Vettel backs call to abolish unrestricted speeds on Germany’s autobahns

2021 Turkish Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel has weighed in on the debate over the future of Germany’s autobahns, which are among few public roads in Europe which are not subject to speed limits.

The four times Formula 1 world champion and winner of 53 grands prix – more than any driver bar Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher – has thrown his support behind those calling for an end to unrestricted speed on Germany’s motorways.

Their future is an emotive subject for many in the country of major car manufacturers such as Mercedes, Audi, Porsche and BMW. Objections to the unrestricted roads have come about for reasons of safety as well as environmental concerns.

“It’s a way to save up to two million tonnes of CO2 when it comes to emissions,” said Vettel in response to a question from RaceFans. “And even bigger, it’s probably making the roads a little bit safer.

“There is accidents in Germany we have because we don’t have a speed limit. So if it helps to save only one person from being injured or one person’s life, then I think it’s a no-brainer.”

Motorways in other European countries are subject to speed limits of around 100 to 140kph. Vettel rejected the argument put about by those who oppose introducing restrictions that it would reduce personal freedoms.

“Very often it gets confused with a freedom that people have, that we don’t have a speed limit in Germany. Now, honestly, I don’t feel un-free when I come to Turkey or when I come to the US or to the UK or any other country where there is a speed limit.

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“It’s not like I crossed the border and I feel like I’m not free anymore. So I think it’s not a freedom we’re talking about it’s just something we got used to, and it’s probably something that’s going to fall in the future, whether it’s now or in a couple of years. I have no problem if it disappears.”

Those who want to experience driving quickly should do it on closed roads, said Vettel.

“Anybody who wants to go fast should do so in a place where it’s safe to do so, which in that case would be the race track.

“Obviously I get very excited by going fast, otherwise I would have chosen a different job, but I also see that it makes far more sense to do so on a track where you can judge, you can experience and test your limits and not put it to the risk of other people around it.”

The outcome of last month’s federal elections in Germany raised the possibility of speed limits being introduced on its motorways. It produced a defeat for the party of long-standing chancellor Angela Merkel.

Vettel, an admirer of Merkel, said he was not disappointed by the outcome of the election and hopes the new government will tackle social injustice and climate change.

“I think in a way the whole of Germany or the whole Europe or world might miss Angela Merkel,” he said. “I think she’s been a great leader. It’s been very difficult times she had to go through.

“But I also feel we are ready for a change. I’m not disappointed by the result, I hope that with the result that we have, the next government that will be in place will apply a lot of actions.

“I think it’s time for actions when talking about social injustice or talking about the climate crisis. I think there’s lots of things that have to be addressed now. I’m not a specialist in politics, but I think there’s just certain topics around the globe that we can be pioneers [in].

“Germany is a very rich country and we can use our wealth and our network of a strong industry and clever people and engineering power to hopefully be the first ones to shift towards a better future. And by doing so, inspire a lot of other nations to do the same.

“So I think that’s why it’s been so important these elections and hopefully the outcome of whoever will be the new government will put things in place and will act rather than talk.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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75 comments on “Vettel backs call to abolish unrestricted speeds on Germany’s autobahns”

  1. José Lopes da Silva
    7th October 2021, 20:29

    It’s a no-brainer, yeah.

    1. A no brainer to not touch this. Its a relic that should be cherised. Just because Vettel can’t drive in traffic, we don’t have to suffer.

    2. The amount of ads along the road and elsewhere for the prevention of big crashes is staggering.
      A normalization is needed.
      You also seen many foreign road racers think they can use it for there insane actions.

      Ps: There has to be a solution to the nordschleife, as it’s now also just a road.

  2. To be honest, the times I drove in the Autobahn in the last 5 years I noticed that:
    – driving over 130km/h doesn’t really help to arrive earlier because of the roadworks every 30km or zones of 100km.
    – fuel consumption increases dramatically above 140km/h so the time won is almost lost on fuel stops.
    – it’s very nervous driving on a 2 lane Autobahn, because when you want to overtake a truck you have to watch very careful nobody is coming up on 200km/h. In Belgium the other driver would be 80 over the speed limit, so would be at fault and it happens very seldom. In Germany I would probably be at fault because I’m doing a manoeuvre.

    1. Yup. This matches my experience here.

      Folk have this image of the Autobahn having no speed limits at all, yet a third of it does have a speed limit, and those parts pop up fairly regularly. Then once you’re out of a speed-limited zone in a fast car, there’s a good chance of either roadworks slowing you down, traffic being your way, or (relatively) slow overtakers blocking the outside lane. So most people wouldn’t be overly inconvenienced by limits everywhere (likely 130 km/h, which is 81 mph).

      A very measured response from Seb overall, especially regarding the election.

      1. I agree. At least 80% should be without limit again and those road works need to be reviewed. My thoughts its hidden unemployment. Its either paying people an income for sitting at home or let them maintain roads. Often nothing happens, just the road blocks but no actual work. Lets make Germany great again.

    2. +1

      Completely same experience, also like to add its getting more and more common for drivers barely going 130 kph or slower that pull out in front of you to pass a truck going 80-100 kph or the ones who reluctantly pull over to the right lane when your very fast approaching them even when they do see you and do it with a long delay, you then get the common disapproving look back at you. I’ve also have seen a fair amount of accidents on it.

      I think it’s a valid and worthwhile discussion to have. The autobahn of today is a very far cry of it’s original intention & legendary status. I think 140-150kph could be sensible and if you think that is slow, try driving in Norway with a max 80kph speed limit; now that is very painful :)

      The construction & trucks during the day is the killer of the autobahn, it seems to be constant no matter where you’re at on it, with the very high volume of trucks consuming the slower lane causing the overtake lane to be constantly filled with cars barely going 130 kph or slower. Being able to travel at 220+kph is now much harder than it use to be, you only get short spurts of it and puts a very high premium of having excellent brakes. Be prepared to slam on the brakes hard at very high speeds.

      Having said that, It is wonderful when it’s wide open and clear, cruising at 260kph on its beautifully graded roads is a very special experience (and a luxury).

    3. I love to drive fast, but it shouldn’t take much sense to realize overtaking cars going much slower than you is a bad idea. Any mistake and the consequences are horrific.

      Also deer. Driving fast on public roads stopped being fun after a few close calls with deer. Maybe the deer have better manners in Germany.

    4. I love to drive fast, but it shouldn’t take much sense to realize overtaking cars going much slower than you is a bad idea. Any mistake and the consequences are horrific.

      Also deer. Driving fast on public roads stopped being fun after a few close calls with wildlife. Maybe the deer in Germany have better manners.

      1. José Lopes da Silva
        8th October 2021, 7:58

        “It’s like a horse with horns”. (Austria 2001)

  3. Oh my God, this Sebastian Hamilttel is so boring!

    Of course he does feel free: he wants it this way. What kind of argument is this?!

    Blah blah blah, environment this and that, but the crux of every environmental problem won’t ever be properly tackled, because nations’ entire economies are built over them. For whatever measure they seem to take, they create another problem.

    Just focus on driving, man.

    1. Your opinion is much more boring! At least Vettel is concerned about his fellow humans, and wants to make positive changes. I’d say he is capable of focusing more on just driving. Maybe that is a good lesson for you, although it doesn’t sound like you are open to such things. Just let it slide, somebody else’s problem, why even try- Boring!

      1. @ferrox-glideh – oh please, Mr. Enlightment, do carry us for a brighter future! Are you an embodiment of the zeitgeist as well?

        Being concerned with fellow humans goes way beyond than imposing laws determining what is good to them, as if they did not know any better. So, spare me from these shallow remarks.

        And don’t forget to wear pink to save the waters in the world, that is surely a positive change! :0)

        1. I guess the logical reaction to perceived “virtue signalling” is a “nastiness signalling”, eh?
          The basis of all decent law is concern for the society that is being governed.
          Luckily for you, the willfully unenlightened now have their moment.

        2. @niefer Also, at the end of your initial post, you seem to be hoping for Seb to be shallower in his remarks. Is this not contrary to your wishing to be spared from shallow remarks?

        3. @ferrox-glideh – you are trying too hard.
          For starters, it wasn’t me who came trying to educate anyone assuming the other does not care about people.

          The basis of all decent law is concern for the society that is being governed.

          Says you, sir, apparently.

          Luckily for you, the willfully unenlightened now have their moment.

          The same type of politicians, bureaucrats and tools are having their moment since the beginning of century prior, if not more.

          Lastly, I hope he uses sport platform to promote sports, not political agendas. Because as ‘woken’ he was shallow. But as a sportsman, he is a pool of knowledge.

        4. Well said. And the same shallow tripe from Seb as repeated by the health and safety brigade that “if it saves one life..” which is allowing politicians to strip us of our freedoms with a “flu” which has a survival rate of 99.86%.
          Why not close all roads by that methodology or, let’s see, force healthy people to stay in house arrest if it saves just one octogenarian..

          1. Yeah what’s the point in wearing seatbelts? They restrict my chest.

            What’s the point in drink driving laws? They make it harder for me to get home after I’ve had a big night out.

            What’s the point of murder being a crime? It means I can’t give someone I don’t like what I think they deserve.

            And using your figures, if everyone caught this “flu”, that’d be nearly 10 million people dead. But of course, why should I stop going to pubs or restaurants for a few weeks to help stop 10 million people dying?

            One of the things that happen whenever sportspeople make comments about environment, or safety, or inclusion, is that it truly reveals the absolute ugliness of other humans.

          2. @oweng

            150m people have been put into extreme poverty because of the economic restrictions (as well as millions other put into basic poverty). Both these dramatically decrease life expectancy (an early death from poverty is no different from an early death from a virus). So from a purely utilitarian standpoint the economic restrictions have caused far more damage than the virus ever could have.

            “This increase in extreme deprivation comes with its own suffering and anguish: jobs and homes were lost and people struggled to feed their children and themselves. Many asked whether they ‘would die of Coronavirus or hunger?’” ”

            So if you think you’re ethically more sound believing in restricting freedom, then I suggest you put yourself int he position of a child who now can’t eat because travel killed the tourism their family so desperately relied upon, or economic restriction meant their work was no longer available. Just think about that for a second – literal starvation.

            Economic growth and economic freedom literally SAVE lives, hundreds of millions of lives. We saw a miraculous run of decreasing extreme poverty worldwide STOP and REVERSE in 2020. The callous nature that people gloat about the liberty taken away as if it was a moral good is bewildering to the ignorance people suffer in the poorest parts of the world when we annihilate supply chains etc.. It screams of western egocentrism.

            10,000,000 dead is actually nothing compared to the 150,000,000 now in extreme poverty who will die earlier and will live hopeless lives as will their children. And in addition we probably have a GIGANTIC increase in general poverty in the region of maybe 500,000,000. In years of life lost that is biblical.

      2. Philipe Goulet
        8th October 2021, 4:04

        The argument of safety makes little sense in my opinion. Having a slower speed limit is technically always safer, so why stop at 130, or 100, or 80 if 50 is safer? Where do you draw the line? The autobahn is already one of the safest motorways in the world.

        I personally believe having speed limits on some parts are absolutely nescessary, and I could even understand someone pushing for limits based on the time of day. I however, don’t think a 130km/h speed limit at 3am on an empty highway is reasonable or nescessary.

    2. Maybe counter his argument instead of trying to shut him down @niefer.

      1. “Blah blah blah, environment this and that, but the crux of every environmental problem won’t ever be properly tackled, because nations’ entire economies are built over them”

        Maybe you could elaborate on this for example for a start. What do you mean exactly?

      2. I’m afraid that is all that he’s got :)

      3. @john-h – without much deep, suffice it to say politicians articulate to banish ICE in favour of full-electric on environmental grounds when the great deal of Europe relies massively on burning coal.

        What about the harm done by manufacturing tons of batteries in the long-term?

        Ok, now about the autobahns. He says it’s a good way to save emissions… but what about the full electric, aren’t they clean on that? And they will be harmed because of others, then? Is this fair? I think not.

        Another point. Why does it have to be draconically capped? Why not go for the restriction only at the 2-laned stretches instead of any bahn?

        What about then restricting the speed at business hours only?

        What about sportsmen as puppets of any given agenda because they merely relate to a concept feeling, just like Mr. Sunshine @ferrox-glideh over here?

        I think it’s time for actions when talking about social injustice or talking about the climate crisis. I think there’s lots of things that have to be addressed now. I’m not a specialist in politics, but I think there’s just certain topics around the globe that we can be pioneers [in].

        The same blabber over and over, a curtain for civil and liberty violations based on assumptions, which is actually a complex matter, but I suppose I must have the same opinions to be validated, no?

        1. without much deep, suffice it to say politicians articulate to banish ICE in favour of full-electric on environmental grounds when the great deal of Europe relies massively on burning coal.

          Of course, they do burn coal to produce energy which would charge all those battery cells.

          1. Now don’t you feel better?

          2. It must hurt having nothing more so only cheekiness is left, eh @ferrox-glideh?
            Be assured I’ll feel better when you sir act with integrity and tag me so I can check your excuses for replies. ;)

          3. And all that you started with was cheekiness. Your verbosity betrays your lack of integrity, because you argue for individual liberties over the common good.

          4. @ferrox-glideh – did you know the collective is composed by individuals?
            And your saint aura is neglecting people for the faceless crowds as if everyone was the same thing and did the same things? As if they were cattle?

            Can’t you see all of your remarks are imbued of a political agenda which isn’t necessarily right?

            And most importantly, you do understand you came here to antagonise me instead of trying to debate, as @john-h here?

            If not, get lost.

        2. Yes Germany’s (in particular) burning of coal is another problem that needs a solution @niefer, I agree with you. However you are conflating two things that actually both need addressing. Battery manufacturing is indeed a real issue also, however the lesser evil compared to petrol and diesel emissions for many many reasons.

          The suggestions you make about a middle ground seem sensible to me, restricting speeds at certain times only, etc. The problem I have is your original comment, I mean go and re-read it, what do you expect? Grow up man (and yes that is patronising).

          1. @john-h – middle ground is all I can strive for at any forum and I’m glad we found healthy balance.

            Still, I honestly fail to see what triggered you at my parent-post (and I don’t mean trigger as derogatory). Maybe I can identify some degree of disrespect over both Hamilton and Vettel but honestly, it is nothing really despicable, mainly if we consider some pernicious things said (shy of proper depth) by celebrities can have great impact on ‘extrinsic’ audiences. Ofc, this is a complex an subjective matter under an objective behaviour which I don’t think it’s really worth dwelling into.

            In the end, I guess we’re cool?

    3. @niefer Yeah it’s annoying to see people virtue signaling for likes like this. As always nothing about unpopular issues like wars or occupations even if it’s dying and suffering on a massive scale.

      1. @balue – yes, I am not fond of too much smoke.

    4. Just focus on driving, man

      I immediately wondered what you should focus on; writing insightful comments is clearly not your gift.

      Blah blah blah

      But at least you’re still doing some self-reflection.

      1. Look, Ma: another Enlightened without substance!

        1. Who is ‘Ma’?

        2. @niefer To quote you above: “Can’t you see all of your remarks are imbued of a political agenda which isn’t necessarily right?” I think you might want to look in the mirror and see if this might apply to yourself.

          1. (3rd pitch -_-) @ferrox-glideh
            I can only requite what is presented to me after I’ve done my bid, which is, to present argument.

          2. yay! finally \o/

    5. Yeah man keep year politics outta mah sports how can this dude have opinions only I the forum warrior have opinions

      1. @eljueta – Wow, you showed me. What a legend. Only the enlightened can have opinions, got it.

        Care to save me from my dark path?

        1. @niefer That’s right, feel the hate, let it flow through you.

  4. Why he compared it with US? There’s study that show injury rate for accidents that occur on the Autobahn is just 0.08 per billion kilometers. That’s far more safer than almost all US states.

    And what’s with that emissions, social injustice, climate crisis, better future? Is Vettel going to run for office or something?

    1. He is using his voice as a celebrity because he thinks he can help things. Better than listening to some shallow opinions on fashion or music. It sounds like the guy has a social conscience.

  5. And save the allegedly 0.005% of emissions that are caused by driving fast in a country with less than 1.1% of the world’s population. These nickel and dime suggestions are beyond stupid and will make absolutely no difference.

    1. Hmm, first quantify the slightest bit of difference and then re-define it to zero.
      Everything makes a difference, I’ve watched quite a few EV’s testing on the autobahn, they always look at performance and always finally focus on consumption.

    2. And it shows how much a puppet also Vettel has become. Meeehh, meeeehhh all repeatibg whatever a PR machine came up with

  6. I find whether he’s right or not almost beside the point; it’s the logic I question.

    “if it helps to save only one person from being injured or one person’s life, then I think it’s a no-brainer.”

    Well, that sort of thinking pretty much ends F1 and motorsport as a whole, right? We close it down if it helps to save only one person’s life? Is that not a no-brainer?

  7. Coincidence this comes a few days after the terrible Nurburgring TF wreck? :(

    1. I think the ring needs to have an overhaul of the safety system @nanotech or some way to warn drivers much more in advance. Something placed on the dash, or something triggered by someone watching cams. There has to be a way to improve things without losing the essence of the ring.

    2. The Nurburgring accident did sound very bad and it’s unfortunate that it happened. I always found it very odd when they allow car and motorcycles to run together on open track days, I cringe at the thought of it.
      Sounds like their were not enough marshals but at the same time 12.94-mile Nordschleife track is insanely massive to marshal and being run on a workday (Monday) so not surprised to hear that (doesn’t mean its ok).

      I like the idea about having an in car signally system and a camera system to monitor the track where there’s no marshals to cover.

  8. Is the Autobahn one of safest roads in the world? I drove on it years ago, managed to a naturally aspirated Opel Astra 1.6 (6 Speed Manual) to 200ks an hour….it took a lot of concentration I tell you.

    But yes, its not as if you would gun it all the way through. However, I felt the driving etiquette was exemplary, everyone was very mindful of cars that are going very fast.

    Anyway, I can cite the report right now, I remember reading a study that stated that people actually drove better without needing to worry about a speed limit, because they focus entirely on the road and not their speed. Not sure if would be valid now with more driving aids.

    1. @jaymenon10 I struggle to stay awake & focus less when having to drive slow :)
      Norway is a classic example of that, The highways are amazingly well made with light traffic so going 80 kph felt almost like a crime to drive that slow, very painful; thankfully it has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world to look at to pass the time and enjoy.

      1. @redpill I fully agree with you (slower driving equals increased drowsiness)

        Very fortunate where I live that there are some areas that you are able to drive *a little* over the limit… but must admit that I have lost my licence previously due to speeding too. I’m all for speed limits, so long as there are areas where people can have the freedom to take the risk if they wish and drive as fast as they wish.

        I have never been to Germany and its a life dream of mine to drive on the autobahn. It would be such a shame for it to be changed.

        Not all of us have access to closed roads, unfortunately.

        1. @rache3 @redpill That is complety different expirence i enjoyed when i drive 130km/h average i get sleepy (or drowsy) that is the engine of constant humming but at lower speeds i get more alert as i know things happen a lot.
          As for the Autoban as Neighbor (Dutch) i drove a lot there but it’s not very enjoyable to drive fast there as you get blocked very often by other cars, roadworks, roadworks and did i say roadworks? There are too many cars there and i am afraid you will never enjoy the unlimited speed anymore (I tried at night but that is dangerous)

  9. Friedrich Bossert
    8th October 2021, 2:28

    Not only do I agree with your comments and world view on here Ferrox, as an old Canadian F1 fan since 1975, I am touched that you use Gilles as your avatar. I will never forget him, nor Ayrton, and to see younger people (as I assume you are) respect those great drivers even today touches me very deeply.

  10. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    8th October 2021, 3:23

    One of the automobile magazines in the US had written an article where they had driven a car across Germany to see how fast they could drive. I think they averaged 60mph because of traffic and road work. They did manage to hit 300 km/h at some point.

    We used to drive through Germany when I was young.

    The moment I will never forget is when my dad moved over to the right lane at 220kmh which was surprising and a Porsche Turbo overtook us probably going around 250kmh. Now I remember clearly the passenger in the Porsche Turbo turning their head and looking back. I wondered why and a second later I found out why.

    A Blue Volvo 740 Station Wagon, yes you read right a Volvo 740 Station Wagon passed us, switched to the right lane immediately and began to overtake the Porsche Turbo as they accelerated away.

    I couldn’t believe my eyes!

    I’m pretty sure the Porsche lost.

    1. @freelittlebirds

      Michael, I’ve had the same experienced. You think you going really fast and then see the headlights behind you get bigger, change lanes for the car to pass and its some local driving a 10 yr old estate car flying by. It’s pretty surprising what cars you see flying by but there are some very well made and fast everyday standard looking cars in Germany with people who know how to drive them.

      Having said all that and my earlier comments above, I do think driving at crazy high speeds on the autobahn is a bit of a selfish and dangerous guilty pleasure for the only few have the pleasure of doing. The safety issues & practically aspects are also very valid. Now with so many slow trucks on it, the higher amount of traffic; it now does make much less sense for allowing unlimited speed sections compared to the ’80’s. If there were no trucks allowed on the autobahn, then that would also make things very different to go fast safely but that would never happen nor practical to appease selfish speeders.
      For me, I’ve been extremely grateful to be given the opportunities to drive amazing cars on it between venues and while working in Europe but as @paeschli mentioned, most of the time the fast drivers are only going 140-170 kph and the economics of going fast for local players are very real; it doesn’t take many visits to the petrol station to also realize the high costs and impracticality of it. And the danger is also very real, there’s been several times slow cars without giving enough notice switch to the fast lane right in front of me, forcing me slam the brakes hard, testing them at over 220kph. It’s one thing to do that on the track, it’s a totally another thing to having to do that on a public road.

      So yeah, Seb has a very valid point.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        8th October 2021, 13:25

        @redpill yeah, the Volvo 740 was custom made and souped up beyond belief. I recall the tires were wide so they must have been capable of at least 270-280kmh to be accelerating faster than the Porsche Turbo.

        This was 35 years ago so those speeds were extraordinary.

        I’m all for safety. Germany is generally safe (one driver in a S Mercedes was tailgating 2 inches in traffic at 200kmh – never seen anything as aggressive ever) but we drove through Yugoslavia and Greece where my dad would overtake crossing into opposite traffic at 200kmh with trucks. F1 is nothing compared to seeing 100 trucks coming at you at 300kmh for days and barely making the overtake. Plus, the car’s acceleration back then was nothing compared to today so there was a lot of margin for error :-)

        As a result, I’m a super safe driver with my family and would never subject them to such unnecessary risk and abuse.

        Vettel is definitely right.

  11. I think the question we need to ask is whether those who drive think driving is a responsibility or a right. If they think it is the latter, then yeah we need rules.

  12. If you want to drive ‘slow’ on the autobahn, you can. In my experience no one is actually going at 200 kph on it, the fastest drivers may do 160-170 kph while a good chunk hover around 140 kph. Fuel consumption increases so dramatically above 130 kph that it really isn’t worth it for the vast majority of drivers.

  13. The speed differential between cars on those roads is scary as. Flagrant disregard for others safety. I could not agree more with Seb’ on this one.

    1. Indeed it’s not necessarily the speed that kills, but the speed difference.
      If I drive 130 in Belgium, I have a difference of 40 kph with lorries, 10 with most other cars.
      If I drive 160 in Belgium (enough to lose my license), difference with cars is still ‘only’ 40 kph.
      If I drive 200 in Germany, the difference with lorries is 110kph and 70 with most other cars.
      That’s a whole other game.

    2. Flagrant disregard for others safety.

      But driving etiquette is much better than in most other countries (except for many foreign plated cars).

      But still it makes sense as Vettel states to leave the unlimited speed to open tracks.

  14. 7.8 billion people, o/w only 1.8 billion w/ a standard of living commensurate w/ developed world, and the remaining 6.0 billion aspiring to the same. And who’s to say they can’t have it?
    Folks, this is the elephant, and it’s an immovable object.
    Speed limits on the autobahn, UK “going green”, F1 sustainability; pffft, completely irrelevant.

    1. So we have to reduce the population?

      1. No speed limits on the Autobahn can only help then.

  15. He’s got a valid point.

  16. I wonder if car development could make a switch to greater efficiency without the “need” to cover speeds up to 250 kph (and more).
    We go full electric but produce cars that weigh 2,5 tons and produce 500-600 hp to drive 110-130 kph? 0-100 kph in 3,x s for what?

  17. A few points:
    1. The limit of 130km/h in my country seems reasonable, given that most people drive 140. But I had to drive across Germany once and I was glad that I could go up to 170, as it made the trip shorter by some 2 hours. That said, I would not want to have this possible in my country, because the proportion of ruthless drivers is significantly higher here (on that note, driving on US highways felt like relaxation compared to Central Europe, drivers are really very considerate there, I did not mind driving 1000km daily repeatedly and did not feel tired at the end of the day). To conclude, I think that Germany can afford to set the limit to somewhere around 180 and still please most of the people driving there.
    2. A few years ago I accidentally stumbled over an extensive and rigorous study made by some Canadian agency responsible for road safety. They assembled a lot of data that very convincingly pinpointed speed differential as the dominant factor in accidents. Sure, it is a common sense, but it is nice to have it confirmed by big data. The report suggested that speed limit should be set according to the speed that majority of drivers feel appropriate for this or that segment of the road.
    3. The environmental argument for lowering speeds I find rather forced, as there are much more importantr factors at play that can be fixed easily – if anyone cared. Perhaps Vettel could help publicise some of these. For instance:
    a) Skoda recently stopped production of a compact combi car that has been the backbone for family needs for years, and for more than a decade remains the most demanded type of its size. On the surface, cancelling it makes no economic sense, so why? Because manufacturers have to pay a fine for every ICE car they produce, and fines for small cars are actually significantly higher compared to large cars like luxury sedans and SUVs. I could not believe it when I heard it the first time, so I checked: EU calculates the fine with a formula based on several factors, and the formula indeed penalises smaller cars in a very big way. So what really European union is trying to achieve is to get rid of smaller cars with low consumption (I happen to keep detailed notes, and so I know that our 18 years old family combi compact still took only about 6.35 l per 100km over the summer holiday) and replace them with SUVs with significantly higher fuel consumption and hence also higher emissions including CO2.
    b) Similarly, EU regulations pushed several manufacturers to abandon four-cylinder engines in their smaller cars (Skoda being one of them). Sure, on paper the three-cylinder engine they now put in the car I drive takes one liter less per 100km, but some of our friends have it, and when you load 4-piece family in it and attempt to drive 130 on a highway, it easily takes 10l/100km, because three cylinders simply do not have the volume (hence energy) to do it on reasonable rpm. The net result of this move by EU is increased emissions.

    Compared to this, saving some CO2 by lowering speeds on autobahns is negligible.

  18. Another sign of Vettel’s quality as a person and his intelligence.
    He is proving as time goes by that he is not only one of the great champions of Formula 1, but one of the smartest current drivers.

  19. I’d genuinely be upset if they limited the Autobahn, primarily because there are very few greater joys than putting your foot to the floor in an EV and briefly getting to actually unleash all the torque. However, I do grant that the ability to run at 220kph is quite dangerous.

  20. Vettel, Vettel ….. ! What’s next? Speed limit on the race track?

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