like that in their office, but it wasn’t a priority.
“It’s great to hear the new plans they have in place. Of course I’d be supportive of it. A lot of the impact I won’t be around for, but I’d love to be a part of it, and help move the sport forwards.”