Sebastian Vettel will retire from F1 at the end of the season

By topgear, 29 July 2022

Sebastian Vettel will retire from F1 at the end of the season

Oh. My. God. Sebastian Vettel has sent shockwaves through F1 by announcing that he will retire from the sport at the end the season when his contract with Aston Martin ends.

Ahead of the French GP last week the 35-year-old had said “there’s a clear intention to keep going” when asked about his future with the team, but instead he’s chosen to call time on his record-breaking career.

"I have had the privilege of working with many fantastic people in Formula One over the past 15 years - there are far too many to mention and thank,” said Seb in a statement.

"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, 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.

"The decision to retire has been a difficult one for me to take, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about it; at the end of the year I want to take some more time to reflect on what I will focus on next; it is very clear to me that, being a father, I want to spend more time with my family. But today is not about saying goodbye.

"Rather, it is about saying thank you - to everyone - not least to the fans, without whose passionate support Formula One could not exist."

Wow. It goes without saying that Vettel is one of the most successful drivers ever to race in F1, becoming its youngest ever world champion at the age of 23 in 2010, kickstarting a run of four world titles in a row with Red Bull.

He then made the switch to Ferrari in 2015, and although he ran Lewis Hamilton close for the championship in 2017 and 2018, he never quite managed to emulate the success of childhood hero Michael Schumacher with the Maranello team.

Vettel opted to join the rebranded Aston Martin at the beginning of 2021, and although he made the podium in only his sixth race with the British outfit, Aston’s car has seen the team struggle for pace and consistent points.

And while his stock as a driver isn’t what it once was, Vettel has become more vocal about social and environmental issues, earning respect worldwide outside of the racetrack.

Seb can also reflect on 53 victories (only Hamilton and Schumi have more), 122 podiums and 57 pole positions since he made his debut in 2007 with BMW Sauber. And he still has 10 grands prix to add to those tallies, of course.

Go well Seb, and good luck with whatever comes next.

TEXT Joe Holding

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