Sebastian Vettel has become part of the furniture in Formula 1. But, after a career spanning 15 years and nearly 300 races for Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Sauber, Aston Martin and Ferrari, the four-time champ has decided to retire at the end of this season.
Vettel joined Instagram yesterday. His only two posts are two videos of him confirming his retirement - one in English and one in German, which seems like a fleeting visit if ever there was one.
But Vettel’s announcement is detailed, meticulous, patient. It goes into the reasons behind his retirement, which range from spending more time with his family to helping to fight climate change.
Despite being one of the most famous racing drivers in the world, Vettel has managed to keep his personal life private. He has a wife and three children, and wants to spend much more time with them and says he wants to share his values with his kids. One of those values is environmentalism, which he acknowledges doesn’t exactly sit well with F1.
“I hereby announce my retirement from Formula 1 by the end of the 2022 season,” he said in his Instagram post. “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’s 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…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…Next to racing, I have grown a family and I love being around them. I have grown other interests outside Formula 1.”
“Speaking of the future, I feel we live in very decisive times and how we all shape these next years will determine our lives,” Vettel said. “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.”
Will you miss Vettel in Formula 1?