Sebastian Vettel reportedly told Auto Motor und Sport journalist, Michael Schmidt, that he might have considered staying in Formula 1 had synthetic fuels been brought in earlier than 2026.
The Four-time world champion has not won a race since 2019, and racing further down the field with Aston Martin over the last couple of seasons seems to have given Vettel a new perspective.
Last season, he began focusing a lot more on environmental awareness, equality and social justice, leading many to believe that his time in the pinnacle of motorsport was winding to a close.
Indeed, ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend, the 35-year-old sat down in front of a camera and confirmed that he will be leaving F1 at the end of the current season.
Since the start of last season, the 35-year-old has committed to a lot of causes that have left a legacy, not only of a fantastic racing driver, but also an agent of positive change.
His environmental campaigns did not line up with F1’s plan to go with synthetic fuels in 2026, as he was hoping it might be able to do so next year or in 2024.
It is part of the sport’s plan to go carbon neutral by the year 2030, but this will come too late for Vettel, who will be 43 years of age by then.
His platform in F1 is what enables him to speak his mind about key world issues that he wants to address and help change, but that platform will be gone as of next season.
The 53-time race winner jokingly apologised to Schmidt for caving in and making an Instagram profile so that he could continue to spread important messages.
However, even if he had stayed with Aston Martin, he affirmed that it would not have been fair on the team to use them as a mouthpiece when his primary role with them is as a racing driver.
Expanding on the racing, Schmidt fears that team owner’s Lawrence Stroll’s ambitious five-year plan will not come to fruition until it is too late for his compatriot.
He also does not believe that Fernando Alonso will enjoy that success either – he is thought to have signed a three-year-deal with the British team after they swiftly moved to replace Vettel.
The problem for them, in Vettel’s eyes, is they qualifying pace. Between himself, Nico Hulkenberg and Lance Stroll, Aston Martin have been knocked out of Q1 with both cars seven times, while only making Q3 four times.
They are yet to get both cars into the third and final qualifying session this year, and Vettel has suggested that this is the main reason why he and Stroll have not scored points any more than nine times between them this year.