Aston Martin driver and LGBTQ+ ally Sebastian Vettel would welcome an openly gay driver into Formula 1, emphasising that an athlete’s sexuality has nothing to do with their performance on track.
Vettel has long been an advocate for change in the pinnacle of motorsport, and he has supported multiple causes in recent years.
The four-time champion is constantly pushing for more environmental awareness, and was seen collecting litter left behind in the grandstands after the British Grand Prix last season.
The German also wore a rainbow t-shirt and mask at last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix in protest of the country’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws, and he also set up an all-women karting event in Saudi Arabia ahead of the inaugural race in Jeddah in December.
He and Mercedes’ Sir Lewis Hamilton, who has also been outspoken on world affairs in recent years, were described as “figureheads” of the sport by Aston Martin ambassador and W series driver Jessica Hawkins previously, as they seek to make the pinnacle of motorsport a better and more inclusive place for all.
There has never been an openly gay driver in F1, and Vettel believes that having one on the grid would help to open a few eyes.
“Perhaps it wouldn’t have been the case in the past, but now I think a gay Formula One driver would be welcomed, and rightly so,” he told the LGBTQ+ magazine.
“I feel that a gay driver would help to speed up the elimination of prejudice and help push our sport in a better direction, so I think and hope our sport would be ready for one.”
The 34-year-old criticised the cultivation of “the old image of a player or driver as a ‘hero’ who should match a certain set of criteria, but the judging criteria are just wrong.
“How are those stereotypes in any way related to performance? Who got to decide?
“It takes enormous courage to show your real self rather than hiding behind a façade based on what people expect.”
To celebrate pride month, the star logo on the Mercedes cars will be rainbow coloured during the grand prix in Azerbaijan, Canada and Austria.