Vettel: A gay Formula One driver would be welcomed

Michelle Foster
Sebastian Vettel wearing the same love tshirt. Hungary August 2021

Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel wearing the same love tshirt. Hungary August 2021

Sebastian Vettel feels Formula 1 would welcome a gay driver, such has been the progress within the travelling circus.

Vettel, a married father of three, is a staunch LGBTQ supporter so much so that last season he worn the colours of the pride flag to the races several times.

From a T-shirt sporting the words “same love” to a special helmet livery that prominently featured the pride colours, from shoes to face mask, Vettel showed his support and did so in countries with legislation outlawing it.

His activism earned him a spot on gay magazine Attitude’s front cover, the first F1 driver to feature on it.

He told the magazine that he believes Formula 1 has progressed enough that it would “welcome” a gay driver.

“Perhaps that wouldn’t have been the case in the past,” he said, ” but now I think a gay Formula One driver would be welcomed — and rightly so.

“I feel that a gay driver would help to speed up the elimination of prejudice and help push our sport in a better direction.

“Formula One is a very popular sport around the world. It relates to something that a lot of people do every day on a basic level or, even if they don’t drive themselves, they at least come across regularly: driving — or being driven in — a car.

“Although driving is, in and of itself, dynamic, I regret to say that some members of the driving community, if I can call it that, are nonetheless very slow — static almost — when it comes to progress.

“Yet progress is inevitable. Cars have changed and will keep changing — for the better. Indeed, drivers have changed and will keep changing — again for the better. So I do have hope, and therefore I would absolutely welcome a gay Formula One driver. And, as I say, I think and hope our sport would be ready for one.”

Asked if he knew of anyone on the grid, past or present, who was gay, he replied: “No, but I’m pretty sure there must have been some. I guess I wouldn’t know about them because they never came out, which is a shame.”

He added: “I would hope there aren’t any right now, but I guess I’m not the best judge.

“The reasons might be similar to the situation in a sport like football, for example: the old image of a player or driver as a ‘hero’ who should match a certain set of criteria. But the judging criteria are often just wrong. Who wrote them in the first place? Who got to decide?

“For example, ‘men don’t cry’ or ‘don’t show weakness’ — how are those stereotypes in any way related to our performance? Why does our society still shame someone who admits weakness or acknowledges failure? To me, it should be the opposite.

“It takes enormous courage to show your real self rather than hiding behind a facade based on what people expect. We should start seeing and understanding that it’s the diversity in people that made us evolve and pushed us to new heights.”

Earlier this week Mercedes announced that in support of Pride Month the team would be running the cars with a rainbow Pride Star in the next three races.

Mercedes’ multi-coloured logo will not only appear on the Brackley squad’s cars in Azerbaijan, Canada and Silverstone but also on the helmets and overalls of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.