Sebastian Vettel has explained why he has opted to depart Formula 1 at the end of the 2022 season.
The four-time World Champion announced on Thursday that he would retire from the sport, bringing an end to a glittering career.
Vettel made his F1 debut in 2007 with BMW Sauber, before switching shortly after to Toro Rosso. In 2009, he moved to Red Bull, where he enjoyed a bulk of his success, taking four consecutive F1 titles.
In 2015, he joined Ferrari before leaving the Italian squad at the end of 2020, linking up with Aston Martin.
In a lengthy statement on Instagram, Vettel explained that there were several reasons behind his decision.
Vettel’s statement in full;
“I hear by announce my retirement from Formula 1 at the end of the 2022 season. Probably I should start with a long list of people to thank 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’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 like 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’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 every little bit makes a difference. I am an optimist and I believe people are good.
“Next to racing, I have grown a family who I love being around. I’ve grown other interests outside of Formula 1. My passion with 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 see 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 is still to come. I believe in moving forward 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 racing down unknown tracks and 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 that there is still a race to win. Farewell, thanks for letting me share the track with you. I loved every bit of it.”