Sebastian Vettel branded a ‘hypocrite’ by Canadian minister after fresh F1 protest

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Sebastian Vettel has come under fire from Alberta’s Energy Minister Sonya Savage for his “hypocrisy” in fighting against climate change while still racing in F1. The four-time world champion has taken on an activist role in recent years to raise awareness of climate-related issues.

Vettel wore a t-shirt which read “Miami 2060 – 1st Grand Prix Underwater – Act Now or Swim Later” at the inaugural American race back in May, referring to the rising sea levels around the world. And ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, Vettel has taken aim at the mining operations in Alberta.

He arrived earlier in the week wearing a t-shirt which read “Stop Mining Tar Sands” along with a picture of a pipeline. Vettel also debuted a new helmet with a similar message on it, calling it “Canada’s climate crime”.

But his activism hasn’t sat well with Canadian politician Savage, who mocked Vettel for his “hypocrisy” as an F1 driver. “I have seen a lot of hypocrisy over the years, but this one takes the cake,” she tweeted.

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“A race car driver sponsored by Aston Martin, with financing from Saudi Aramco, complaining about the oilsands. Saudi Aramco has the largest daily oil production of all companies in the world.

“It is reputed to be the single largest contributor to global carbon emissions, of any company, since 1965. Rather than demonizing the oilsands, which is on a path to net-zero, people could look to lowering their own personal carbon footprint. Perhaps a pedal-car for Formula 1?”

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Vettel accepted that he was a “hypocrite” when asked about his activism role while still racing in F1 when he appeared on BBC programme Question Time. But, speaking in Friday’s press conference, Vettel doubled down on his stance against Canada’s exploitation of the tar sands.

He said: “I find this – fascinating might be the wrong word – but there’s a lot going on. We live in a time and age where we are so much aware of a lot of things. I think what happens in Alberta is a crime because you chop down a lot of trees and you basically destroy the place just to extract oil and the manner of doing it with the tar sands mining, oil sands mining is horrible for nature.

“Obviously Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions have gone up since they started doing it. The site has only been, as far as I read, found like 20 years ago. The prime minister said that no other country would find these resources and not pick them up; I think in principle every country and every person has their opinions and their stance. My personal opinion is I disagree.”

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