Stefano Domenicali, the head of Formula One, told AFP that the sport is a “accelerator for change” and defended its presence in Qatar.
The criticism that is overshadowing the lead-up to the football World Cup, which begins a week from Sunday, according to the former Ferrari team manager, is unrelated.
He remarked, “I’ve read stuff about FIFA and Qatar that have nothing to do with our relationship with Qatar.
As recently as Tuesday, when a Qatar World Cup envoy described homosexuality as a “damage in the head” in a German TV interview, governments and human rights organizations brought Qatar’s human rights record to light.
Domenicali, though, reiterated that the Qatar Grand Prix has a place in the Formula One calendar in an interview with AFP prior to last week’s Mexican Grand Prix. The Qatar Grand Prix began in 2021 and will return to the schedule in 2023 on a 10-year contract after missing this year.
In an apparent attempt to defend Qatar’s involvement in the sport, he stated, “The (Losail) track has been there for 10 years.”
“We need to be absolutely serious about this. Before visiting a country, we make sure the promoter abides by specific rules.
“Clauses in the Contract may terminate immediately if the Promoter does not comply with them.”
There are other racetracks on the record-breaking 24-race schedule for the next season that have human rights concerns besides Qatar. The propriety of letting Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Azerbaijan, and China hold competitions has also been questioned.
Domenicali, who thinks Formula One can be a force for change, stated
“We say the same thing every time”.
We have an extremely open system. There are nations that want to change, and we believe that their presence will shine a light on their efforts.
“The United Nations and we are cooperating. There is no issue, and we have nothing to conceal.
“It is not my place to talk politics, yet these nations seek to change the thousands of years-old civilizations. From one day to the next, do you believe it is possible?
Formula 1 acts as a catalyst for change.
“If we weren’t there, we’d talk less negatively about these nations,” the speaker said.
“Responsibility” for the environment
As the calendar gets longer, Domenicali has answered accusations of Formula One’s environmental impact.
Domenicali acknowledges that the sport has “an big responsibility” and that it is working to become carbon neutral by 2030.
F1 can influence change on a global scale, he claimed. In the future, we’ll use renewable fuel.
“Since we are a worldwide tournament, every trip we make has a carbon footprint.
But we believe that this problem will be resolved with sustainable fuel. We have goals, and we believe we can accomplish them sooner rather than later.
Domenicali, though, dismissed the idea that the sport would ever go entirely to electricity.
“Boats, planes, and they will never adopt entire electrification as part of our transport network. To have a bigger impact, we’ll employ sustainable fuel.
“We have a program of employing renewable energy, with all the proponents.
We have the world’s most efficient and best-performing hybrid engines on the circuit.
Domenicali speculated that the already crowded calendar would get even more crowded as a result of the growing global popularity of Formula One.
We are getting close to the limit with 24 (races), but you can never declare it to be done, he remarked.
“There were times when F1 included 17 Grands Prix, which were quite hard to locate. We are there right now because of our amazing success, but if we need to strike a balance, 24 seems like a reasonable number.
Many additional nations are interested in hosting a Grand Prix. We might sign with seven or eight more nations tomorrow morning. But we are unable to.
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