Four times world champion Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement from Formula One at the end of the season, saying on Thursday 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 explained. 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 are questions I ask myself every day and I’m not a saint,” he said then.