For many years, at the Italian GP it has been common to see exhibition flights with fighter-type planes drawing the country’s flag in the sky. But as Formula 1 strives for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future, making such displays on the grid is prohibited this year.
However, this Sunday at Monza, the Frecce Tricolori (the Italian Air Force’s aerobatic flight squadron) not only passed the grid once before the race, but twice.
That had already happened this year on another Italian circuit, during the Emilia Romagna GP . Sebastian Vettel believes it was at the request of Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
Asked by Motorsport.com if he thought Monza was a circuit that F1 needed to keep on the calendar for the future, the four-time champion said yes, but took the opportunity to point out those displays with planes.
“I hope so and that they stop doing those flights,” he said.
“I’ve heard the president insists on doing them. He’s about 100 years old [he’s actually 81 years old], so maybe it’s hard for him to let go of that kind of ego-related stuff.”
“But yeah, I think Monza has to stay on the calendar. It’s a great circuit, it has a great atmosphere.”
“But as I said, we were promised that the flights had been banned, and it seems that the president has to change his mindset and F1 is just giving in despite their banners and messages about the goals of making the world a better place.
“F1 has to avoid being influenced. If you have a goal, you shouldn’t do as every country does and neglect the fact that you’re not going to achieve it.”
“So they should stick to the word they’ve given us. But time will tell.”
Motorsport.com has contacted F1 to find out who gave the green light to flights in Italy despite the fact that they were prohibited.
In recent years, Vettel has stepped up his campaign on environmental issues, though his criticism of Formula E has prompted accusations of “whitewashing” from Formula E driver and investor Lucas di Grassi.
Ahead of the Monza weekend, Vettel said he had not had any talks with di Grassi about their differing views but was open to it.