Formula One will now welcome its first openly gay driver, according to four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel of Germany.
The championship, which began in 1950, has had only male drivers in the early grid since 1976, but has focused on diversity and inclusion, with teams supporting the LGBTQ community.
Aston Martin driver Vettel wore a rainbow-colored T-shirt with the message “Equal Love” in Hungary last year to protest the anti-LGBTQ + law.
The 34-year-old father of three has also hit the racing pride logo on his car.
“It may not have happened in the past, but now I think gay Formula One drivers will be welcomed, and rightly so,” Vettel said in an interview with LGBTQ magazine’s Attitude, which featured him on its cover.
“I think the homosexual driver will help speed up the elimination of prejudice and take our game in the right direction. So I think and hopefully our game will be ready for one.
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The former Red Bull and Ferrari driver said he has seen changes in behavior that enable some engineers and mechanics to be more relaxed.
F1 champion Mercedes announced on Wednesday that it would race with rainbow stars on its car for the three Grand Prix in Pride Month in June, as a sign of public support.
Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton and teammate George Russell will also have a ‘Pride Star’ on their helmets in Azerbaijan, Canada and the UK.
Vettel compared the situation to professional football and the old image of a “player or driver as a ‘hero’ who must meet certain criteria.
“But the decision criteria are wrong. How do those stereotypes relate to performance in any way? Who decides? “He asked.” It takes a lot of courage to show your true identity instead of hiding behind a mask based on people’s expectations. “
Blackpool forward Jake Daniels last month became the first active male professional player in English football in 32 years to declare himself gay.