Sebastian Vettel was widely booed by the packed crowd at the Canadian Grand Prix during the drivers’ parade. The Aston Martin driver has used his platform a global sports star to raise awareness on several climate change issues around the world.
He made a statement at the Miami Grand Prix by highlighting a 2019 report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which warned the coastal city will be under water by 2060 due to rising sea levels. And this week has seen Vettel take aim at Canada’s controversial use of oil sands and the operation in place in Alberta.
It appears as though some of those in attendance for Sunday’s race didn’t take too kindly to Vettel’s strong words though and booed the driver as he made his way around the track in the hours before the Grand Prix. Vettel didn’t mince his words in Friday’s press conference, when he called out “Canada’s climate crime”.
“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,” he said. “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.
JUST IN: F1 news: Lewis Hamilton’s retirement hint, Wolff rages at Horner
“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.”
His comments weren’t well received by some Canadian politicians with Alberta’s minister for energy Sonya Savage labelling the German a hypocrite.
“I have seen a lot of hypocrisy over the years, but this one takes the cake,” Savage wrote on Twitter. “A race car driver sponsored by Aston Martin, with financing from Saudi Aramco, complaining about the oil sands.
“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 demonising the oil sands, 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?”