Sebastian Vettel hosts women-only kart race in Saudi Arabia
Sebastian Vettel hosted a women’s kart event in Saudi Arabia this week ahead of the country’s first Formula One race.
The Saudi Arabia Grand Prix will take place in Jeddah on Sunday amid accusations by human rights groups of “cleansing sport”.
One of the controversies was over women’s rights, although the country was quick to introduce legislation such as ending the ban on women driving in 2018.
Vettel has been very outspoken on political issues this year, wearing LGBTQ+ pride colors ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix to protest the controversial anti-LGBTQ+ law recently passed in that country.
The four-time world champion wanted to do something before the new Saudi race, so he organized this week’s event, inviting women with mixed driving experience to participate.
“I’m trying to pass on some of my experiences in life and am on the right track to do something together to develop their confidence,” Vettel said on Thursday.
“Clearly in Saudi Arabia, women are only allowed to drive cars since 2017 so some of them have licenses, others don’t. It’s a good mix of women. come from different walks of life and a great event, everyone is extremely happy.
“I have to say I’ve been inspired by their stories and backgrounds and their positivity for change in the country.
“It is true that if we look through a Western or European lens there is still a lot of room for improvement and to be addressed. But it is also true that some things are changing and for those people it creates a huge difference..
“Ultimately, it’s very difficult for us to go to a country where we are only for a few days and we try to be the perfect judge, but don’t know the exact background and the people inside.
“But in this way, I think it’s important for me to get to know these women. I think it’s been a very memorable, inspiring day and a great way to kick off the weekend. Like I did. say, focus on the positive.”
Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton said he doesn’t feel comfortable racing in Saudi Arabia the country’s human rights record.
Hamilton will continue to wear the color proudly on his racing helmet as he did at the Qatar Grand Prix.