Formula One Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel offers candid words over the absence of his rival at the Formula One London event.
The street event in London put together by Liberty Media has been heralded as a success by those involved from all sides of the event–particularly the drivers. Aside from getting the chance to rev their cars down the city streets of one of the world’s most iconic cities, the drivers have praised the events ability to promote more holistic fan engagement by allowing fans that may have never been to a Grand Prix to experience the power and spectacle of the cars. All but one, that is.
Sebastian Vettel with Maurizio Arrivabene & Antti Kontsas in the Ferrari garage, today at Silverstone.
— Sebastian Vettel #5 (@sebvettelnews) July 13, 2017
Mercedes Silver Arrow and championship contender Lewis Hamilton was notably absent from the event. As the only driver out of 20 to not turn up to the event, Hamilton’s absence has been duly noted by his fans. Although he cited wanting to focus solely on the upcoming Grand Prix, Hamilton may have caused an unintentional stir by abstaining from participation. His perceived snub has been used as fodder for nearly every driver interview at the end of the event – and of course Sebastian Vettel would have the best answer of all to offer in retort:
“I don’t care, to be honest. I think it’s something we were asked to do and I said yes – it’s not many times in your life you get this kind of opportunity. It turned out to be a great event, a fun event for us as well as for the people, so I guess that’s a win-win but everyone was free to choose if they said yes or no. Ask him.” – Sebastian Vettel
Vettel’s blatant refusal to play ball is a reminder to why the German is still one of the most beloved drivers out on the track–despite his temperamental track record. Wasting no time to move on from the subject of Hamilton, Vettel praised the events ability to bridge the gap between driver and fan:
“I enjoyed it very much. I think it was something unique, to have central London partly shut down to have us running up and down, so it was nice.
It’s always nice to get close to the people and most of them seemed to be very excited. Usually there’s quite a big passion for racing in this country, so it’s great to be here.” – Sebastian Vettel
Well, Daniel Ricciardo just took #F1LondonLive to a new level! What a display!
— Sky Sports F1 🏎 (@SkySportsF1) July 12, 2017
The F1 Live event marks another step forward for Liberty Media’s commitment to engage with the fans of Formula One on a greater level than ever before. Truly, we seem to have come quite far already since the days of Ecclestone-enforced exclusivity and pumped-up luxury. Given that this is only the first year that the new owners have had the reigns in hand, their masterful handling of the event can only bode well.