Motor racing-Vettel has Formula One buzzing on return to Suzuka

Formula One F1 - Japanese Grand Prix - Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka, Japan - September 21, 2023 Former driver Sebastian Vettel poses with drivers and team members as he launches 'Buzzin' Corner' a project to raise awareness about the importance of biodiversity REUTERS/Issei Kato

SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - Retired four times world champion Sebastian Vettel had the Formula One paddock buzzing on Thursday with the launch of a bio-diversity project at Japan's Suzuka circuit.

The German, who left the sport last season, returned to his favourite track to unveil 10 'insect hotels' inside Turn Two, dubbed 'Buzzin' Corner' with special black and yellow kerbs instead of the usual red and white.

Drivers from all the 10 teams helped add sticks and other materials to the wooden structures, with each team painting their own.

"I’m very, very excited, we are launching a new project," said the 36-year-old on his Instagram page.

"We are racing for bio-diversity," he added. "I want to with this project create awareness around the importance and the subject of biodiversity.

"Hopefully this is just the beginning of an initiative and projects around the world leading to more yellow and black kerbs at racetracks and more habitat and space for insects, standing up for bio-diversity..."

Seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton, who recently signed a new contract with Mercedes at the age of 38 and has used his platform to campaign for social and racial justice and promote diversity, welcomed his old rival.

"It's great, firstly, to have Seb back this weekend. He sat down and told all the drivers of his plans," the Briton told reporters. "It was great to see that he's found his purpose...

"I always just hope that with the things that he's doing, for example, that he inspires the other drivers to do something along, maybe, in their own lane."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis)

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