Vettel weighs in on the political debate.
Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel's opinions on specific issues are often newsworthy. They are at least car-related, and Vettel is quite outspoken about things he cares about. His latest opinions concern the famous autobahn, which he believes should have a speed limit.
As a staunch supporter of Germany's Green Party, Vettel seems to have become something of a celebrity spokesperson for environmentally friendly behavior. Whether we agree with his politics or not, we admire his dedication. He regularly cycles to races and stays after hours to pick up rubbish. It could be a publicity stunt, but F1's Mr. Nice seems genuinely sincere. This is a man who could have any Aston Martin he wants, yet cycles to work. He also got rid of all his gas-guzzling supercars earlier this year.
At least he dares to stick with his convictions. Not like Sir Lewis Hamilton, who pledged to save the planet by not driving exotics, and was then seen driving his Pagani Zonda a few months later.
In any case, the autobahn is under fire again now that Germany has elected a new government. The Social Democrat Party is now in charge and wants to lower the speed limit to 81 mph.
Sebastian Vettel spoke to Auto Motor & Sport recently and expressed his support for the new government. "I expect the next government to act finally and not just talk when it comes to issues like social injustice or the climate crisis," said Vettel. "Many things need to be addressed now."
You might not expect him to be a supporter of speed limits on the autobahn, but alas. "It's not about personal feelings. You have to look at the big picture. A speed limit would save almost two million tons of CO2 emissions. And it would reduce accidents. Make it a bit safer. There are accidents in Germany that only happen because we don't have a speed limit. If you only save the life of one person, that's a no-brainer for me," said Vettel.
As you'd expect, not everyone in Germany is happy, but the margin is not as significant as you might think. A survey conducted by a European motoring association found that only 45% of Germans wanted to keep parts of the autobahn unrestricted. Those not in favor of the speed limit have stated that it's a restriction of their freedom, but Vettel has a sound counterargument.
"I don't suddenly feel unfree when I travel to other countries such as Turkey, the USA, or Great Britain and drive there. It is not a question about freedom, but only about something that people have gotten used to. The speed limit will come anyway - whether it is now or in a few years. I have no problem with free driving disappearing. Whoever steps on the gas wants to do it where it is safe. In this case, it would be the racetrack. You can test your limits there without endangering others. "
Vettel makes a valid point, especially considering the increase in electric vehicle sales in Europe. Generally speaking, most EVs can't do high speeds for prolonged periods of time anyway, as this depletes the battery too quickly to make fast driving practical.
Still, in our experience, the autobahn is an epic concept that works beautifully. The idea of driving a car at 160 mph isn't just fun. It gets you where you're going quicker and can relieve congestion. In fact, some studies have shown that the autobahn is among the safest public highways on the planet, thanks in part to the exemplary lane discipline that Germans must display to stay safe on the road. Whichever side of the coin lands face-up, we'd recommend getting over there ASAP if a 'bahn-storming run is on your bucket list.