Sebastian Vettel told to apologise for comments about Italian president

Sebastian Vettel will retire at the end of the season.

President of the Automobile Club de Milano, Geronimo La Russa, wants Sebastian Vettel to apologise for what he believes are disrespectful comments made ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

Formula 1 plans to go carbon neutral by 2030, and one of the first steps towards that was banning flyovers ahead of races in 2022.

They therefore placed ban on all “military” aircraft flying over racetracks, but there is a fairly big loophole in that rule.

If a country insists that an aircraft is not to be considered military, then a flyover ahead of that race will be permissible.

READ: ‘A fall in style’: Sebastian Vettel slammed after insulting president of Italy

The Italian Grand Prix is known for its vibrant atmosphere, the passionate tifosi, and aircraft that fly over the start/finish straight ahead of the start of the race.

They emanate smoke in the colours of the Frecce Tricolore, the Italian flag, but the production of carbon dioxide is something the pinnacle of motorsport is trying to phase out.

Vettel often campaigns for ecological awareness, so he was not impressed that the pre-race spectacle took place.

President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, is said to have requested that the pre-race tradition be observed, but the four-time world champion spoke about against the celebrations.

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“I heard the president of Italy was insisting to have the fly-by, I mean, he’s about 100 years old, so maybe it’s difficult for him to let go of these kind of ego things,” said Vettel, as per

“The fly-bys, we were promised that they are gone and it seems that the president just has to change his mind and F1 gives in despite the boards around the track about certain goals when it comes to making the world a better place.”

Vettel therefore feels that all countries should set an example by honouring the fly-by restriction, regardless of their standing in F1.

“If you have a goal then you shouldn’t do like all the countries and just neglect the fact that you won’t achieve it, you should stick to the word you put out. But time will tell,” he stated.

Vettel is a former Ferrari driver, so he can appreciate the atmosphere as much as the next racer, but he believes it is do-able without the unnecessary production of carbon dioxide.

“It is a great circuit, a great atmosphere, [but] I hope they stop doing the fly-bys,” he explained.

President of the Monza Circuit, Giuseppe Redaelli, affirmed that the planes used this year contained 25 percent biofuel, and La Russa suggested that Vettel showed a lack of respect to the country he was visiting.

“A fall in style. I was always taught that the president of the Republic is listened to and not commented on, especially if you are a guest of a foreign country,” he said, quoted by

“The overflight of the Frecce Tricolori are an Italian pride. And even yesterday in Monza they confirmed themselves as one of the most awaited and applauded attractions. 

“A liking that also concerns those who followed the Grand Prix on television and certified by the flood of likes that the posts published on Social with the Frecce Tricolori protagonists have obtained and continue to obtain.”

Vettel’s first-ever win came in Monza with Toro Rosso in 2008, and he added two more successes there in 2011 and 2013 with Red Bull.

The German took the acclaim of the Ferrari fans on the infamous podium three times in red, so La Russa is especially disappointed with the 35-year-old.

READ: Sebastian Vettel admits to ‘chat’ with Red Bull about partnering Max Verstappen

“It is unfortunate that a former world champion, who moreover won his first GP precisely in Monza, has slipped on a controversy as useless as it is specious,” he added.

“It only remains for him to apologize to President Mattarella and to all Italians.”

Vettel suffered an early reliability failure in Italy on Sunday.