Sebastian Vettel, and to a lesser extent Mick Schumacher, stole the show at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the two former Formula 1 drivers drove iconic cars that brought the house down and thrilled fans who descended on the event.
Four-time F1 World Champion, Vettel took the opportunity to promote sustainable e-fuels, driving the famous Red 5 Williams of Nigel Mansell, powered by synthetic fuel. Delighting all with its unique and ear-busting sound of the cars of that era. The four times F1 World Champion also had a go Ayrton Senna’s iconic McLaren MP4/8. He owns both cars too!
For the occasion, Vettel wore a special helmet design, made in consultation with Senna’s family. The German’s helmet on the day sported Senna’s distinctive yellow design, with the blue and green horizontal bands; this one with off-centre stripes, the colour of the German flag from the visor to the back of the helmet.
But the real eye-opener, in terms of relevance to F1 today, was running Mansell’s 1992 F1 World Champion title-winning Williams FW14B on sustainable fuel. Vettel had already done test laps at the British Grand Prix circuit to appraise the use of synthetic fuel in the car, as part of his “Race without Trace” project.
The Williams FW14B was one of the most dominant cars of all time, with ten wins in 16 races. Vettel had to put around three million euros on the table for the legendary Newey racing car.
Vettel’s popularity was evident throughout the weekend
For Mick, he was back inside a Formula 1 cockpit again where he showed off the Mercedes W02, which his father Michael Schumacher drove in 2011.
Although the car did not score any victories in F1 for the team, it won the hearts of all at Goodwood on Sunday watching Mick, wearing his father’s helmet, powering its V8 into acoustic heaven, for those who enjoy very loud!
Festival of Speed acknowledged in their news report headlined: “Sebastian Vettel is the star of the show at the Festival of Speed.”
And added: “It’s been 11 years since Sebastian Vettel joined us here at the Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard. Back then he was at Red Bull, a mere two-time F1 World Champion, but at the very peak of his powers.
“Having already piloted his very own Williams FW14B up the Festival of Speed Hill on Sunday morning, the car in which Nigel Mansell won the 1992 F1 World Championship, in the afternoon he drove his other car, Ayrton Senna’s 1993 McLaren MP4/8.”
Seb gave all a good time in two iconic F1 cars at Goodwood
“Running on renewable fuels as part of his ‘Race without a Trace’ campaign, the four-time champion did a cheeky doughnut outside of Goodwood House before walking through a sea of fans.
“Then joining the Duke of Richmond and Karun Chandhok on the balcony for a special moment of appreciation of everything he has achieved in his racing career, and also his plans for the future,” concluded the report.
Vettel’s enthusiasm for sustainable fuel to power the F1 of the future is shared by many, as it could allow the sport to return to its roots of normally aspirated and far less expensive engines. Typified in the nineties, an era of F1 which many look back fondly on.
At 36, Vettel could probably command a drive on the F1 grid if he really wanted that. However, tt appears the German is content with his new role in life and the projects he has embraced. As well as spending much more time with his family of course. But he does not discount a role within the sport beyond driving, in his future.
Vettel: I am talking to Stefano and have some ideas
Asked by reporters at Goodwood if he intended to get involved in F1 again, Vettel revealed he has been in touch with F1 chief Stefano Domenicali already and added: “We’ll see… but I have some ideas. I was in Monaco earlier this year and had a very good meeting with Stefano.”
As for why F1 has to get its environmental act together, Vettel said: “Other than obviously the cars directly polluting, F1 has a huge responsibility because it’s a very big event. A lot of people attend, I think you had around 500,000 people at the British Grand Prix last weekend.
“So there’s a lot more to it than just the cars but obviously the cars, everybody sees them. It’s important that it’s headed in the right direction. I’m talking and I have some ideas.
“Obviously, we’ll see what the future brings. I think sooner or later, I will probably figure it out and take on a new challenge,” explained Vettel, whose presence in the F1 paddock in the future, in whatever role from administrator to pundit, would be a big win for the sport which, without Vettel, is a poorer place.