Vettel announces he will retire from Formula 1 at the end of 2022

2022 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Four-times Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel has announced he will retire from the sport at the end of the 2022 season.

The Aston Martin driver revealed his decision in a social media post ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend. Vettel, who is married and had three children, said he had decided to dedicate more time to his family.

“My passion for racing and Formula 1 comes with lots of time spent away from them and takes a lot of energy,” he said. “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.”

Vettel has also become an increasingly outspoken advocate of sustainable technologies in recent years. He admitted this has also influenced his decision to call time on his F1 career.

“My passion comes with certain aspects that I have learned to dislike,” Vettel said. “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.”

In a statement subsequently released by his team, Vettel said his 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,” he continued. “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 1 could not exist.”

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Vettel made his F1 debut in 2007. He joined Red Bull in 2009 and the following year won the first of his four consecutive world championship titles. He moved to Ferrari in 2015 and won 14 more races for the Scuderia. However his pursuit of a fifth world championship title ultimately proved unsuccessful.

After leaving the team he joined Aston Martin at the beginning of last year. Vettel said he’d “had the privilege of working with many fantastic people in Formula 1 over the past 15 years [and] there are far too many to mention and thank.

“Over the past two years I have been an Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 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.”

Aston Martin executive chairman Lawrence Stroll said “I want to thank Sebastian from the bottom of my heart for the great work that he has done” for the team since he joined them.

“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.”

Stroll said Vettel is “one of the all-time greats of Formula 1” and the team will “give him a fabulous send-off” in the season finale in Abu Dhabi.

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Vettel’s retirement announcement

I hereby announce my retirement from Formula 1 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 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 am 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. I love nature and its wonders. I am 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 1. My passion for 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. 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? 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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2022 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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135 comments on “Vettel announces he will retire from Formula 1 at the end of 2022”

  1. While I never ruled out this possibility, I was still wholly positive the whole time he’d continue based on likelihood & gut feeling. Ultimately my prediction & expectation proved wrong.

  2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    28th July 2022, 11:14

    A bit sad but not unexpected.
    I think his green ideals have started to clash too much with the sport, and it cant be easy being called a hypocrite.
    He would make a good face of Formula E if he fancied giving that a rattle, failing that he’d be a good guy to have in the upper ranks of the FIA pushing for adoption of green technologies. Would be a shame to lose the guy who can name every champion in order from the sport completely.

    1. I don’t see him joining Formula E either, because their seasons (albeit shorter than F1) are still long and global which will detract from time with his family. I could see him joining WEC or DTM if he wants to continue racing, or he could as you mention join the FIA and be a push for change in F1. I also believe he could remain an advisor to Aston Martin, especially if they opt for bringing Schumacher on board.

  3. He is obviously a very good driver but I think his four world championships is above his talent level. In 11 and 13 he only had to beat Webber (also a high quality driver) whilst almost lost to Alonso in inferior machinery in 10 and 12. Better than Raikonnen and Stroll, worse than Riccardo and Leclerc after those championships, plus given the Ferrari implosion, I struggle to see him as an all time great.

    1. I think this is a pretty poor take on Sebastian’s career. He’s absolutely on the list of all time greats, and has proven time and time again that he was a top tier driver, regardless of a few bad seasons and a decline towards the end of his career.

    2. Just like Hamilton, in 15, 19 and 20 he was against nobody, in 16 lost due to a lot of bad starts and in 21 wouldn’t have been in fight in the last race if it wasn’t for hungary

      1. Too much cherry picking in your statement about Hamilton. Yes, bad starts in 2016 but despite that he was crawling back and on course to winning the title until the engine blow in Malaysia. He had one more DNF than Nico that season, and that made the difference. In 2021, putting aside the fact that Redbull spent the entire European leg of the season putting big dents on Lewis’s title hopes, and even having the luxury of two consecutive races in Austria where they dominated, plus the Spa sham, the only reason why Redbull even had a chance, and clearly the best chassis from pre-season testing, was the floor and rear brake ducts changes imposed by the regulations. Let’s not forget that the title only went to Max because Masi cracked under pressure from Redbull and broke the rules.

        1. Well if you look at the points Ham lost nearly 50 points in bad starts in 16 and gained nearly 50 in 21 (Silverstone + hungary) whist max gained 12 from spa + Abu Dhabi

    3. Uh it’s so hard to judge, we really need better references than we usually get in F1. Conditions are never the same for two drivers, even teammates, so all that’s left for us is that gut feeling. I have mixed feelings about Vettel myself, but more and more I think I base that on those unlucky times in Ferrari when he made a couple mistakes. Yet, he was under bigger pressure to perform than Hamilton, in more complicated team and car that was fast, but probably not as balanced as Mercedes’ car. But then, I’ll never know what would Hamilton achieve if he was in Ferrari that year, or vice versa, but now I think I was judging Vettel too hard sometimes. It’s hard trying to catch up in F1, and Ferrari makes that at least as twice as hard. On the other hand, he had some “easy times” in Red Bull, to make judging his level of talent even harder. I’d pick Verstappen or Hamilton over him, but the difference probably isn’t that big. After all, he was really good in Torro Rosso as a very young driver, and most of us considered him a great talent even then. Now he seems mentally weaker than Hamilton, but Hamilton never drove for Ferrari. We see how hard it is on Leclerc now, and this time Ferrari actually is the fastest car without any doubt. In any case, I like him as a character, he’s a grown man and down to Earth kind of person, a family man, and that’s rare these days (maybe Perez is somewhat similar in this regard?). I wish he remained, but obviously he doesn’t believe in that team short term (and he also has to deal with daddy’s boy driving alongside).

    4. I agree. Vettel was a very good and talented driver, but never achieved the completeness that
      the best of the best (only four drivers in the last two decades, Schumacher, Alonso, Hamilton and Verstappen) had. He was especially prone to both short and long-term mental fallbacks severely setting back his performance.

      1. Verstappen is definitely not at the Schumacher or Hamilton level yet. He has potential to be but needs to deliver on it. He’s kind of at the Hamilton at McLaren / Schumacher at Benneton / Alonso at Renault / Raikkonen up to 2007 / Vettel midway through his title run / Senna or Prost midway through their McLaren stints.

        Verstappen has taken the first steps to greatness but things can go two ways when he eventually moves teams, faces the next big thing in different eras of F1 / races as the champion not the chaser, faces a top, consistent teammate etc

        1. I agree that it may be a bit early to consider him absolute top tier, and it’s not since a long time ago that I have started to consider him absolute top tier. However, Hamilton at McLaren, Schumi at Benetton, Alonso’s first stint with Renault – they had much less experience than Max has now. It is now his eighth season, he is past his 150th race start. He is more like Schumi defending his first title with Ferrari or Hamilton defending his first title with Mercedes. When someone is no more simply an extremely talented, very quick success-hungry driver, but has that “ultimate boss” aura, the universal top-level skillset paired with infinite determination and maturity, way too solid to fade away with changing circumstances, and making almost any of the contenders look simply not enough. Sebastian has never had this, not even in his prime.
          By the way, even the best of the best have some open questions concerning their career, e.g. Schumacher (during the bulk of his career, before his first retirement) never had a strong teammate, while Hamilton had quite a few.

      2. Also I think as their careers have planned out Vettel and Alonso are pretty even in my estimation, both above the next tier of Raikkonen, Hakkinen, Mansell but below Prost, who is below Senna, who is below Schumacher and below Hamilton. Fangio, Clark, Stewart and Lauda would all fit into that range with Fangio or Clark probably at the top but so hard to compare to more modern drivers. Verstappen could end up anywhere within that range.

      3. Yeah, let’s see how Verstappen pans out before comparing him to the greats.

    5. I guess you followed the unlucky Ferrari adventure of Seb with a very poor attention.

    6. In 11 and 13 he only had to beat Webber (also a high quality driver)

      Who didn’t once get second place in the WDC. Either the car wasn’t that superior, or Webber wasn’t a high quality driver.

      1. Steveetienne
        28th July 2022, 16:04

        I think he may have won in 2010 if he hadn’t injured himself whilst cycling but as F1 drivers go not a top tier guy. If it wasn’t for a strategy error by not pitting late in 2012 at Canada Alonso would have been Champion. He isn’t the same calibre as Verstappen, Hamilton or Alonso.

    7. José Lopes da Silva
      28th July 2022, 20:52

      Of Vettel’s 11 victories in 2011, Webber was 2nd (accomplishing a Red Bull double) in just two of them.

      Patrese, Barrichello, Rosberg (I’ll consider that in 2015 Rosberg was a true number 2 driver, unable to mount a challenge for the title) and Bottas were always able to complete doubles, which is a good piece of evidence regarding the car’s quality.

      You can’t downgrade Vettel’s 2011 season that much.

  4. Its a shame AM weren’t able to build a good car. Because he still has the ability within him to win races. While it is great news for fresh blood in the sport Between him and Lance, you would drop Lance every time.

    1. Yes, you would in my opinion. But alas that is not the timeline we live in. I think Vettel had at least a couple more seasons in him. And I hope this isn’t the last we see of him in the sport. Perhaps a managerial role in FOM or one of the teams is in his future, I certainly hope so.

      I find that too many teams are spending too much time keeping drivers around that really aren’t that great, instead of taking risks on young talent. In the past if you were middle-of-the-road for 2 or 3 seasons at most, you were gone. But now it feels like most of these drivers are being kept around for much longer, so at least I’m glad we get another seat open for new talent, but I definitely feel it shouldn’t be Seb’s seat in this case.

      1. @sjaakfoo I feel the same and came to the conclusion teams value experience a lot more than before. It also shows up when rookies come in, it takes them more time than before to settle in and perform making teams less likely to change drivers every year. While I really like the new F1 approach with ground effect, it will also set F1 further appart from other categories, probably reinforcing this. We might be seeing the same ageing faces for a while unfortunately.

        We can also question if it is still the pinnacle of the sport or if this becomes an entirely new thing. Makes me also wonder at which point talent recruitment and testing will be done on simulator rather than achievements through junior categories. We have seen drivers being very car dependent and surely teams will want to have the best at driving F1, which will show best through simulators. Racecraft might still require actual racing but the categories might not matter much.

      2. Old driver are usually better for PR and marketing unless you happen to find the one super young driver in that generation and win money form the start.

  5. LegendofSummer
    28th July 2022, 11:25

    Gutted absolutely gutted , would love to have seen him fight for another title.

  6. This was looking more and more likely. And I think it is for the best. His performances have looked more and more lacklustre as the years have gone on, and now his (welcome) activism makes his continued desire to race borderline hypocritical.

    Always a welcome figure in the paddock, with a fantastic record of achievements, I hope that the future he chooses keeps him close to F1 in some way.

    1. As a rule when a driver marries and gets childeren he will be soon out. Kids influence a driver more then they think.

  7. Well a bit surprised but who will take his seat..

    1. Probably someone who will make Lance look good. Maybe Mazepin or Latifi could join the squad.

    2. @todfod Good joke, but extremely unlikely – De Vries could be an option, or they might even try & lure Alonso.
      I haven’t really thought about possible successor options, but one I also thought about a bit at some point is Zhou, although he’s more likely to continue at Alfa.

      1. @jerejj

        Piastri might also be an option.. but he’s really highly rated and I don’t know if the Strolls will take that risk. Alonso?!? Alonso will eat Lance for breakfast everyday. He’ll destroy his career within half a season… I don’t see Alonso playing nice with the boss’s son either. Crazy to think that the biggest liability in the Aston Martin team is the boss’ son. If Lance wasn’t a concern.. they could have actually had a really formidable line up of drivers.

        1. A formidable line up does nothing with that car, stroll is not the only problem.

        2. @todfod Unlikely in any case & my view on Alonso changed slightly after finding out he’s allegedly already re-signed with a formal announcement coming next week.
          Seeing your other reply below, Ocon is under contract, so he isn’t going anywhere.

    3. I bet Gasly would love that seat…

      1. Not sure if Gasly would be interested in driving a car slower than Alpha Tauri.

        I actually think Ocon might be a good fit for that seat. Maybe Alpine should loan him out for 2 years to Aston, and have a more formidable pairing of Piastri and Alonso next year.

        1. I don’t understand why he was so quick to sign for another year with AT while quite a few retirements were on the horizon. No matter what happens, AT will always be a little sister in the RB-family, they have never been able to step forward from the back of the midfield (their all-time best in WCC is 6th since their inception as Toro Rosso), and he will be kvyatted as soon as RB finds promising rookies to promote to F1.

      2. @antznz He’s already under contract.

      3. Electroball76
        30th July 2022, 13:35

        Probably more likely to be Alex or Yuki. Or Romain.

    4. Mick Schumacher

      1. You are not wrong :)

      2. @ahxshades @ferrox-glideh
        While I don’t entirely rule him out, I don’t view him as the most likely successor.

  8. I hope he gives Le Man / Indy / Dakar or Extreme E a go like Fernando, Jenson, et al.

    Also interesting to note his last race in Abu Dhabi will see him join Lewis in the 300 GP start club.

    1. Unfortunately he’ll fall one short on 299 starts, 300 entries. He had a DNS on the formation lap in Bahrain 2016.

  9. Tiaki Porangi
    28th July 2022, 11:33

    So, Vettel to end up at the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team (soon to be McLaren), given how much he cares for the planet etc, and Nyck de Vries to head in the opposite direction, to Aston Martin.


  10. Chris Horton
    28th July 2022, 11:34

    Well done Seb, what a superb career.

  11. Seb is a very nice guy and has been a damned good racer. I have been thoroughly entertained by his stint in F1 and wish him well in whatever he decides to do next. Enjoy the rest of the season Champ!

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      28th July 2022, 13:32

      I’ve been a critic of his at some points but there’s no doubt that he’s been a phenomenal racer. You only need to look at his 53 wins and 57 poles – one of the very few F1 drivers to reach the century mark combined.

      He put Red Bull on the map and they owe a lot of their success to his ability to take off by the 1st corner never to be seen again. As Hobbs said, it was reminiscent of Jim Clark to put Vettel’s ability in context.

      With V8 and V10s, I doubt many would be able to get by him and he may have collected many more championships. He definitely didn’t enjoy the hybrid cars but was still quite competitive at Ferrari and Aston Martin.

      His rivalry with Hamilton, Webber, and Alonso will certainly go down in history. I’m very excited to see him continue his work on improving the environment.

      We’re at a precipice and we need to change or it will all have been for nothing. It’s now time for him to champion a much more worthy cause.

      1. His 53 wins and 57 poles and taking off after first corner are because of the dominant car, although it wasn’t as dominant as the mercedes the following years, we saw what he could do in 2017 and 2018 when the car is good but not best or clear best, the 2017 season was decent, 2018 pretty bad.

      2. @freelittlebirds That is a very fine comment, cheers!

  12. For some reason this made me a little sad when I read it. Best of luck to him, especially later in his career – he seems kind, funny and intelligent. And as much as people might say he was ‘underserving’, 50-plus wins and 4 world titles, you need a bit of talent. And he was ruthless in those Red Bulls.

    I wish him all the best in life.

    1. Nicely put @bernasaurus I felt a bit sad too. When Vettel arrived in Formula 1, I was still watching practices and races on free-to-air Brazilian TV, meaning commentary by a Globo presenter who insisted on depicting Hamilton as some kind of evil malandro who shouldn’t really be in F1 (it doesn’t take much today to guess where that was coming from: think Piquet-culture) and was extolling Vettel’s virtues as the new Schumacher from his first tyre on the tarmac. Enough to say, it didn’t make me an instant fan. Four titles later with Red Bull, even less so. And then Ferrari and (after a few years) the rivalry with Hamilton at Mercedes. It was easy to find flaws in his driving, and sometimes his on-track temperament, as a rival fan, though I’ve always thought him brave and committed. And somehow that now seems much easier to recognise in his commitment to issues outside Formula 1, for which I have huge admiration and respect. I’ve grown to like him a lot. I really wish him all the best. Some drivers I like seeing carrying on (Alonso, I get entirely why he’s still around). But Vettel’s comments in this announcement make it sound like a good decision taken at the right moment.

      1. José Lopes da Silva
        28th July 2022, 20:57

        I’m sending you by best compliments from Portugal and hoping you’re able to send the Myth to somewhere very far away as soon as possible.

    2. I remember around ten years ago Vettel pumping in fast laps consistently down to the hundredth of a second in practice sessions, very impressive stuff. There was a reason he got put in the best car of it’s time. I have enjoyed watching him relax into the role of elder driver.

  13. Think he had a great run in F1. His 4 championships actually worked against him in the later parts of his career.. and I don’t think he got everything he could have from his Ferrari stint. I think he’s matured a whole lot as a person though.. he’s a much more likeable and humble character since his Red Bull days. He will definitely be missed by fans and the paddock.

  14. I will actually miss him.
    I think he is better than what some people make him out for; he has driven exceptionally well at STR, Red Bull and part of his Ferrari career.

    1. People look at his Ferrari stint and only think of the failure to properly challenge Merc in 2017 and 2018. But they forget how good he was in 2015 and for the most part, 2017. IIRC, Keith rated him best 2015 driver

  15. Vettel’s stint at Ferrari and despite losing in a bad fashion to Hamilton and Mercedes will be always remembered because of the transition and spirit of the team he helped create from being so down in 2014 with Alonso leaving the team to fighting for the championship in 2017 and 2018. I still think that 2015 was his best ever season in F1, shame Ferrari were not competitive that year.

    I hope Vettel will find happiness in the future as his passion now is in clear conflict with what he believes. He has been bullied by the leftist and labelled as an hypocrite for being a racing driver and an environmentalist. He can now focus on his new life and find peace.

    Danke Sebastian !