With the Azerbaijan Grand Prix approaching, Sebastian Vettel has spoken of the arrival of a gay driver in Formula 1. The German driver believes that such access would be beneficial for freedom of expression in the sport and the motoring world.
After questioning his role as a Formula 1 driver with his possible commitment to the climate, Sebastian Vettel is now researching the issue of homosexuality in motorsport for “Attitude” magazine, of which he is A.
“We can still do more to improve diversity and inclusion in motorsport, not only in terms of sexuality, but also by supporting and encouraging women, people of color, people with disabilities… Formula 1 launched a movement called ‘We race as one’ which is good. But we all need to make a concerted effort to make sure it actually leads to positive change.”
In 2021 during the Hungarian Grand Prix, a country that passed a law banning the invocation, in education, of homosexuality for under-18s, Sebastian Vettel wore a pair of Converse rainbows but also a T-shirt, helmet and mask to support the LGBTQIA+ cause. Like Carlos Sainz, Valtteri Bottas and Lance Stroll, the German was warned not to remove the “We race as one” shirt in time.
“I think and hope our sport is ready for that.”
The Aston Martin driver welcomes the progress the FIA has made in terms of tolerance and believes an ideal driver can integrate the grid. “Maybe it wouldn’t have been the case in the past, but now I think a gay driver in Formula 1 would be welcome – and rightly so. Vettel insists he believes a gay driver will help speed up the elimination of bias and help push our sport in a better direction. So I have Hope, so I would totally welcome a gay F1 driver. And as I said, I think and hope our sport is ready for that.”
However, the four-time Formula One world champion thinks it is ironic that “some members of the driver’s community, if I can call it that, are nonetheless very slow – almost constant – when it comes to progression,” without naming names.
If no drivers are out at the moment, Sebastian Vettel has praised this gradual change of model and is trying to analyze what is driving some gay athletes into hiding. “The reasons can be similar to the situation in a sport like football, for example: the old image of a player or driver as a ‘champion’ must meet a certain set of criteria. But the referee’s criteria are often simply wrong. Who wrote them in the first place? Who should decide?
On May 16, Jake Daniels became the first active English footballer to come out of his homosexuality since 1990. In motorsport, drivers like Hurley Haywood and Danny Watts have also come out, but only retired once.