Activists storm F1 track: Vettel understands life-threatening action, but ...

Shortly after the start of the Formula 1 race at Silverstone, demonstrators storm onto the track.

Activists storm F1 track: Vettel understands life-threatening action, but ...

Shortly after the start of the Formula 1 race at Silverstone, demonstrators storm onto the track. A dangerous protest in a place where drivers usually drive at 300 kilometers per hour. Nevertheless, the pilots show understanding. However, not without critical words.

Guanyu Zhou's spectacularly worrying departure wasn't the only excitement of the first round of the British Grand Prix. While his Alfa Romeo hurled headlong over the tire stack and was only stopped in the safety fence immediately before a fully occupied grandstand, several demonstrators broke through the barriers elsewhere and stormed onto the Formula 1 track. Pictures show marshals taking several people into custody, and the police then reported seven arrests. The activist group "Just Stop Oil", which calls for an immediate abandonment of oil use, declared itself responsible for the protest shortly afterwards.

Probably also because immediately after Zhou's accident the red flag initiated the approximately one-hour demolition and forced the drivers to drive slowly, the high-publicity campaign ended lightly. Because on the Wellington Straight, where the protesters break through the safety precautions, the drivers usually steer at over 300 kilometers per hour towards the demanding left-right combination of Brooklands and Luffield. Since Charles Leclerc, driving at the head of the field, sees the activists from the cockpit, it is at least questionable whether they would only advance after the demolition - or whether they would have run onto the track at full speed.

Sebastian Vettel, one of the loudest voices in Formula 1 in the fight against the climate crisis, nevertheless showed a certain understanding for the protesters afterwards. "I can understand their fears and concerns," said the Aston Martin driver, according to "Autosport" after his ninth place in the tenth Grand Prix of the season, and "who understands the extent of this problem that we are heading for". could also empathize with the "despair".

Vettel repeatedly draws attention to the catastrophic effects of man-made climate change. He recognizes the contradiction that his career as a racing driver creates and at the same time uses the stage that sport offers him as one of the most successful drivers in Formula 1 history to promote social change and a rethink.

With all understanding of the motives, the four-time world champion and 53-time Grand Prix winner considers the path of resistance chosen in Silverstone to be unsuitable. "You put the lives of people at risk who are responsible for the race," said Vettel, naming drivers and marshals as examples. Lewis Hamilton, who also endorsed the "fight for planet earth" and expressed his support for the demonstrators, also criticized: "Please don't jump on the racetracks to protest. We don't want anything to happen to you."

The seven-time world champion, third for the tenth time in a row on the podium at his home race, referred to the impressive images of the Zhou accident that ended lightly: "As we saw today, this is a very dangerous sport." Carlos Sainz, who won his 150th Formula 1 race for the first time in a Ferrari, also issued a warning afterwards. "I support your cause," but he doesn't think "that's the best way to put yourself and others at risk." Because "you could cause an accident" or in the worst case "you could even die".

Stefano Domenicali, longtime team boss at Ferrari and now head of Formula 1, described the action as "completely irresponsible and dangerous". Everyone has "the right to freely express their opinion, but nobody has the right to endanger people's lives". The Italian thanked the security authorities for their quick intervention. The police had already warned of such protests in advance and actually wanted to prevent them.

It is currently unclear what the consequences are for those arrested. However, "Just Stop Oil" accepts this, sees itself as a resistance group and encourages civil disobedience. This is a "powerful way to stand up for your rights, freedoms and justice non-violently," according to the official website.

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