Sebastian Vettel says he needs some time away from Formula 1 over the winter after what he describes as an exhausting 2018 season.
21 races marked the joint-longest season in F1 history, matching the total from 2016 when Vettel was not in the title hunt. This year saw the Ferrari driver going head to head with Lewis Hamilton for much of the year before his challenge slipped away following the end of the European season, and Vettel says some time off is needed after missing out on the championship.
“The thing that I look forward to after this year, to be very honest, is to turn everything off,” Vettel said. “I think I need some time for myself. I think it has been a quite difficult and exhausting year for me. I definitely need a bit of a gap. I’m pretty sure, based on the last winters, that very soon … I’m very, very hungry again for the next race. As I said, getting away for a little bit and then focus.
“I need a bit of time now — I think we all do — and then the reflection usually comes on its own. The guys at the factory are flat-out pushing for next year — they’re not normally well off with some reflection, they need to stay at full throttle! Certainly there are a couple of things that went wrong that we need to review, but I’m sure time will tell and then I hope we come back stronger.”
Although keen to switch off, Vettel says there are often lessons to be learned with a bit of time away from the sport that can then help him return a stronger proposition in 2019, but the four-time world champion is wary of trying to make drastic changes.
“For now I need a bit of time just to shut things down and then I think usually … I don’t know, it’s a bit like skiing: maybe you learn something overnight before you go on the slopes again the next day.
“Obviously our ‘night,’ it would help to hibernate — it would be stretching the night a lot longer than it is but I think we have a little bit of time to digest and analyze. I’ve always tried to improve things. I don’t think I need to change things upside down but certainly I can adjust and get stronger.”