Retiring four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel has revealed how “liberating” it was to announce his retirement from the sport prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix, with the German expecting to “reflect” on his career later on.
The Aston Martin driver’s announcement came as a shock to the vast majority of the paddock, with Vettel having been expected to sign a contract extension with the Silverstone-based team.
His two-years at Aston Martin have been somewhat underwhelming, with the 35-year-old’s podium at the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix certainly being the highlight of his lacklustre time with the team.
In all honesty, it’s not really Vettel’s fault, especially this season.
Aston Martin haven’t delivered Vettel or team-mate Lance Stroll with a car capable of scoring points consistently, with the British team having not designed the best package for the new aerodynamic regulations.
Whilst 2023 looks set to be considerably better for Aston Martin, with the help of former Red Bull employee Dan Fallows, Vettel still decided that it was time for him to return to his family.
The German is looking forward to spending more time with his young family, including, his wife and three young children.
Vettel truly is a fan and paddock favourite, with the German having been “overwhelmed” by the number of messages he received following his retirement announcement.
Vettel explained to the media that he feels “liberated” for finally announcing his decision, with the German driver having been keeping his decision a secret for a “long time”.
“I always tend to look forward to the next thing and I don’t spend that much time looking back, so it has been less like the people around me expected it to be,” he told reporters.
“I received an overwhelming [amount of] congratulations and support after the announcement in Hungary.
“I find it difficult to reflect all these years in just a short time, so maybe it will hit me at some point later on. But I just enjoyed the [summer] break. The fact that the decision, or the fact that I was carrying this decision around with me for such a long time, it felt quite liberating [to announce it].”
Whilst many have been supportive of Vettel’s decision, some have suggested that the final races of the season will simply be a “farewell tour”.
Aston Martin boss Mike Krack firmly denies this, with the 50-year-old admitting that Vettel’s retirement won’t be “on our mind” until the season is done; however, there will be a “farewell” when the German’s completed his final lap.
“We are not thinking this is the last month, that is the last year, or this is the last time I do this,” he said.
“We will for sure have a farewell in Abu Dhabi, but until then, it’s not really on our mind that we go now around the world and it is always the last – not at all.”