'Not optimistic': Formula 1 champ's fears sport will 'disappear'

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·Sports Reporter
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Aston Martin F1 driver Sebastian Vettel has called for better environmental regulations in the sport.
Four-time F1 champion Sebastian Vettel says the sport risks becoming irrelevant if efforts are not made to improve its impact on the environment. (Photo by Lars Baron - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Four-time Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel says the sport risks 'disappearing' if serious efforts to make it more environmentally friendly are not taken soon.

F1 is embarking on its biggest calendar in several years this season - an endeavour which involves countless international flights and time spent on the road.

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Vettel has been stepping up his advocacy for the sport to take stronger measure to reduce its impact on the environment, with his latest comments his strongest to date urging action.

Much was made of F1's switch to tubro-hybrid power units back in 2014, but Vettel says while the technology used is exciting, in the real world it is 'useless'.

He argued that with the skill and technical prowess shown by all working in F1, there was no reason why boundaries couldn't be pushed to make the sport green without losing any of the speed, thrill or spectacle.

Speaking to Motorsport Total, Aston Martin driver Vettel said there was absolutely a risk F1 could disappear if they did not take seriously the effect they were having on the environment.

"Sure, and I think it‘s valid because Formula 1 is not green," he said.

“I think we live in a time where we have innovations and possibilities to arguably make Formula 1 green as well, and not lose any of the spectacle, of the excitement, of the speed, of the challenge, of the passion.

“If anything, we have so many clever people and engineering power here, we could come up with solutions."

Vettel said finding ways to develop technology, such as power units, which could be applied for everyday use would make the sport more relevant.

“But the current regulations, I think they‘re very exciting, the (hybrid) engine is super efficient, but it’s useless.

“It’s not going to be an engine formula that you will buy on the road in two years when you decide to buy a new car, for example.

“I think there are certain things that people are talking about for the future of the sport in terms of regulations, that could shift the change and shift into more relevant changes.

“And I feel if they come, that‘s a good thing for Formula 1, and it’s also a vital thing.

“But if they don’t come, I think I’m not so optimistic. If they don’t come, I think that Formula One will disappear. And probably rightly so."

Aussie Oscar Piastri deserves F1 chance: Leclerc

Meanwhile, Vettel's ex-teammate at Ferrari Charles Leclerc went in to bat for Australian rising star Oscar Piastri, with the F2 championship leader looking unlikely to secure an F1 seat.

Debate has erupted among F1 fans about the impact of driver sponsors on the sport, with the talented Piastri losing out on opportunities thanks to more paid up rivals.

Piastri could become just the third driver to win the Formula 3 and Formula 2 titles in back to back years - with Leclerc and Williams ace George Russell the most recent to complete the feat.

F2 rival Guanyou Zhou is widely tipped to get the nod to race for Alfa Romeo next year.

Zhou would be China's first F1 driver and brings with him obvious commercial appeal, although there have been whispers he and Alfa Romeo are at loggerheads over the length of contract being offered.

Australian driver Oscar Piastri is leading the F2 championship, having won the F3 crown last year. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)
Australian driver Oscar Piastri is leading the F2 championship, having won the F3 crown last year. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

Nonetheless Leclerc, who raced for Piastri's Prema outfit in F2 himself, sees no reason why the Melbourne product can't eventually crack into the big time.

"He is a very, very talented driver," Leclerc told the-race.com website.

"He's incredibly consistent, always there when he needs to be.

"It is impressive and he definitely has the merit to be in F1 ... he should be in F1. So, I really hope he will be very soon."

Piastri's 2022 season will be very different if he does claim the F2 title but fails to find a F1 seat.

Under F2 championship rules, Piastri would not be allowed to compete in that category again if he claims the title.

The most likely outcome if that occurs will be Piastri taking on a reserve role at Alpine's F1 team next year, with Friday practice outings throughout the year.

With AAP

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