Exclusive: Vettel retires and becomes an ambassador for “Sundays for Future” – Sebastian Vettel ends his active Formula 1 career – but there is still a lot to do. Plans for Ukraine Peace GP
What many feared has now come to pass: Sebastian Vettel (34) will end his Formula 1 career with immediate effect. After four world championship titles, 279 starts, 53 victories and 57 pole positions, the Heppenheim driver is hanging up his helmet. Yesterday, his Aston Martin team had confirmed that he would drive again after two Corona-related retirements at the Australian GP next week. But the decision on the U-turn was made overnight.
Vettel exclusively to F1-Insider.com: “It doesn’t make sense anymore. We fly around too much, drive in the wrong places and my Mercedes engine uses too much fuel. I will now devote myself to more important things.”
The German peace and environmental activist will not turn his back on Formula 1 altogether, however. Together with the marketers of Liberty Media, Vettel founded the initiative “Sundays for Future”. Among other things, the German will act as a driving instructor, teaching the young drivers in the pinnacle not only how to drive through the bends in a fuel-efficient manner, but also where. Vettel: “I will steer the kids in the right direction.”
He is also one of the ambassadors of the Ukrainian Grand Peace Prize, which is to be held at the Nürburgring in September instead of the cancelled Russian GP. Vettel: “I think that’s great. At the Nürburgring, only the weather is the enemy. But we will face that with our heads held high.”
For the new initiative, chief marketer Liberty Media and the FIA have brought ex-boss Bernie Ecclestone (91) back on board as chief advisor, internally codenamed Titanic. Ecclestone exclusively: “The Nürburgring doesn’t have to pay anything to get our frenzied circus of millions. For this unique event, we will invite all public TV stations worldwide to broadcast the race free of charge, following the example of the Live Aid concert in 1985. During the broadcast, all TV stations will display a donation account to help alleviate the need in Ukraine. In addition, the teams will donate parts of their income and set clear signs for peace. For example, Mercedes will stick the peace sign on the car instead of the star.”
But that’s not all, as the Brit reveals: “In the extended supporting programme, the video of John Lennon with his peace hymn ‘Imagine’ will be shown shortly before the start. The highlight will be a live performance by my good buddy Sir Paul McCartney of Lennon’s other peace anthem, ‘Give Peace a Chance’, and ‘All You Need is Love’. And to extend a warming hand to the Russians – if there is peace – there will also be the adapted Beatles classic ‘F1 back to the USSR.'”
Ecclestone also has the climax of the ceremony in mind: “During the national anthem of Ukraine, sung by Sir Lewis Hamilton, who will accompany himself on the piano, all the drivers will humbly lie down on a prayer mat facing Hamilton.”
Ecclestone is relaxed about the fact that the millions don’t bubble up as much as usual at the Peace GP: “In recent years, we have collected billions from the democratic rulers of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Qatar, Russia, China, Turkey, Azerbaijan and the small duchy of Fuschl near Salzburg, because we were happy to give them a stage to propagate their – especially as far as human rights are concerned – exemplary political systems worldwide. So we don’t have to make any big sacrifices and we don’t earn as much as usual at the GP of Ukraine. But our smaller profit is, after all, for a very good cause.”
To make the pinnacle even fairer and even less arbitrary from a sporting point of view in the future, Ecclestone’s old buddy Flavio Briatore, who like Big Bernie has been assigned an advisory role by chief marketer Liberty, also already has ideas. For example, the race in Las Vegas, which will take place in 2023.
Briatore exclusively: “We’ll put a one-armed bandit in the pit for each team. Between us, we have more than enough of them. During the pit stop, the drivers have to pull the lever. The display then shows ‘three, five, eight or ten seconds’. This is the time they have to stop in addition to the tyre change. We do everything we can to ensure that sporting fairness wins. But most of all we think of the fans. Especially the American fans.
TJ13 Editors note
Apologies readers, the date slipped my mind! But sitting down here at TJ13 Towers with my cup of coffee this afternoon, I couldn’t help but be impressed by Ralph Bach’s hilarious April Fools posting on F1-Insider.com today… So had to ‘reblog’ it having not had time to scribe something silly myself. Hats’ off Ralph! Simply a brilliant April fool’s post.
Have a great weekend readers.