Sebastian Vettel opens up in a long interview about LGBTQ+ and how it is impacting F1 as he shares his views on the changing times.

The July/August edition of “Attitude” features an intriguing article with four time World Driving Champion Vettel. A front cover feature, the German is well known for his views on anti-gay rights and the LGBTQ+ community.

The publication which is 30 years old has featured many Hetrosexuals persons on its covers from all professions; Arts, Politics and Sport but never a Grand Prix driver. The article goes on to talk briefly about the numbers of drivers who have raced in F1 since its inception; over 700 and mentions those who were known to be Gay (Mike Beuttler), Lesbian (Lella Lombardi) and Bisexual (Mario Cabral).

Furthermore, Soccer player Jake Daniels who came out recently is mentioned. The law passed by the Hungarian PM as per above is mentioned. We go on to read about when Vettel arrived at first practice wearing his famous rainbow top along with face mask and he speaks out in support of those who prefer their own sex.

Staying with Vettel, he goes on to explain the reasons for his own actions and it worked as he appeared on the Sports pages for days after his actions. At the following Grand Prix in Belgium he stood his ground on his actions. The article continues with a brief discussion about the Saudi GP in December where he once more sported his rainbow colours and a brief piece about the fact that it will take a while to change some things and some attitudes also and that some nations have been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

Here’s parts of the interview with Vettel –

F1’s attitude to diversity and inclusivity since 2007 to now:

Vettel: I feel the whole world has changed a lot in that time. There have always been LGBTQ people in Formula One, but I cannot speak for them or say whether they felt they had to hide or not. Certainly, the fact that the wider world has opened up has helped them to come out. So, it’s getting better, and you do now see a few engineers and mechanics who feel able to be more open.

“But there’s still more that we can do to improve diversity and inclusivity in motorsport, not only in terms of sexuality but also by supporting and encouraging women, people of colour, those with disabilities and so on. Formula One has started a movement called ‘We race as one’, which is good, but we all have to make a concerted effort to ensure that it actually achieves positive change; so we act on it rather than just talk about it.”

Homophobia in the sport:

Vettel: “Not directly — but indirectly I have heard people talking negatively about LGBTQ people and the LGBTQ community. Whenever I heard those things being said in the past it always felt wrong, but today I’m more confident to speak up and shut them down. Homophobia is prejudice, and prejudice is wrong. It really is as simple as that.”

Current grid will accept a gay driver:

Vettel: “Yes, I do. Perhaps that wouldn’t have been the case in the past, but now I think a gay Formula One driver would be welcomed — and rightly so. I feel that a gay driver would help to speed up the elimination of prejudice and help push our sport in a better direction. Formula One is a very popular sport around the world. It relates to something that a lot of people do every day on a basic level or, even if they don’t drive themselves, they at least come across regularly: driving — or being driven in — a car.

“Although driving is, in and of itself, dynamic, I regret to say that some members of the driving community, if I can call it that, are nonetheless very slow — static almost — when it comes to progress. Yet progress is inevitable. Cars have changed and will keep changing — for the better. Indeed, drivers have changed and will keep changing — again for the better. So I do have hope, and therefore I would absolutely welcome a gay Formula One driver. And, as I say, I think and hope our sport would be ready for one.

Supporting Lewis Hamilton:

Vettel: “All of us have to make our minds up for ourselves. I’m sure that, as I was and I am, the 18 other Formula One drivers were broadly supportive of Lewis’s aims, whether or not they stood or knelt to show that support. What mattered is that we all showed up and were together. But, yes, I always took the knee, and I usually positioned myself alongside Lewis to do so. He and I see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. For me, it’s very simple: how can anyone think they have the right to dictate to someone else how they should live or whom they should love? The answer is: they don’t have that right. I’m happy to stand up for that principle.”

Maintaining views despite countries not accepting:

Vettel: “Formula One will put on 22 races in 20 countries this year. No country is perfect. My own country, Germany, is imperfect. The country of the team I race for, the UK, is imperfect. As far as LGBTQ rights are concerned, there are some countries that we visit that are much tougher than others — obviously. We could refuse to race in those countries — but what then? If we were not to race there, we’d be powerless to make any positive difference at all. But by racing in those countries and politely, but firmly, standing up for the values and principles that are important to us, I think we can have a positive impact. Values and principles can’t stop at borders.”

Views changing from when he was with Red Bull to now:

Vettel: “I was 19 when I made my Formula One debut [at Indianapolis in 2007]. I’m 34 now. Did you change between the ages of 19 and 34? Yes, you did. We all do. I’m now married, with three children. I’m the same person but obviously my priorities have evolved. I’ve also become more confident. I don’t have to put up with things that I think aren’t right, and I won’t do so.”

Here’s the full interview:

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