The factors behind Vettel’s priority shift in his final F1 chapter
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The factors behind Vettel’s priority shift in his final F1 chapter

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Post-Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel has reinvented himself as a force for social justice. From litter picking after grands prix and renouncing travel by private jet to prominently supporting the LGBTQ+ community, the now retired driver pursued his activism with the same relentless energy he brought to his world championship campaigns. But what, asks STUART CODLING, prompted this change?

“It’s not about what you leave behind, it’s about what you take with you.”

With this gnomic utterance Sebastian Vettel introduces a glossily shot video produced by Aston Martin to mark his departure from F1. As the Hans Zimmer-esque soundtrack soars to a pinnacle of glassy strings undercut by a persistent bass clef rumbling, the impression is one of a driver thoughtfully shimmying out of the door, shrouded in a fog of aphorisms.

How to parse this apparently profound and yet profoundly counter-intuitive statement? During what we might call the third phase of his F1 career Vettel underwent another transformation, into what some may call (disparagingly) a ‘social justice warrior’. But here’s the thing: he doesn’t care what label you might want to apply to his activism. Neither does he expect any of his now former colleagues and rivals to espouse the same causes he has championed.

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