Why Vettel visited a former F1 midfielder's Brazilian farm

Sebastian Vettel’s crusade to learn more about the environment prompted a surprise detour ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix to the farm of former Formula 1 driver Pedro Diniz.

Why Vettel visited a former F1 midfielder's Brazilian farm

After a mediocre junior career, Diniz made his F1 debut with the backmarker Forti team in 1995 and scored his first point with a sixth place finish for Ligier in the following year's Spanish Grand Prix.

Earlier that year, he'd escaped a spectacular fire at the Argentine Grand Prix, triggered by a safety valve in his fuel tank sticking open. Images of the Brazilian leaping from his blazing car grabbed the front pages of newspapers around the world, and triggered a British tabloid's famous 'Diniz in the Oven' headline.

After two years at Arrows, in which he twice finished fifth, he had two disappointing campaigns with Sauber that yielded just three points and stepped out of the cockpit at the end of the 2000 season to become a shareholder in the doomed Prost team.

Thereafter, Diniz’s attention shifted to his Brazilian homeland and included the creation of an organic produce and dairy farm. And it is that latter interest, rather than what he did in F1, that prompted a visit this week from four-time world champion Vettel.

The German, who is taking an increasing interest in environmental issues, wanted to understand more about Diniz’s farm as part of his education.

“I think it’s a very exciting way of doing agriculture,” explained the Aston Martin driver.

“I was happy to have a look at his farm and learn about it: learn about his path, what he’s been through, and learn about the idea, the objective, and his intention.

“I think it is very good and very forward-thinking, and something the world needs. It’s a very honourable job to supply the world or supply people with food, and doing it in a responsible and regenerative way. I think it is a great approach.”

Diniz scored two fifth places in his F1 career, the second of those coming at Spa in 1998 after a famous lap one pileup

Diniz scored two fifth places in his F1 career, the second of those coming at Spa in 1998 after a famous lap one pileup

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Vettel said the idea for the visit was prompted by Diniz’s name popping up in a book he was reading about the environment.

“I knew Pedro as a driver when I was growing up as a child and I knew he was racing in Formula 1,” added Vettel.

“But then he retired and I lost sight because, you get on, and I followed Michael [Schumacher] and other drivers in Formula 1. You don’t think about the drivers that retire.

“I read a really interesting book about a year ago, and it was mentioning Pedro Diniz, but not because of his racing history but because of what he is doing now, the way he is approaching agriculture.

“Without getting too long in my answer, it is basically all about avoiding substances and chemicals and farming in a natural way, and giving something back rather than just depleting the soil.”

While Vettel’s farm visit, on the back of other environmental activities he has done this year including litter picking and building bee farms, has hinted at him getting more involved in such matters, he is adamant he does not see his future as a campaigner.

PLUS: Why re-energised Vettel isn’t just making an impact at Aston Martin

“I don’t consider myself as an overly active person on that,” he said. “I think the point on that is that we all have to become active, otherwise the future doesn’t look bright.

“Obviously some people are more into it than others, some people are more interested. But I think it’s the biggest challenge I think humanity is facing since its existence, and it’s something that nobody can run away from, literally.

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

“I think it’s something that is concerning all of us whatever angle you’re trying to approach it from.

“We’re all different, and we all have different ideas and different things that we like. I think that’s a great way and gives me a lot of hope that there’s a lot of people committed to the cause.

“But for me there is no laid out plan, I’m not doing things to promote myself.

“I think it’s great if you have a voice to use it, to highlight maybe some things that are important to you. But I think at the forefront should always be the action.”

shares
comments

Related video

Bottas: constant pressure of one-year F1 contracts was too much
Previous article

Bottas: constant pressure of one-year F1 contracts was too much

Next article

Suzuki rules out Alpine F1 boss Brivio's MotoGP return for 2022

Suzuki rules out Alpine F1 boss Brivio's MotoGP return for 2022
Load comments
The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race Plus

The line Verstappen finally crossed in F1's first Jeddah race

OPINION: Max Verstappen has made the 2021 Formula 1 championship. He’s taken the fight to the all-conquering Mercedes squad and its dominant champion, produced driving displays few can match. But he’s been on a controversial course too, and finally crossed a particular line in Jeddah

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An ill-tempered Saudi Grand Prix made Formula 1 more soap opera than sporting spectacle at times, but there were some strong performances up and down the field on the world championship's first visit to Jeddah

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series Plus

How the Jeddah F1 race became a one-sitting Netflix drama series

The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a race packed full of incident as Formula 1 2021's title contenders repeatedly clashed on track. Lewis Hamilton won out over Max Verstappen to level the scores heading into next weekend's Abu Dhabi finale, as Jeddah turned F1 into a drama series

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2021
The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance Plus

The impressive attitude that earned Albon his second F1 chance

Dropped by Red Bull last season, Alexander Albon has fought back into a Formula 1 seat with Williams. ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains what Albon has done to earn the place soon to be vacated by the highly rated George Russell

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2021
How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes Plus

How Formula E factors could negate Red Bull's Jeddah practice gap to Mercedes

Mercedes led the way in practice for Formula 1’s first race in Jeddah, where Red Bull was off the pace on both single-lap and long runs. But, if Max Verstappen can reverse the results on Saturday, factors familiar in motorsport’s main electric single-seater category could be decisive in another close battle with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Dec 3, 2021
Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer Plus

Why Norris doesn’t expect Mr Nice Guy praise for much longer

Earning praise from rivals has been a welcome sign that Lando Norris is becoming established among Formula 1's elite. But the McLaren driver is confident that his team's upward curve can put him in the mix to contend for titles in the future, when he's hoping the compliments will be replaced by being deemed an equal adversary

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention Plus

What Ferrari still needs to improve to return to F1 title contention

After a disastrous 2020 in which it slumped to sixth in the F1 constructors' standings, Ferrari has rebounded strongly and is on course to finish third - despite regulations that forced it to carryover much of its forgettable SF1000 machine. Yet while it can be pleased with its improvement, there are still steps it must make if 2022 is to yield a return to winning ways

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2021
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Formula 1
Dec 1, 2021