Sebastian Vettel has revealed that his Red Bull F1 demo run at the Nurburgring Nordschleife was aimed at inspiring people to have fun “in a more responsible way.”
Almost a full decade after sealing his fourth and final World Championship with the team, Vettel was reunited with his 2011 title-winning RB7 car on Saturday at the Red Bull Formula Nurburgring event.
Having brought the curtain down on his glittering career at the end of 2022, Vettel was the main attraction at the extravaganza and became the first man to drive a contemporary F1 car on the fearsome Nordschleife since his boyhood hero, Michael Schumacher, in 2013.
Sebastian Vettel returns to a Red Bull F1 cockpit
Vettel was joined at the Nurburgring by current AlphaTauri star Yuki Tsunoda, with David Coulthard also appearing as a late stand-in for Daniel Ricciardo, who suffered a broken hand at the recent Dutch Grand Prix.
Former grand prix stars Ralf Schumacher, brother of Michael, and Gerhard Berger also participated in the festivities.
Having wowed the crowd in historic F1 cars – including Nigel Mansell’s title-winning 1992 Williams FW14B – at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July, Vettel’s appearance was the latest step in his Race Without Trace initiative, intended to raise awareness of the benefits of sustainable fuels.
Speaking in a video posted to his Instagram account, Vettel expressed his joy at being reunited with one of his old cars – but reinforced the serious message behind his visit.
He said: “Today, you can see it’s packed. A lot of people. I think the turnout is 30,000 just in this section, which is amazing. A lot of flags, so thank you very much for the support.
“It’s a great way to keep telling our story of Race Without Trace and explain to people why I care.
“A lot of people came and I really enjoyed it. I had a blast.
“[I hope] the fun that I have inspires people to think of what fun they want to have, or do have, and probably can have in a more responsible way.
“It might be small steps we’re taking at a time but they’re all worth it.”
Speaking to media including PlanetF1.com’s Sam Cooper during his Goodwood appearance, Vettel outlined his fear that F1 could be at risk of potential worldwide government bans on motorsport as a measure to combat climate change.
He said: “I think it’s a threat that at some point governments will be looking at things that they can cut and ban and maybe motorsport is a threat and might be one of them. That’s how far I’m thinking.
“And I don’t want that to happen, to be clear, because I think it’s a great sport. You will see a lot of people turning up today, loving to be here, having a blast, so it will be a shame if we would lose that because we just simply can’t afford it anymore.”
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