‘If Vettel thinks he’s an environmental sinner, he has to stop’

Jon Wilde
Sebastian Vettel wears his Miami underwater T-shirt. United States, May 2022.

Sebastian Vettel wearing a Miami 2060 underwater T-shirt in the pit lane. Miami May 2022.

Sebastian Vettel has been urged to retire from Formula 1 if his conscience is getting the better of him over the sport’s impact on the environment.

The four-time former World Champion has become an outspoken campaigner on a variety of issues, and attracted plenty of attention with a recent appearance on BBC TV political debating programme ‘Question Time’.

During that show, Vettel admitted he had questioned whether he should even be still be racing in F1, saying: “When I get out of the car, of course I’m thinking as well ‘is this something we should do, travel the world, wasting resources?’”

The 34-year-old was responding to a question about whether being involved in F1 made him a hypocrite when placed alongside his environmental concerns, to which he replied: “It does, because there are questions I ask myself every day and I’m not a saint.”

Walter Rohrl, the two-time former World Rally Champion, thinks the Aston Martin driver should perhaps seriously consider his future to avoid such moral conflict.

“I once wondered what happened to him,” Rohrl told Bild am Sonntag, quoted by Motorsport-magazin.com.

“But if after 15 years in motorsport I come to my senses and now think I’m an environmental sinner, then I have to stop – that’s enough!

“He can’t whine that he wants to do something for the environment and fly around the world in Formula 1 at the same time. You have to consistently live your life according to that.”

Röhrl thinks Vettel’s ability would not be affected by his focus on environmental protection but that his motivation could dwindle in a “business of thousandths of a second”.

With the former Red Bull and Ferrari racer potentially readying himself to retire at the end of this season, the 75-year-old winner of the World Rally Championship in 1980 and 1982, for Fiat and Opel respectively, wants to see his compatriot exit the sport “intact and healthy”.

“I like him and from my point of view, I hope he doesn’t abseil off motorways as Greenpeace keep doing to paralyse public transport,” added Rohrl.


Vettel has scored five points so far this season in what has been a disappointing campaign for Aston Martin, with a further two added by his team-mate Lance Stroll.

The duo will try to improve their fortunes at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where Stroll was involved in a heavy crash last year due to a tyre blowout.