After being booed and shamed for his anti-oil stance by a crowd of rowdy Canadians, Saudi-sponsored F1 racer Sebastian Vettel ingloriously limped away with a 12th-place finish and 0 points at the Canadian Grand Prix.
Vettel made headlines as soon as he arrived in Canada on Friday for the Sunday Grand Prix, sporting an anti-energy T-shirt that read, “Stop mining tar sands: Canada’s climate crime.”
He proceeded to add fuel to the fire later in the day at a news conference, saying, “I find this — fascinating might be the wrong word — but there’s a lot going on. We live in a time and age where we are so much aware of a lot of things.”
“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 mining is horrible for nature.”
He then announced that he’d be sporting a controversial helmet with an anti-oil message that also featured one of his sponsors, Saudi Arabian oil giant Aramco.
UCP Energy Minister Sonya Savage subsequently lambasted Vettel on Twitter over this hypocrisy.
“I have seen a lot of hypocrisy over the years, but this one takes the cake,” Savage tweeted. “A race car driver sponsored by Aston Martin, with financing from Saudi Aramco, complaining about the oil sands.”
On Saturday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney also came out to slam Vettel during a weekly CHED with Your Province Your Premier show.
“The criticism of the Canadian oilsands has always been filled with a high level of hypocrisy, but this takes the cake,” Kenney said.
“This guy has a carbon footprint the size of some third-world countries. For a living, all he does is burn carbon for no useful purpose, but just for kicks,” he continued.
“Apparently, he’s saying that he’d prefer that his F1 car be fuelled with OPEC dictator fuel, by Russian dictator energy that’s fuelling the Putin war machine, as opposed to coming from transparently operated, publicly-traded companies in a liberal democracy with the highest human rights, labour and environmental standards on Earth.”
Vettel has long been called out for the hypocrisy of touting green activism while actively participating in the Formula One industry — which is, as one BBC host recently noted, “One of the most gas-guzzling sports in the world.”
“Does that make you a hypocrite,” the host asked.
“It does. It does. You’re right when you laugh because there’s questions [that] I ask myself every day. And I’m not a saint, you know,” Vettel responded.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear Vettel will extend the forgiving break he gives himself to the countries he haphazardly criticizes.