Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has announced he will retire from Formula 1 at the end of the season.
The German is out of contract at Aston Martin at the end of this year and had only last week suggested there was an intention from both sides to continue the partnership, but has now confirmed that 2022 will be the last of a 16-year career in F1.
Vettel, 35, won all four of his world championships with Red Bull from 2010-13, and remains the youngest world champion in the history of the sport, taking his first title at 23 years and 134 days.
“I hereby announce my retirement from Formula 1 by the end of the 2022 season,” Vettel posted on his official Instagram page, having set it up specifically for the announcement. “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’m 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 like 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, I love nature and its wonders. I’m stubborn and impatient, I can be really annoying. I like to make people laugh, I like chocolate and the smell of fresh bread. My favorite color is blue. I believe in change and progress and every little bit makes a difference. I am an optimist and I believe people are good. Next to racing, I have grown a family who I love being around. I’ve grown other interests outside of Formula 1.
“My passion with racing and 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 the way I think it 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 winning races and fighting for championships to seeing my children grow, passing on my values, 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, further I feel there is so much to explore and learn about life and about myself.”
Vettel also suggested he was growing frustrated with F1’s lack of action to help tackle climate change challenges, having demonstrated sustainable fuels in both Nigel Mansell’s 1992 Williams and a 100-year-old Aston Martin at recent races.
“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 the 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 cannot afford to wait. There is no alternative. The race is underway. My best race is 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 will be finding new challenges.
“The marks I 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 new 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.”
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
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) July 28, 2022
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
— Mick Schumacher (@SchumacherMick) July 28, 2022