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Today’s all-electric Formula E race in Berlin was delayed by a brief protest held by members of a climate action group. The organization claims it was part of a larger protest to draw awareness to climate change.
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The German group “Letzte Generation,” which translates to Last Generation, took credit for the brief protest on Twitter and shared their own footage of the moment protestors stormed the grid. The video shows those who reach the grid doing so by scaling and then climbing down a catch fence while cars are still firing for their warm-up lap, then sitting directly on the grid before being forcefully removed. The entire event is less than a minute long, but the incursion onto a hot track posed a serious safety risk and led to a brief delay of the race’s start.
Protestors jumping onto a hot track is nothing new. The most notable case came at last year’s British Grand Prix, when members of a group called Just Stop Oil charged onto the track during a lap 1 that was eventually red flagged for an unrelated crash. Members of that group were sentenced in England last month, with three of the six receiving suspended prison sentences and the other three being given community service instead.
Outside of auto racing, the concept of a climate protest has spread like wildfire over the past two years. Notable examples include food being thrown at high-profile paintings, with the German Letzte Generation group being responsible for mashed potatoes and soup thrown at a Monet and a van Gogh, respectively. Those protests have impacted the racing world, too; Ultima Generazione, an Italian group whose name also translates to Last Generation, doused a BMW M1 art car designed by Andy Warhol with bags of flour.
In both the cases of the Formula 1 race and the BMW M1, groups targeted cars that ran on fossil fuels. Formula E is, notably, an all-electric racing series that heavily markets its multi-faceted focus on sustainability. That led to some confusion from drivers, who noted that Formula E as an organization agrees with the concerns of climate protestors around the world.