The world champion took questions from the British public, joined on the panel by comedian Geoff Norcott, Attorney General Suella Braverman, Labour MP Shabana Mahmood, and CEO of the New Economics Foundation Miatta Fahnbulleh.
But what happened when the F1 star chose to appear on Question Time and why did he call himself a ‘hypocrite’ on climate change?
Has Vettel expressed political opinions before?
The 34-year-old has not been shy about expressing his support for a variety of social causes during his career, whether that is on climate change or the ongoing war in Ukraine. At the Grand Prix in Miami earlier this month, he sported a t-shirt which warned: ‘Miami 2060 – 1st Grand Prix underwater – act now or swim later.’
He also wore a rainbow t-shirt with the LGBT+ rights slogan ‘Same Love’ at the Hungarian Grand Prix in protest at the country’s discriminatory laws against the gay community.
In Saudi Arabia – a country notorious for its restrictions on women’s freedom – Vettel set up a female-only karting event to encourage more Middle-Eastern women into the sport.
During the show, he also took a swipe at Prime Minister Boris Johnson over the Partygate scandal and labelled Brexit a ‘mess’.
Why did he call himself a ‘hypocrite’ on climate change?
Vettel spoke openly about the struggles he has faced with his career, balancing his passion for environmental causes with his love for a sport that pumps out 250,000 tonnes of C02 each season.
‘Every time I step in the car, I love it,’ he said. ‘When I get out of the car, of course I’m thinking is this something we should do, travel the world, wasting resources?’
He revealed that frequently considers quitting F1 for this very reason but praised the sport for being so active during the COVID pandemic, offering entertainment to people when there were ‘a lot of people who could not perform’.
‘A lot of people missed that and if we did not have this, in general, we would probably go mad.’
The Aston Martin driver acknowledged that his environmental credentials are somewhat lacking given his choice of career, labelling himself a ‘hypocrite’.
But the driver has also sought to personally make up for his gas-guzzling sport, spending hours clearing up litter left by 140,000 fans at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2021, and enrolling on an organic farming course during the first COVID lockdown.
Previously, Vettel has expressed ‘guilt’ about the impact of his sport on climate change, and has spearheaded changes in the sport – including the now fully-sustainable famous flypast at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
But he also argued that ‘forbidding’ parts of the sport is not the answer.
‘I feel you could say I’m a hypocrite because I am doing something opposite to what I’m saying we need to look out for,’ he told schoolkids on a visit to Nicholas Hawksmoor Primary School last summer.
‘But I think we will not change people’s opinion by forbidding something, so forbidding me to drive the car I think will not have the effect we like.’
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