Sebastian Vettel will not continue in Formula 1 beyond the 2022 season and will retire from the sport at the end of the current campaign.
Vettel won four Drivers’ World Championships with Red Bull, took 53 race wins over his career, and is third on the list of all-time winners behind Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher who have 103 and 91, respectively.
The German who is also the sport’s youngest world champion spent six seasons with Ferrari mounting title challenges in 2017 and 2018, though he would ultimately fail to emulate his child hero Schumacher.
With Ferrari opting to replace Vettel in 2021, the German then moved to the rebranded Aston Martin team under the ownership of Lance Stroll’s father, Lawrence.
Vettel takes a moment to say thank you
Despite announcing his retirement, Vettel chose to thank the Aston Martin team for their support over the past two years. In a statement made on the Aston Martin website, Vettel cited spending more time with his family as one of the reasons he was retiring from the sport.
“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,” Vettel said in a statement released by Aston Martin.
“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.
“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.”
Stroll thanks one of F1’s all-time greats
Team owner Stroll thanked Vettel for his contributions to the team and labeled him one of Formula 1’s all-time greats.
“He has driven some fantastic races for us, and, behind the scenes, his experience and expertise with our engineers have been extremely valuable. He is one of the all-time greats of Formula One, and it has been a privilege to have been able to work with him,” Stroll added in Aston Martin’s press statement.
“I want to thank Sebastian from the bottom of my heart for the great work that he has done for Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One™ Team over the past year and a half.
“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 will continue to race for us up to and including the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which will be his 300th Grand Prix entry. We will give him a fabulous send-off.”
Vettel made his F1 debut midway through the 2007 season when he deputized for an injured Robert Kubica at the 2007 United States Grand Prix. The German will be best remembered for his stint with Red Bull where between 2010 and 2013 he claimed four Drivers’ World Championships in a row.
The German also holds the record for most wins in a single season sharing the accolade with Schumacher as well as most poles in a single season and most laps led in a season both of which came in his title-winning year in 2011.