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Sebastian Vettel says Formula 1 is "ready" for a gay driver after making a ground-breaking appearance on the cover of LGBTQ+ magazine Attitude this week.
The German driver, who is a four-time world champion, is a keen LGBTQ+ advocate and has been pictured wearing rainbow-coloured t-shirts, masks and shoes on the circuit – which began in response to Hungary's anti-LGBT legislation last season.
He told Attitude that he and his fellow drivers would welcome a homosexual colleague with open arms and that any discrimination aimed at them wouldn't be tolerated.
"Homophobia is prejudice, and prejudice is wrong. It really is as simple as that," Vettel said.
The 34-year-old said he was certain that F1 has had gay drivers in the past, suggesting that the traditional 'hard man' vibe surrounding the sport likely prevented them from feeling comfortable enough to come out.
"There have always been LGBTQ people in Formula 1, but I cannot speak for them or say whether they felt they had to hide or not … but now I think a gay driver would be welcomed," he stressed.
"It’s getting better, and you do now see a few engineers and mechanics who feel able to be more open. But there’s still more that we can do.
"Progress is inevitable. Cars have changed and will keep changing – for the better. Indeed, drivers have changed and will keep changing – again for the better. So I do have hope, and therefore I would absolutely welcome a gay Formula 1 driver. And, as I say, I think and hope our sport would be ready for one."
Vettel then explained why he's often been seen wearing a rainbow t-shirt bearing the words 'same love', in reference to Macklemore's 2012 hit by the same name, prior to a number of races.
"I think [the words 'same love'] explains, in a nice way, some of the wrong perceptions people have," Vettel added.
"It doesn’t matter your skin colour, it doesn’t matter your background, it doesn’t matter where you come from, it doesn’t matter who you fall in love with. In the end, you just want equal treatment for everybody. Everyone has the same right to love."
Vettel is currently 15th in the 2022 standings having picked up just five points from the first seven races this season. The Aston Martin driver, who finished second behind Lewis Hamilton in 2018, has struggled since leaving Ferrari and hasn't mounted a single successful title challenge in three years.
- Sebastian Vettel
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