Vettel: Action against homophobia ‘more important than sport’

Almost outwardly, Sebastian Vettel has straightened his headbands in Ukrainian colours. The F1 superstar then made it clear that neither he nor Lewis Hamilton would allow disturbing remarks by the president of the World League to slow their political commitment. “These issues are more important than us, they are more important than sport. We must continue to draw attention to them and show people that there are many things we can do better,” Vettel said at the start of the guest appearance in Baku on Friday. Hamilton nodded a few seats away.

Shortly before the first practice rounds in Azerbaijan, the FIA ​​president tried to pick up his sentences from an interview that appeared a few days ago. In an interview with the specialist portal grandprix247.com, Mohammed bin Sulayem wondered, among other things, “whether we should constantly impose our beliefs on sports”.

Legends like Niki Lauda and Alain Prost only once cared about driving. “Now Vettel is riding a rainbow bike, Lewis is passionate about human rights and Lando Norris is interested in mental health,” the FIA ​​president said.

Hamilton: I encourage all drivers to express their opinions”

When these phrases hit the ring, they were quickly interpreted as criticism of some of the pilots’ social and societal activities. “It may have been taken out of context, but it doesn’t stop us from what we’re doing,” record holder Hamilton confirmed. Formula 1 is also an important platform for social discussions. “I encourage all pilots to express their opinions,” added the 37-year-old.

To the delight of the Briton, who has just become an honorary citizen of Brazil, the rainbow-colored Mercedes star is engraved on his silver arrow in Baku. The team wants to support the queer community with this. Hamilton criticized progress “too slowly” on diversity.

Vettel was also a role model for the LGBTI movement ahead of the Baku Grand Prix and told Attitude that a gay racing driver would now be welcome in Formula 1 (queer.de reported). The 34-year-old entered the ring again with the mention of a rainbow wheel by the FIFA President. “I don’t have to put up with the wrong things, and I won’t,” Vettel said.

He feels united with Hamilton in his commitment to a better world. Time and time again, the two former world champions turn against racism, homophobia and prejudice, and campaign for climate protection. “We agree on many things,” Vettel said. He doesn’t care if someone in Formula 1, who thinks they’re still quite conservative, thinks it’s a bad commitment to work behind their back.

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIA) president is back

FIFA President Ben Sulayem has been trying hard to get rid of this impression. After all, “sustainability, diversity, and inclusion are one of my office’s top priorities,” the 60-year-old from the United Arab Emirates tweeted. He appreciates “the commitment of all drivers and champions to a better future”.

Twitter / Bin Sulayem
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In the interview, he had previously warned, in the style of many federation leaders such as IOC President Thomas Bach, not to confuse sport with politics. Meanwhile, Ben Sulayem said, motorsport has become “too political” for him.

Political messages tend to be inappropriate for marketers, especially before appearing in a racing series, as in Azerbaijan. In the authoritarian state of President Ilham Aliyev, human rights organizations have repeatedly complained about the arrest and torture of opposition figures and the increasing restrictions on freedom of expression.

Vettel also believes that abstaining from guest shows like Baku, Saudi Arabia or Singapore is the wrong way to go, saying: “If we don’t organize races, we can do absolutely nothing. But if we race in these races. Countries and be polite, but determined. On standing up for what matters, we can make a positive impact. Values ​​and principles know no bounds.” (cw/dpa)

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