Alberta energy minister Sonya Savage has told Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel that he is a hypocrite for questioning the mining of Tar Sands in the region of Canada.
Vettel has long used his position within F1 to campaign for causes such as equality, social justice, and environmental awareness.
The four-time world champion worked with children in Austria last year to create a hotel for bees, and spent the afternoon after the British Grand Prix helping to collect litter in the grandstands.
In Miami this year, he wore a t-shirt warning that the city would be underwater by 2060 if attitudes towards global warming did not change.
The 34-year-old rode in on his bike to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with a shirt that read: “Stop mining tar sands… Canada’s climate crime.”
Vettel is also wearing a helmet this weekend that speaks out against oil drilling, and he emphasised on Friday how harmful oil drilling is.
“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, is horrible for nature,” he said in the press conference.
“There’s so much science around the topic that fossil fuels are going to end, and living in a time that we do now these things shouldn’t be allowed anymore and they shouldn’t happen.
“So it is just in principal to raise awareness.”
Vettel travels the world racing in F1, and his Aston Martin team are sponsored by Saudi Arabian oil firm Aramco, so his comments were perplexing to Savage.
“I have seen a lot of hypocrisy over the years, but this one takes the cake,” she tweeted.
“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.”
Vettel appeared on BBC Question Time a few weeks back, and admitted that he has thought about whether he wants to continue in the pinnacle of motorsport given its impact on the environment.