Sebastian Vettel’s imminent retirement from Formula 1 is set to leave a gaping hole at the pinnacle of motorsport, with the German having been one of the championship’s most vocal leaders.
Vettel’s retirement announcement prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix caught many by shock, with the four-time World Champion having been expected to sign a new deal to remain at the Aston Martin F1 Team for at least another year.
It turns out this wasn’t Vettel’s plan, with the 35-year-old wanting to spend more time with his family once the season is complete.
The German, who has raced in F1 since 2007, has become one of the sport’s biggest role models in recent years, not just for his talent on track but for everything he’s done off it.
As well as still holding the record for being the youngest-ever F1 World Champion, the German has claimed 53 race victories in his 16-year F1 career.
However, Vettel will arguably be remembered for being the sport’s leader for change, and, most importantly, not being afraid to speak out against the championship.
In recent years, Vettel has become an activist and has demonstrated his support for various campaigns, most notably environmental change and the LGBTQ+ community.
Environmental change is currently an enormous topic in F1, with the series having the goal of being carbon neutral by 2030 and to be using fully sustainable fuels from 2026.
Vettel proved at the British Grand Prix that it’s possible to run an F1 car on sustainable fuel, after using sustainable fuel to power Nigel Mansell’s title-winning Williams (which he owns) during a demo run.
Since Vettel announced his retirement, F1 president Stefano Domenicali has revealed that he wants Vettel to “remain close” to the sport, especially with the sustainable approach F1 is taking over the next few years.
“Of course we want the link to remain close in the future,” Domenicali told Sport Bild.
“If he is interested in becoming part of our system and the approaches fit, I would of course welcome him here.”
However, ex-F1 driver Ralf Schumacher believes none of what Domenicali said, with the German convinced that many of the sport’s bosses will be “happy” the Aston Martin driver is going.
Motorsport-Total.com quote him as having told Sky Germany “internally in Formula 1 some are now happy he’s gone, especially Domenicali and co, because he addressed all the problems directly, so in part was very uncomfortable, but rightly so”.