Sainz: Silverstone protestors could have been killed

Michelle Foster
Carlos Sainz does an interview in the bull pen. Imola April 2022

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz does an interview in the bull pen. Imola April 2022

Taking to the Silverstone track in a protest, Carlos Sainz says those people could have been “killed” last Sunday by causing a serious accident.

Last Sunday’s British Grand Prix was marred by a horrific accident for Zhou Guanyu, the Alfa Romeo driver lucky to have walked away after his car was flipped upside down, flew over a tyre barrier and hit a catch fence.

The crash meant the race was red flagged just corners in, and that in itself provided fortune as seven protestors had run onto the circuit.

The marshals were quickly on hand to not grab the protestors but also warn the drivers of the danger.

Sainz on the radio to Ferrari as he drove past them: “Ah what are these guys doing! These spectators coming on the track. There was some spectators coming on the track before Turn Six.”

The protestors were arrested, the race restarted and Sainz went onto claim his first-ever Formula 1 grand prix victory.

However, it is a day that could have had a much more sour note to it he says.

“I think people have the opportunity to speak out and demonstrate wherever they want because that’s a right,” said Sainz. “I just don’t think it’s the best way to jump onto a Formula 1 track and put yourself and every other driver in danger.”

The protestors were from ‘Just Stop Oil’, a group that bills itself as ‘a coalition of groups working together to ensure the Government commits to halting new fossil fuel licensing and production’.

But, as Sainz pointed out, Formula 1 is already doing its part for cleaner greener engines.

“I think Formula 1 is already doing a great job trying to become carbon neutral by 2030,” he continued. “We are pushing this area and pushing Formula 1 and the FIA to find ways in that direction.

“I just don’t think jumping onto a Formula 1 track is the right way to draw attention and protest. You have to be a little more careful because you could get killed or cause an accident.”

That’s a sentiment echoed by former driver turned pundit Karun Chandhok.

“If they had actually done any research, they would realise that F1 engines are the greenest on the planet and are setting the standard for the road car industry,” he said.

“Plus, with the research funding for fossil free fuels, we’re actually leading the solution, not the problem!”