With Sebastian Vettel dreaming of spending more time with his children and pursuing other avenues in life, the German has retired from Formula 1 with four world titles to his name at the age of 35.
Fernando Alonso however continues to race in F1, defying all expectations at the age of 41 by signing a multi-year contract with Aston Martin after two impressive seasons with Alpine.
The Spaniard did his best to end Vettel’s dominance with Red Bull while he was racing for Ferrari and ultimately was unable to do so as the German won four consecutive titles.
The pair have always maintained a respectful relationship and it seemed as if Alonso was unwilling to race against his old rival in Abu Dhabi, scared that he could end Vettel’s final race early if they made contact.
Despite the clear respect between the two former champions, Vettel has admitted that he doesn’t really know Alonso very well, as the rarely interact away from the racetrack.
“I rate Fernando really high as a driver,” he told the Beyond the Grid podcast.
“I think he has got so much natural talent, incredible determination, great racing instinct, and all of that he hasn’t lost. You can see he loves his racing. He’s very passionate.
“As a person though, I don’t really know him, really. I wouldn’t say we don’t get along, I think we respect each other. But it’s just never happened that we really got to know each other, spend time [together] or talk much outside racing.”
While Alonso is set to continue in Formula 1 for the foreseeable future, Vettel has admitted that it is highly unlikely that he will ever make a return to the sport, even in a post-racing role.
Despite his claims, Red Bull’s chief advisor Helmut Marko has said that the door will always be open for the former champion to return to Red Bull, as the number of series managed by the energy drink giants means there will always been a managerial vacancy open for Vettel.
It has been suggested that Vettel would suit a race engineer or team principal role but the 35-year-old has batted away these claims, telling reporters that he is excited to have an open schedule that he has never had before while racing.