Vettel: Technology designed to ‘steal’ our time

Date published: August 23 2020

Sebastian Vettel PA

Sebastian Vettel is well known for being social media shy and writing an essay of notes, but that’s the way he will always be.

Formula 1 has in recent years tried to increase its digital presence, giving fans a greater insight into the sport and its personnel through social media.

But Vettel has always been old school, staying away from all that and also looking after his own affairs rather than using a manager.

He also continues to scribble down notes relentlessly at a race track, though he still thinks he doesn’t write down enough.

“In general I love to take notes,” he told the F1 website.

“I take digital notes with an iPad a bit now, but I prefer just pen and paper. When you write with a pen, it’s like you write it into your head, you remember it.

“Also, these days, the hardware in the iPad or computer changes so often and while I’m very organised in life, with that stuff, I’m not so organised.

“So I don’t have folders to keep for the next generation of computer/platform, and so a lot of the stuff gets lost. But if I write it down, I’m not going to chuck the notebooks away, I still have notebooks from 2007 and so on. They are useless now, but they are still there. They are all stacked up in a bookshelf.

“I should write down a lot more, it is important to make the time.

“My idol is [German race and rally legend] Walter Rohrl. He said any lap you didn’t write down is a lost lap, a waste, so in his terms, I’m a bit wasteful, but it’s impossible to remember everything.”

In fact, Vettel believes most technologies are designed just to “steal” time away.

“I’m quite a fan of the written word. I get the whole point of emails but I think the actual letter is very nice, and very personal,” he said.

“A lot of the stuff is designed to actually steal your time to get you hooked. It annoys me, so I’m not a fan of that. Ultimately there is no solution, there is only yourself, and your behaviour with the tools you have and the funny thing is that a lot of the stuff is designed to make life simpler and give you more time, but it actually does the opposite, it makes it complicated.

“I use the stuff, and I think some of the stuff is great, but sometimes I wish it didn’t exist so there wouldn’t be the temptation. So I think it’s a fine line. It allows us to do a lot of stuff, so generally it’s progressive and happy to go forward – I don’t think we should go back to only pen and paper but I just think as a side effect, it speeds up life in areas where it shouldn’t and that’s not good for us, for the bigger picture, for our stress and our health.”

Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen chilled

Head on over to the Formula 1 store for all your official Sebastian Vettel merchandise

As for his avoidance of social media, Vettel plans to stick to that because then there is no way of “missing it” and getting hooked as some people around him have done if he doesn’t try it out.

“I’m not big on apps, so I don’t have lots of apps on phone,” he said.

“I don’t do social media and also don’t do the social media apps, so I am not following other people.

“I never tried it and I think it’s a good thing because a lot of people tell me they can’t get away from it. I have never tried it so I’m not missing it. I’ve seen how it works with other people roughly and as far as I can tell, it’s done in a way that obviously you’re addicted. So yeah. Not for me.”

But, while he doesn’t have many apps on his phone, Vettel does have the latest iPhone.

It was the camera which he was really after, but has said he went back to a digital camera because he doesn’t like the idea of all these features being in one device.

“I do. To be honest, the main motivator for that is for the camera,” he said when asked if he has the latest iPhone.

“I tried to go back to digital camera because I hated the fact you could do everything with your phone.

“I would say the coolest thing about the phone is maps. I really love directions and stuff like this. And then the pictures, which allows you to capture a moment, especially with kids and so on. I think that’s great. It’s also very small. I went back to a digital camera, but it’s quite clumsy to have in your pocket.

“How many times does your phone ring in a day? Almost never. And it’s supposed to be a phone and now it’s doing everything else.

“What I mean is, if it’s an emergency, you get hold of people, but nowadays we treat everything as if it is an emergency, but we actually don’t act the same way about it. People send an email and they want a reply straight away, but it’s not important. Not all the emails are important.”

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