Former Arrows F1 driver, Christian Danner was anything but impressed by Sebastian Vettel’s underwear protests, and has recently called him out.
The FIA has reinforced the ruling that drivers cannot wear jewelry while they are inside the car, as well as enforcing mandatory fireproof underwear on the racing grid. This prompted some rather…creative protests from Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in particular.
Lewis Hamilton is engaged in a feud with the FIA over that, with him potentially even facing a ban from the Monaco Grand Prix next Sunday, and being promised ‘years of agony’ if he does not comply with the rules. He was given a two-race exemption from this rule due to declaring that there are ‘at least’ two piercings that he is unable to remove without surgery, but Hamilton seeks to avoid any and all action on him and aims to continue racing with his piercings.
On the underwear side, Sebastian Vettel appeared at the Miami Grand Prix with his underwear over his racing suit, superman-style. This was in addition to his shirt trying to advocate for recognition of the drastic effects of climate change. His shirt exclaimed: “Miami 2060. First Grand Prix underwater. Act Now or Swim Later.”
Vettel attempted to justify the protests by saying that they (being the drivers) are old enough to make their own personal choices. Pointing to the underwear protests, Vettel’s German compatriot and former racing driver Christian Danner criticized Vettel’s ‘kindergarten’ demeanor.
Speaking to Motorsport, Danner said that: “He has a peculiar way of doing things that I personally can’t understand. When he makes fun of these FIA underwear requirements and then jumps around in the pit lane with his pants on, then I have to say honestly, it’s kindergarten.”
Not stopping at that, Danner went further, even saying that Vettel should be given a ‘break” as a consequence of his behavior. For Danner, it was incomprehensible that Vettel was protesting over something like fireproof underwear.
“If I was team boss, I would have told him to take a two-week break and go where he belongs at the moment, which is kindergarten. When he’s done there, he’s welcome to drive again.”
Sebastian Vettel’s woes at Aston Martin
Sebastian Vettel joined Aston Martin in 2021, after parting ways with Ferrari, and on the back of a poor season, where teammate Charles Leclerc outscored him by over 55 points. Vettel finished in 13th place, behind future teammate Lance Stroll at 11th and Renault (now Alpine)’s Esteban Ocon at 12th.
In 2021, Vettel finished 12th with 43 points, the highlight of which was a spectacular 2nd place finish at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku. He outscored Lance Stroll by 9 points. However, 2022 began poorly for the four-time champion.
He was sidelined for the first two races of the season due to a positive COVID-19 test and replaced by Nico Hulkenberg. This meant that Sebastian had virtually no time in his car till the 3rd race of the season in Australia, where he qualified 17th and then retired during the race. This was followed up with an impressive 8th placed finish at Imola, and a 17th in Miami.
Perhaps he is up for a change in fortune, as Aston Martin seems due a huge upgrade package (for both cars) at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
“I know many drivers who have driven bad cars in their careers. Is that why they walked through the pit lane in their underpants? No! They were happy when the FIA took care of something and included it in the regulations.”
Elaborating on his point, Danner added: “I think Seb is still a good F1 driver. But he has changed a bit in the last few years and is no longer as focused as he once was, but there are a thousand things that interest him more.”
Danner also believes that being a Formula 1 driver is a ‘privilege’ and that all drivers must act with responsibility and with a certain level of seriousness, something he obviously felt that Vettel is lacking with these protests. But he has no problem with environmental activism on a fundamental level.
“I don’t mind if he gets involved in environmental politics (…), that’s all right. But somewhere the seriousness for a Formula 1 driver is based on the fact that it’s a privilege to drive your car and A lot of people forget that,”
During the race weekend in Spain, Vettel would be hoping for a change in fortune with the upcoming upgrades, and to get more points for his team.