Saying that four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel is now a retired Formula 1 driver certainly sounds unusual; however, that is now the reality that faces the F1 community.
Vettel’s career in the sport will be remembered for his remarkable success both on and off the circuit, with the German having been a role model to young drivers on how to race and conduct themselves.
With 53 wins and 299 GP starts to his name, his career is one that’ll go down in history, with the 35-year-old undoubtedly being one of the greatest drivers of all-time.
As well as being one of the best drivers, he was also one of the best humans, having been a voice for a variety of campaigns and communities, at times when others were afraid to stand for what was right.
Based on that alone, the former Aston Martin driver will be welcomed back into the paddock with open arms, even if returning is a “difficult or weird moment” for him.
“I’m sure I’ll be back at some point to have a look,” Vettel told Motorsport.com.
“I love the sport, I love the people. It will be probably a difficult or weird moment to be there live and not participate. But I guess it’s coming.
“So yeah, I don’t know. I have no plans yet. But I’m sure it will be somewhere, sometime.”
Having been a full-time F1 driver for 15 years, Vettel is presumably astonished by all the free time he suddenly has at his disposal.
Lewis Hamilton has already predicted that Vettel will return to F1 sooner rather than later; however, for the time being the German is “very excited” about his future.
“I have lots of ideas, lots of things that I want to do and spend my time with, but then I’ll see what happens from there,” said Vettel.
“I guess you can never say never. But I thought about this step for a long time, and it feels like the right thing.
“So I’m very excited about what’s coming, even though there’s nothing signed or set in stone.”
Whilst he hasn’t picked up any silverware for a little while, with his last podium having been the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Vettel was awarded the Gregor Grant Award at the Autosport Awards last Sunday.
Vettel was honoured to have been awarded it, for which he accepted to an eruption of applause.
“The reception in the room was incredible,” said Vettel.
“It’s a bit awkward – lifetime, obviously I’ve been around for a while, but maybe not quite a lifetime yet!
“But still, obviously I was very privileged to get to know so many people, work with so many people, and have such a great time on and off-track. There is probably lots that I will miss.
“It means the world to me. I’ve got a similar trophy already for driver of the year, so I’ll add that and probably put that on top.”