Vettel felt he had to speak out on Russian invasion

Mark Scott
Sebastian Vettel at the Circuit de Catalunya. Barcelona February 2022

Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel at the Circuit de Catalunya. Barcelona February 2022

Sebastian Vettel has said that silence was simply not an option for him in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The four-time World Champion is often a person you can turn to for some rationality and reason in a world where nothing seems to make much sense.

And, when it came to reacting to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it came as no surprise to see Vettel be the first in the world of Formula 1 to take the strongest of stances, making it categorically clear that he would not be racing at the Russian Grand Prix if it was to go ahead.

Since Vettel’s comments, Formula 1 has terminated Russia’s contract to host a race, but technically Russian and Belarusian drivers are still allowed to compete under a neutral FIA flag, at time of writing.

Individual governing motorsport bodies are beginning to follow the recommendations from the International Olympic Committee a little more strongly, with the likes of the UK and Finland being amongst the first to outright ban Russian and Belarusian drivers from racing in events in their respective countries.

That would mean no Nikita Mazepin at the British Grand Prix.

But while everyone will have a opinion and attitude on the current world events, not everyone is willing to share them or be too strong with their words. For Vettel, though, that was not a problem.

“I think everyone has an attitude,” Vettel said, as quoted by

“The question is whether everyone always dares to share the attitude.

“I’m not shy about that, quite the opposite. I think there are certain topics where you can’t remain silent.

“It’s a strange feeling to even get out of bed when you start the day with the news, to motivate yourself when you know exactly that there are things that are much more important. Innocent people are already having to die. You can’t imagine the situation.

“I don’t think there’s a winning side to this kind of thing. [It is an] absolute shock, and I think the consequence is very clear.

“Values and morals should come before everything else. Business is not important at all in that respect.

“If people go to war and die, I can’t imagine that at all. I, like everyone else, sat there and learned a lot in history class and listened a lot. I found it all very interesting, what happened.

“I still think it’s extremely important to continue to have these things in your conscience and to continue to be made aware of them. You can’t forget things like that. And you become all the more aware of such things now.

“As I said, there was hope that things would settle down. It’s terrible that it’s now getting out of control.”


Vettel had some more scathing words when he was asked if he had a message for the rest of Europe as Russia’s attacks continue, saying: “I can’t speak for Europe. But I think I’m as European as many others. In that respect [I am] very, very shocked.

“I wish it would settle down after all, but some people seem to be possessed by madness.

“They have, I think, their own truth and their own reality. That then others have to suffer for it and be punished with their lives, that doesn’t make sense.”


PlanetF1 Verdict


Vettel’s strong stance must be followed

Sebastian Vettel's strong stance should be followed by others.