Formula 1 | Vettel understands Finland’s concern over Russia

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Finland has requested NATO membership to protect itself from possible Russian actions. Asked about this very political subject on the BBC’s Question Time program, Sebastian Vettel revealed that he understands this request, especially in the face of the horror that Ukraine is undergoing and the escalation that Vladimir Putin regularly promises.

« I know a lot of Finns and Finland has a long border with Russia » said Vettel. « Finland was at war with Russia a long time ago. So I can totally understand the need for protection. I think the example of the bully in the playground is a good example. »

« You want to be protected, as much as you can be. I think the problem is that you don’t know who you’re dealing with. And so we can ask ourselves now what got us into this mess and who is in fault and whether we should have seen the signs sooner. »

« But one thing we must not forget is that Ukrainians are suffering today, tomorrow, and probably for a long time, and hearing from some of the families who were fleeing Ukraine and trying to seek shelter, I cannot not imagine the suffering. »

« I have to be honest, it’s something I can’t understand. I grew up in a time when there was never a war, let’s say so close. Obviously I travel the world, I see a lot places and I know it’s a privilege to live like we do in Europe. »

« So I think the first thing, rule number one, is to take care of Ukraine. There was a long, heated debate in Germany, whether we should supply weapons or not. In the end, it turned out yes, and Germany is supplying arms. »

« But the threat is obviously that it could escalate. You don’t know what Putin and Russia, well Putin, mainly, is going to do. But we have to do everything we can to stop him and help the people who feel threatened or especially people who are suffering, like the Ukrainians. »

Difficult to predict « the consequences » of addiction

According to him, the debate on Ukraine’s arms aid must be done with civilians in mind first: « That’s exactly the debate taking place in Germany: What do we do? We need energy, otherwise what about the economy and us etc. But on the other hand, is this money fund war and hurt people? »

« That’s the most difficult point. When you think about it, it becomes complicated and the answer is not so easy. But in the meantime, as I said, we must not forget the people. People are dying , people are suffering. So we have to find a solution. »

Vettel regrets that many European countries have established a dependency on other countries, and a fortiori on Russia: « The problem was installing this dependency in the first place. Governments are among those who deal with this every day. You are not alone. »

« There are a lot of people consulting you, a lot of experts, whatever the subject. If it’s about energy, there are energy experts who consult you, help you and guide you. I find hard to imagine being an expert in everything, you can’t be. »

« So you depend on the people around you and you choose the people around you and then you have to make the best compromise. With Putin and Germany, I think there’s a lot of reason to say that the choices we we did were wrong. Now it’s obvious to everyone, but it was already obvious to people consulting at the time. »

« I believe in the UK you are very dependent on Norway as an energy supplier. So of course Norway seems much more stable and secure, but you don’t know if in a decade Norway will have changed. It’s unlikely, but what I mean is that you never know who will be in power, or what they might choose. »

« You have a good example with Brexit, just to say that in terms of consequences in particular, it’s not that easy. It can become popular and say ‘oh yes, let’s go out, let’s vote to go out’. But people don’t don’t know or understand what they’re voting for. »

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