Formula One | Sebastian Vettel announces retirement, says his goals have shifted

Sebastian Vettel made the announcement ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, the 13th round of the season and last race before the August break.

Updated - July 28, 2022 10:58 pm IST

Published - July 28, 2022 04:58 pm IST

Sebastian Vettel. File

Sebastian Vettel. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel announced his decision to retire from Formula One at the end of the season, saying, on July 28, 2022, that his goals had changed and he wanted to focus more on family and interests outside the sport.

The 35-year-old German, who drives for the Aston Martin team, won his titles with Red Bull from 2010-13 and also spent six seasons with Ferrari.

He made the announcement ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, the 13th round of the season and last race before the August break.

“I hereby announce my retirement from Formula One by the end of the 2022 season,” he said in a video statement, explaining his reasons on a newly-created Instagram page.

“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’s my life off track too. Being a racing driver has never been my sole identity.

“Next to racing I have grown a family and I love being around them. I have grown other interests outside Formula One,” he said.

Vettel, who has become increasingly outspoken on a range of topics from the environment to LGBTQ+ rights, said Formula One was increasingly in conflict with his personal life.

“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,” he said.

"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've learned to dislike."

Vettel said in May that climate change made him question his job as a racing driver.

Asked then whether his position on the environment and global warming made him a hypocrite, considering he was part of a “gas-guzzling” sport in a team sponsored by Saudi oil giant Aramco, he conceded that it did.

“There’s questions I ask myself every day and I’m not a saint,” he said then.

The following is his full statement:

“I hereby announce my retirement from Formula One 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’s 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 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’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 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 One.

“My passion for racing and Formula One 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.

“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’ve 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? 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 race down unknown tracks and I 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.”

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