Aston Martin wanted to keep Sebastian Vettel beyond this season but was unable to change his mind on retirement, according to the team’s owner Lawrence Stroll.
Vettel has announced he will retire at the end of the season, bringing to an end a 16-year career in Formula 1 that yielded four world championships and 53 victories to date, leaving him third on the all-time winners’ list. The German joined Aston Martin at the start of 2021 from Ferrari, and Stroll says he wanted to retain Vettel.
“I want to thank Sebastian from the bottom of my heart for the great work that he has done for Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team over the past year and a half,” Stroll (pictured above) said. “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 1, 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.”
Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack says Vettel has already played a key role in the team’s development that will help it become successful in the future.
“Sebastian is a superb driver — fast, intelligent and strategic — and of course we are going to miss those qualities,” Krack said. “However, we have all learned from him, and the knowledge that we have gained from working with him will continue to benefit our team long after his departure.
“Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team is a great project, with unlimited potential, and the groundwork that Sebastian has done last year, and is still doing this year, is crucial. When we become fully competitive — and we will — one of the architects of that future success will be Sebastian, and we will always be grateful to him for that.”
Vettels pledged he will continue to give his all for the team over the remainder of the season before retiring in Abu Dhabi.
“I have had the privilege of working with many fantastic people in Formula 1 over the past 15 years — there are far too many to mention and thank,” Vettel said. “Over the past two years I have been an Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team driver and, although our results have not been as good as we had hoped, it is very clear to me that everything is being put together that a team needs to race at the very highest level for years to come.
“I have really enjoyed working with such a great bunch of people. Everyone — Lawrence, Lance, Martin (Whitmarsh), Mike, the senior managers, the engineers, the mechanics and the rest of the team — is ambitious, capable, expert, committed and friendly, and I wish them all well.
“I hope that the work I did last year and am continuing to do this year will be helpful in the development of a team that will win in the future, and I will work as hard as I can between now and the end of the year with that goal in mind, giving as always my best in the last 10 races.”