Sebastian Vettel’s retirement from Formula 1 has caused disappointment amongst the paddock, with the 35-year-old being a popular figure.
It was originally believed that Vettel would re-sign with the Aston Martin F1 Team for another year; however, he announced prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix that he had decided otherwise.
Staggeringly, it’s already been announced that his seat will be filled by double World Champion Fernando Alonso, who is leaving the Alpine F1 Team at the end of the year.
Vettel made his feelings clear before his announcement that he was tired of fighting for ninth or tenth place, and instead wanted to be back battling at the top.
This sense of disappointment, combined with his new-found love of activism, resulted in Vettel announcing over an Instagram video that he would be leaving the sport at the end of this season.
The four-time World Champion also wants to spend more time with his family, of which he has a wife and three young children.
Despite this, Vettel has already been offered the chance to race in the off-road Extreme-E series.
Racing elsewhere isn’t currently on the German’s mind, despite admitting he’s “physically in tip-top shape”.
“Of course I can drive somewhere else at my age. I’m physically in tip-top shape,” said the German.
“But I can’t answer that question today. Now I am saying that this chapter is coming to an end. And I’m not saying I’m quitting Formula 1 to drive somewhere else.
“What I can’t say today is how I will react to it.”
With Vettel leaving F1, the sport is losing one of its biggest voices for change.
The Aston Martin driver has supported a number of campaigns recently, which has at times resulted in the German being called a “hypocrite”.
Vettel was called out several times for fighting climate change, whilst receiving paychecks from Aramco, a Saudi Arabian oil company who have shares in Aston Martin and are a title partner of the F1 team.
The 53-time race winner has admitted that his voice “won’t be as loud” when he leaves the sport, whilst highlighting the significance of winning the “race” against climate change.
“Maybe my voice won’t be as loud now, or my reach won’t be as great,” he admitted.
“But humanity faces the greatest challenge in its history, and if we don’t win this race, the earth will keep spinning without us.”
Should Vettel ever return to racing, then it would be extremely likely that his return to racing would come in an all-electric series, for example, Formula E.
Former driver Gerhard Berger, who is now the series boss of DTM, has revealed to Osterreich newspaper that it would be a “dream” for Vettel to sign up to race in DTM.
Berger believes it’s an unlikely switch, as he believes Vettel would rather “save bees”.
“That would be a dream,” said Berger.
“But I’m afraid he’d rather save bees now.”