Only moments before the start of the Belgian Grand Prix, controversy was ringing around the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Whilst the pre-race preliminaries were carried out, several Greenpeace activists para-glided over the circuit before further activists managed to climb onto the roof of the main grandstand and begin unveiling a 20-meter banner.
Although the race began and was carried out without major interruption, the banner stating “Arctic oil? Shell no!” was in full sight hanging from the top of the main grandstand. The controversy continued after the race, when a remote control sign was unveiled on the podium during the traditional post-race celebrations stating “Save the Arctic.org” along with a logo incorporating the head of a polar bear and the Shell logo with devil horns. A statement issued from Greenpeace international executive director Kumi Naidoo stated that despite being a big Formula 1 fan himself, action needed to be taken against the search for oil in the arctic.
“I was a big fan of the sport growing up. In fact, I bet there are plenty of environmentalists in the grandstands at the F1 today, just as there are many secret F1 fans in Greenpeace!” Read an official statement from Greenpeace International. “As the planet warms, the ice melts, and Shell and other companies move in to drill for more of the oil, which warms the planet, which melts the ice. It’s a vicious circle, insanity and greed at its very worst, and we have to stop it.”
With the remote-controlled banner at the foot of the podium allegedly having been put into position weeks prior to the Belgian Grand Prix, security around the Spa-Francorchamps circuit could well come under severe scrutiny. Overall the proceedings from Greenpeace failed to fully jeopardise the running of the race, which was eventually won by the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel.
Picture Copyright © Octane Photographic