Sebastian Vettel to retire from F1 by the end of 2022
Sebastian Vettel, four-time F1 world champion, has announced he will retire from the sport "by the end of the 2022 season".
In a heartfelt instagram Reel, posted as the first on his new channel, Vettel said he no longer had to the energy to commit to F1 as well as "being a good father and husband".
Vettel won all four of his F1 crowns in a row, from 2010 to 2013, with Red Bull Racing. After making his debut as a substitute at the 2007 US Grand Prix for BMW, the then 19-year-old signed to drive for Red Bull’s junior team, Torro Rosso for the second half of the 2007 season and 2008.
He clinched his first race win for the former Minardi team in a shock result at a soaking wet Monza in 2008. The following year he was promoted to the senior team alongside Mark Webber, clinching Red Bull’s first ever F1 win in just his third race for the team.
His first title came just a year later, after a battle with Fernando Alonso that went down to the very last race. While his 2010 and 2012 titles were a result of battles with Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and team-mate Webber, his ’11 and ’13 crowns were some of the most dominant in history. His 2013 title included a run of nine consecutive Grand Prix wins.
After leaving Red Bull following a disjointed 2014 season, he joined Ferrari, helping to pull the Scuderia back to front of the grid. Vettel’s title battles with Lewis Hamilton in 2017 and 2018 may have resulted in defeat, but they were the closest Ferrari has come to the title since Alonso’s near-miss in 2010.
Vettel’s final F1 win came in 2019, a season in which results had begun to decline as he raced alongside up and coming Ferrari protege Charles Leclerc. Before the delayed 2020 season had even begun Ferrari had announced his departure at the end of the season.
Since then he has raced for the new Aston Martin F1 team, the high point being his second place at Azerbaijan and near victory (before disqualification) in Hungary, when Vettel just failed to overcome Esteban Ocon.
Seb, it’s been an honour to call you a competitor and an ever greater honour to call you my friend. Leaving this sport better than you found it is always the goal. I have no doubt that whatever comes next for you will be exciting, meaningful, and rewarding. Love you, man. pic.twitter.com/eHVmOpov2m
At the time of announcing his retirement Vettel has won 53 grands Prix and sits third on the all-time list behind only Hamilton and Michael Schumacher.
In his later years Vettel’s image transformed from a slightly hot headed hard racer, to one of the father figures and elder statesmen of the sport. Often seen leading the charge for equality alongside Hamilton, or acting as a mentor to younger drivers like Mick Schumacher.
Vettel’s Instagram statement did not say whether he intended to pursue any other future in motorsport, but strongly hinted at a future in campaigning for the battle against climate change.
“I want to thank Sebastian from the bottom of my heart for the great work that he has done for Aston Martin over the past year and a half,” said Aston Martin executive chairman and team owner Lawrence Stroll.
“We made it clear to him that we wanted him to continue with us next year, but in the end he has done what he feels is right for himself and his family, and of course we respect that.
“He has driven some fantastic races for us, and, behind the scenes, his experience and expertise with our engineers have been extremely valuable.
“He is one of the all-time greats of Formula One, and it has been a privilege to have been able to work with him.
He will continue to race for us up to and including the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which will be his 300th grand prix entry. We will give him a fabulous send-off.”
I’m so sad that you’re leaving, but at the same time excited for you and this new chapter of your life. You’ve been and still are such an important person to me and I’m thankful for our friendship. pic.twitter.com/1iFmlxxgyQ
I hereby announce my retirement from Formula 1 by the end of the 2022 season.
Probably I should start with a long list of people to thank now, but I feel it is more important to explain the reasons behind my decision.
I love this sport, it has been central to my life since I can remember but as much as there is life on track, there is my life off track too. Being a racing driver has never been my sole identity, I very much believe in identity by who we are and how we treat others, rather than what we do.
Who am I? I am Sebastian, father of three children and husband to a wonderful woman. I am curious and easily fascinated by passionate or skilled people. I am obsessed with perfection. I am tolerant and feel we all have the same rights to live no matter what we look like, where we come from and who we love.
I love being outside and love nature and its wonders. I am stubborn and impatient, I can be really annoying, I like to make people laugh, I like chocolate and the smell of fresh bread, my favourite colour is blue. I believe in change and progress and that every little bit makes a difference, I am an optimist and I believe people are good.
Next to racing I have grown a family and I love being around them, I have grown other interests outside Formula 1, my passion for Formula 1 comes with lots of time spent away from them and takes a lot of energy.
Committing to my passion the way I did and in the way I think is right does no longer go side by side with my wish to be a great father and husband. The energy it takes to become one with the car and the team to chase perfection takes focus and commitment.
My goals have shifted from racing for wins and fighting for championship to seeing my children grow. Passing on my values and helping them up when they fall, listening to them when they need me, not having to say goodbye, and most importantly being able to learn from them and let them inspire me.
Children are our future, and further I feel there is so much to explore and learn about life and about myself.
Speaking of the future, I feel we live in very decisive times, and how we all shape these next years will determine our lives. My passion comes with certain aspects that I have learned to dislike, they might be solved in future, but the will to apply that change has to grow much much stronger and has to be leading to action today.
Talk is not enough and we can not afford to wait, there is no alternative, the race is underway.
My best race? Still to come. I believe in moving forwards and moving on. Time is a one way street and I want to go with the times. Looking back is only going to slow you down.
I look forward to racing down unknown tracks and I will be finding new challenges. The marks I have left on track will stay until time and rain will wash them away. New ones will be put down, tomorrow belongs to those shaping today, the next corner is in good hands, as the next generation has already turned in.
I believe there is still a race to win, farewell and thanks for letting me share the track with you, I loved every bit of it.
Images courtesy of Motorsport Images.
Congrats Seb, on an amazing career. I’m very happy to have shared the track with you, let’s make your last races great once more 🤝 pic.twitter.com/WnKCuotv0T