4-Time Formula 1 Champ Sebastian Vettel Will Retire at End of Season: 'My Best Race Is Yet to Come'

The longtime F1 driver won four consecutive championships as a driver for Red Bull Racing from 2010 to 2013

Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin and Germany during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on June 17, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec.
Photo: Peter J Fox/Getty

Sebastian Vettel, one of the most successful Formula 1 drivers of all time, announced he is retiring from the sport after the final race of the season.

The 35-year-old Aston Martin driver broke the news in a post on his newly-created Instagram account on Thursday, and explained that his life off the track was no longer compatible with a career in F1.

"Next to racing, I have grown a family who I love being around. I've grown other interests outside of Formula One," Vettel said in the post. "My passion with racing and Formula One 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," he continued. "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."

Vettel told his more than 1.6 million Instagram followers that he hopes to learn from his children and allow them to inspire him.

"Children are our future, further I feel there is so much to explore and learn about life and about myself," he explained.

Vettel has carved out his place in F1 history, having won four consecutive championships from 2010 to 2013 while driving for Red Bull Racing.

But he has also been one of the most outspoken personalities in the sport, and has previously called out F1 for the environmental impact racing has on the planet. Vettel alluded to some of his criticism of motorsports in his retirement annoucement.

"Speaking of the future, I feel we live in very decisive times," the German driver said. "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," Vettel continued. "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."

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Vettel made his F1 debut in 2006 as a driver for BMW Sauber.

Before joining Aston Martin, he raced for Ferrari alongside Charles Leclerc. Though he finished second in the driver's championship twice during his tenure, the team was unable to move ahead of Mercedes and their star driver, Lewis Hamilton.

After hearing the news, Hamilton said on Twitter that it was an "honour" to compete against Vettel during their careers.

"Seb, it's been an honour to call you a competitor and an ever greater honour to call you my friend," Hamilton wrote. "Leaving this sport better than you found it is always the goal. I have no doubt that whatever comes next for you will be exciting, meaningful and rewarding. Love you, man."

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