Cyprus protests TRNC flag on Vettel’s helmet

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The Cyprus Automobile Association has taken aim at four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel for sporting a helmet displaying the flag of the breakaway state in the Turkish-occupied north of the island.

Vettel had replaced his regular helmet colours with a special ‘No War’ design in the colours of the Ukrainian flag, adding at the base of the helmet the flags of states from around the world, including that of the self-declared ‘TRNC’.

The association has filed a complaint with the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the organisers of Formula 1, against Aston Martin’s F1 driver, after he wore the helmet during the pre-season testing in Bahrain.

“Vettel’s decision of sporting the pseudo-state’s flag on his helmet is unacceptable,” a statement released by the Cyprus Automobile Association on Friday said.

The association demanded the removal of the flag, while going one step further that both the driver and Aston Martin be penalised for the act. The Republic of Cyprus flag appears on the other side of the helmet.

The German F1 driver was the most outspoken at the Barcelona test a fortnight ago over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as he made clear he would boycott the country’s race if it went ahead.

The FIA eventually called off the Russian Grand Prix, removing it altogether from the calendar, cancelling its contract citing ‘force majeure’ measures.

Sebastian Vettel, 34, is a known activist, wearing the rainbow t-shirt in support of the LGBTQ+ community, advocating for the environment, helping build bee colonies, tidying up litter in the stands post-race.

He has on many occasions advocated for equality of race and gender.