Lando Norris admits that he doesn't think he can fill Sebastian Vettel's boots in terms of being a spokesperson on wider issues. Vettel has become known for using his voice to address various topics in recent times, ranging from concerns for the environment to showing his support for the LGBTQ+ community. Norris is also amongst a group of F1 drivers to speak out on certain subjects, with the Briton having previously opened up about struggles he has faced with his mental health. While Vettel – who will retire from Formula 1 at the end of 2022 – has inspired Norris to continue to use his platform in this way, he feels that he doesn't yet have the experience to fill the void that the four-time World Champion will leave.
How Norris sees himself in a "proactive" role
When asked if he would like to take a similar position as Vettel in terms of being proactive in speaking out about issues away from F1, Norris told media, including RacingNews365.com : "A little bit. "I'm not going to fill his boots. I don't think anyone in their first five years of Formula 1 is going to fill the boots of a guy who's in their final year of Formula 1. And the Seb of now is a very different Seb [to] five-10 years ago. "The ruthless Seb doesn't look so ruthless anymore. If Multi-21 came back, he might abide by it this time!" With this change in Vettel in mind, Norris acknowledges that every driver has a different stance on being a spokesperson. "It's very difficult, and I don't think you can put pressure on any young driver to say, 'Why aren't you doing what Seb's doing?'" the 22-year-old continued. "Because young Seb wasn't doing what Seb's doing now, and everyone's different. Some people want to stay out of it completely, and some people want to help. "There's no reason why I wouldn't want to speak up and say things. It's just [that] in the world we're living in now, it's not easy to just say what I feel and give my opinion, because there's so many people who will criticise that opinion."
Norris admires Vettel's approach
Norris has spoken of his admiration for how Vettel has used his voice to speak about issues that matter to him. "I would love to [be proactive], because I believe Seb's saying everything and doing everything he can for the best reason," Norris said. "He's creating chit-chat and he's creating headlines, which is his whole thing he's trying to do. "[It] might look silly with having some bees on your helmet and stuff like that, but he's creating stuff out of it and he's doing exactly what he wants to do, and I have a lot of respect for that. "Big boots to fill. I'll try a little bit, and I'm sure everyone will try a little bit. But it's tough, because he's also a great guy and a great person."