Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel would be open to a one-off race in the future after he retires from Formula 1 at the end of the 2022 season.
For the first time since he announced his retirement, Vettel has perhaps shown a sign that he is not entirely certain about his decision to firmly cut his ties with the pinnacle of motorsport.
Vettel has been in F1 since 2007 when he deputised for Robert Kubica at Sauber, and he scored points on his debut at the US Grand Prix.
That earned him a full-time drive with his parent Red Bull outfit, who placed him at Toro Rosso to replace a struggling Scott Speed.
He won his first race in Monza in 2008 with the Italian team, earning him a seat at the main Red Bull side, with whom he claimed four victories in 2009.
That led to a first world title in 2010 with the Austrian side, and three more would follow in consecutive, outstanding seasons.
He left Red Bull following a disappointing 2014 campaign, at the start of which he had already started having conversations with Ferrari.
Despite taking 14 race wins with the Scuderia, the German could not quite beat Sir Lewis Hamilton to a title in red, and he eventually left to join Aston Martin in 2021.
A podium in Baku last season remains Vettel’s best result in green, and midway through this season, he decided to call it a day come the end of 2022.
Vettel has affirmed throughout that he not too sure what awaits him just yet, and asked by Autosport if he might want to return one day, he replied, “never say never.”
“Obviously I love driving, and around this track, I always felt very alive and the passion always felt very alive,” added the four-time champion.
The 53-time race winner has often named Suzuka, where F1 races this weekend, as his favourite racetrack, and he would not mind another outing in Japan.
“We’ll see what type of car maybe in the future will come up, maybe one of these guys in the future races here will feel a bit sick, I don’t know,” said Vettel.
“I don’t wish them to feel so! But I wouldn’t mind jumping back in for a race at Suzuka at any time.
“But obviously we’ll see what the future brings. At the moment, I have no plans, but I think there are some exciting races happening in Japan. I don’t know, we’ll see.”
Vettel smiled at the prospect of a “one-race career,” and as long as a team is happy to have him, he would happily accept an IndyCar-style guest appearance.
“Yeah, if anybody is happy to sign up a driver for a single race!” he said.
“I’m sure those guys wouldn’t be happy to step aside, but it would be something I would seriously consider.”
For now though, this weekend will be Vettel’s final Japanese Grand Prix, having won in his first F1 race there in 2009.