Vettel admits he could retire at the end of 2022

Sebastian Vettel's current contract with Aston Martin expires at the end of the 2022 season.

Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel does not know if he will stick around in Formula 1 beyond 2022, but hopes to start winning races with his team in the near future.

Following four championships with Red Bull and 53 wins between the Milton Keynes squad, Toro Rosso and Ferrari, the German moved to Aston Martin last year as they embarked on a new project having taken over from Racing Point.

Having scored points on seven occasions en route to a 10th-placed Drivers’ Championship finish in 2021, Vettel is now set to embark on his second year with the British team, but his contract runs out at the end of this year, leaving slight uncertainty as to whether he will remain in the sport beyond 2022.

Speaking at the team’s car launch event this week, the 34-year-old said he is looking forward to using his experience to aid Aston Martin as they navigate the all-new technical regulations this year, and ultimately help them get to winning ways.

“The thing is, I think I’ve had a while now in the sport,” he told RacingNews365 after the car launch.

“I had good years and not-so-good years but, mostly I would say good years, great years, with a very competitive car and competitive team.

“Now, no doubt, I’m in a very competitive team. The team spirit is great and the goal is clear.”

The former Ferrari and Red Bull driver suggested that performance and subsequent victories are likely to determine his desire to remain in the pinnacle of motorsport in 2023.

“We want to progress and win. So, ultimately, having had the path that I have had so far, I’m mostly interested in winning and that will determine what the future brings,” he added.

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Uncertainty is a common theme up and down the paddock this winter, with many describing the technical regulations overhaul as one of the biggest sets of rule changes they have witnessed in their careers.

The four-time world champion simply has no clue as to whether the excitement of a new era will entice him to remain in the pinnacle of motorsport and achieve Lawrence Stroll’s ambitious five-year plan to claim championship glory.

“I don’t know is the honest answer. This is a new year in many, many ways,” he stated.

“I think we will go step by step. So, I don’t know is the answer.”

As a result, Vettel is looking to see where the British team is at regarding performance this year and consider his future later on down the line.

“I have no cut-offs in mind and I don’t have a number in terms of where the team needs to be or where we need to race,” he explained.

“I think we will see where we are and then, at some point, we’ll start looking a little bit more forward into the future.

“I think we focus on the start of the season now and then go from there.”

Changes have bee aplenty at Silverstone over the winter, with the F1 side of the British car brand’s operation signing Mike Krack to replace Alpine-bound Otmar Szafnauer and report to CEO Martin Whitmarsh, while Aramco have been brought in as a name partner following the departure of BWT, who have also joined Alpine.

The German will partner Lance Stroll again in 2022, as Aston Martin look to build on their disappointing seventh-placed Constructors’ Standings finish last year.