Sebastian Vettel to return to Formula 1 in 2024?

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel retired from Formula 1 at the end of 2022, after a mixed year with Aston Martin.

Sebastian Vettel, the four-time Formula 1 world champion, is not ruling out a potential return to the sport, following his recent retirement.

Vettel retired from Formula 1 at the end of the previous season, concluding his stints with Red Bull, Ferrari, and Aston Martin.

Since stepping away from the competitive racing scene, Vettel has engaged in demonstration runs in older F1 cars during the 2023 season, including a memorable drive in his 2011 Red Bull RB7 on the challenging Nurburgring Nordschleife just last week.

During his visit to the Nurburgring, Vettel had a conversation with Sky Sports pundit Martin Brundle, who posed the question of whether Vettel might follow in the footsteps of other former champions who temporarily left Formula 1 only to return later. 

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Vettel responded thoughtfully, saying, “I can’t say no because you don’t know.”

Vettel continued, reflecting on the decisions of other former champions who ultimately returned to the sport: “I think it’s something that if you asked all of them, probably some of them would have said no, and some of them, I don’t know, but in the end, all of them came back. 

“So I can’t exclude it.”

However, Vettel acknowledged the importance of timing in such a decision, recognising that it’s not an option that remains open indefinitely. 

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“But it probably will depend much on when, obviously it’s not endless because, at 36, it isn’t like in 10 years’ time maybe I think about it, then time has passed,” Vettel noted.

Vettel also emphasised that his focus at the moment is on the excitement of new challenges. 

He stated, “But it will depend on the challenge. 

“But it’s not in my head right now, and I’m enjoying the sort of outlook of the challenge of what to do next.”

One notable aspect fuelling speculation about a potential comeback is Vettel’s commitment to maintaining his physical condition for racing. 

Vettel clarified his intentions, saying, “Yeah, but because I want to, not because I’m like, [going to] come back or if somebody falls out, I’m going to, not because of that.”

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Regarding his physical fitness, Vettel added, “I guess my neck is not up to speed; it can’t be, but everything else is pretty good, I would say.”

As Vettel ponders the future and the possibility of returning to the F1 grid, his former rival, Fernando Alonso, shared his thoughts on the matter. 

Alonso, who also took a break from Formula 1 in 2019 and 2020, acknowledged the potential challenges of such a return, saying, “It’s up to him…It could be a challenge, for sure.”