How is it that hordes of spectators get so excited by the deafening noise of ripping, fur-stuffed advertising cars with a hammerhead shark nose? Weaponry, but without the silent aerodynamics, clean power and elegance of this unique animal. Motorcycles, frantically driving in circles for hours in a kind of asphalt skate park with shock absorbers, graced with bells and whistles, pit cats and oversized phallic spray bottles for the winners.
The race at Spa Francorchamps, which lasted only a few laps due to torrential rain at the end of August, had to go ahead at all costs while Wallonia had just lost many people, houses, schools and businesses due to the unprecedented rainfall. The entire caravan moved from Spa to Zandvoort in trucks. For other races, such as the Grand Prix of Russia next weekend, the whole thing flies happily around the earth. The ecological footprint, noise and air pollution as well as water and soil pollution (including by plastic particles from the tires) of this fossil circus knows no boundaries and is not limited. And limitlessness, as we know from psychology, can lead to delusions of grandeur: man spins around his own ego axis until he crashes.
The lawsuits lost by environmental organizations against the Zandvoort circuit show that everything has to make way for the economy. Judges still do not dare to give priority to the immense climate urgency. Or they lack the necessary ecological insights to be able to make a correct assessment of the damage. While previous verdicts had already forced the Dutch government in the Urgenda climate case to show higher climate ambitions and Shell was recently sentenced to step up its game, Formula 1 is apparently completely separate from that.
How much wake up calls do we still need after all this year’s drama of devastating forest fires and floods? In addition to human casualties and thousands of dead animals, they also lead to destroyed habitats and infrastructures. And to increased CO2emissions and devastated fertile soils for decades to come, also endangering food supplies. The ostrich tactic is no longer valid; it cannot be that people who are in denial are risking the lives of others.
After all, the joy of individual freedom stops where it affects the common interest and threatens our future. Judges, government and politicians are there to make and enforce laws and take measures that make safe, healthy and just coexistence within planetary boundaries possible for everyone. Not getting in the car with alcohol is also intended to protect each other.
Also read: Verstappen and fans are not the only winners in Zandvoort
The unprecedented climate crisis calls for decisions to be made now for the future. It is telling that more than two hundred international medical scientific journals are now also sounding the alarm about the immediate threats to health (read: our death) if we do not keep the global temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Whether people like it or not, it is high time to abolish Formula 1. And that also applies to the other motorized sports that run on fossil fuels. With the gigantic climate challenges before us, they belong to the past: fossils of the fossil age.
Saying goodbye sometimes hurts. But this is peanuts compared to what lies ahead if we continue to pretend that nothing is wrong. Abolishing these sports is low-hanging fruit and an exercise in resilience to invent another pastime. If adrenaline and speed kicks are so desired for the drivers, there is a world of other sports: catamaran sailing, kite surfing, cliff diving, bungee jumping, paragliding, racing bikes, BMX freestyle, ski jumping, bobsleigh…
Let Formula 1 finish this season. That will be a nice ending. As world champion, Hamilton conquers a unique record that will never be broken again. Or Verstappen wins for the first time and becomes the last winner. With history like that, everyone wins.
Formula 1 is no longer of this time
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