LONDON – Four-time German world champion Sebastian Vettel says Formula One will now welcome a gay driver in its first public appearance.
The championship, which began in 1950, has had only male drivers in the early grid since 1976 but has given a push for diversity and inclusion with teams showing support for the LGBTQ community.
Aston Martin driver Vettel wore a rainbow-colored T-shirt in Hungary last year with the message “Protest against the same love” anti-LGBTQ + law.
The 34-year-old father of three also competed with the Racing Pride logo in his car.
“It probably wouldn’t have happened in the past, but now I think a gay Formula One driver would be welcomed, and that’s right,” Vettel said in an interview with LGBTQ magazine Attitude, which featured him on the cover.
“I think a gay driver will help dispel prejudices and push our sport in a better way. So I think and hopefully we will be ready to play. “
The former Red Bull and Ferrari driver said he has seen attitudes change, with some engineers and mechanics being able to be more open.
Formula One champion Mercedes announced on Wednesday that they would race with a rainbow star in their car for three Grand Prix in Pride Month in June, as a gesture of public support.
Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and teammate George Russell will also have ‘Pride Star’ on their helmets in Azerbaijan, Canada and Britain.
Vettel likened the situation to professional football and “the old image of a player or driver as a ‘hero’ who meets a certain standard.
“It simply came to our notice then. How do those stereotypes relate to performance in any way? Who will decide? ”He asked.
“It takes a lot of courage to show your true self instead of hiding behind a mask based on what people expect.”
Blackpool forward Jack Daniels announced last month that he was the first active male professional player in English football in 32 years to be gay.
Get the hottest sports news right in your inbox
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to access Philippine Daily Inquirer and 70+ other headlines, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download by 4am and share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, please contact us.