Sebastian Vettel opens up on reasons behind emotional F1 Red Bull RB7 reunion

Oliver Harden
Sebastian Vettel drives the title-winning Red Bull RB7 car in F1 pre-season testing in Spain. Barcelona, 2011.

Sebastian Vettel drives the title-winning Red Bull RB7 car in F1 pre-season testing in Spain. Barcelona, 2011.

Sebastian Vettel has revealed that a determination to show that F1 cars can run just as well on sustainable fuels is the motive behind his Red Bull demo run at the Nurburgring later this year.

Red Bull announced on Wednesday that Vettel will be reunited with the RB7 car with which he claimed the 2011 World Championship at the energy drinks giant’s Formula Nurburgring festival in September.

Vettel, who brought an end to his glittering F1 career at the conclusion of last season, will drive the Adrian Newey-designed car on the historic Nordschleife circuit using a synthetic, carbon-neutral E-fuel.

It comes after Vettel drove Nigel Mansell’s title-winning 1992 Williams FW14B on sustainable fuels at last year’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone as part of his ‘race without trace’ campaign.

Vettel will also drive the FW14B – along with Ayrton Senna’s MP4/8 from 1993, another car from his personal collection – at next month’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The German was a vocal campaigner on environmental issues in the final years of his F1 career and says his desire to prove greener energy alternatives are already readily available in motorsport is the reason behind his decision to get back behind the wheel of a Red Bull.

“Motorsport is my passion,” he said.

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“It’s vital to me to demonstrate that racing cars can perform equally well and rapidly on synthetic, such as CO2-neutral fuel. This is no longer a future concept; it’s happening right now.”

Vettel’s 2014 team-mate and current Red Bull reserve driver Daniel Ricciardo will also appear at the Nurburgring event, driving an RB8 car from the 2012 season.

The appearances of Vettel and Ricciardo will mark the first laps on the Nordschleife, which last featured on the F1 calendar in 1976, since seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher drove a Mercedes at the track a decade ago.

Vettel enjoyed one of the most productive years of his F1 career with the RB7, claiming 11 victories and 15 pole positions to ease to the second of four consecutive titles with Red Bull.

His final margin to runner-up Jenson Button at the end of the 19-race campaign stood at a massive 122 points.

Last month, Vettel made his first move since his retirement from F1 – and reinforced his commitment to environmental issues – by investing in the German national team in the emerging SailGP competition featuring wind-powered boats.

“I see a lot of potential as SailGP starts its fourth season and for the first time with a German team,” he explained.

“Parallels between sailors and Formula 1 have long existed. The boats are fascinating and the speeds on the water are incredibly high.

“The races are exciting and I am happy to be close to them with a motivated group of young sailors. In addition, the series not only uses wind power, but also strives to set new standards in sustainability in sports.”