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Formula 1 | Vettel confirms: F1-Aus not a short-term decision

Just a week ago, Sebastian Vettel said at the press conference in France that there was “a clear intention” between him and the Aston Martin team to continue. Just seven days later, the four-time world champion announced his official retirement from Formula 1 at the end of the season.

But that was not a spontaneous change of mind and a short-term decision. Instead, the decision had matured in him over a number of years, as he says.

“The final decision was made yesterday when I told the team that I would stop and not continue. But I had a lot of thoughts in advance that led to this,” explains Vettel.

One reason for him, besides family, was how much dedication he put into the sport, only to end up at the bottom. “I don’t get much joy and motivation from just being there,” says Vettel. So now is “the right time to do other things”.

Too much devotion for back seats

The German had come to Aston Martin with the clear goal of being at the front. The year 2021 was already a disappointment for the racing team after having had a strong performance with the Mercedes copy a year earlier. However, the fact that you are still further behind after the change in the regulations for the current season should have accelerated Vettel’s decision.

Although Aston Martin still wants to be at the top, Vettel should have noticed that the way there will be longer than expected – and he doesn’t want to take that much time. “Our package wasn’t as strong as we would have liked,” he says. Nevertheless, he believes that the racing team can make further progress in the near future.

“In terms of commitment, team spirit and quality, I think that all the ingredients are right. And I see that the team will make progress in the next year and in the years that follow,” emphasizes Vettel.

Family instead of racing

But he also says that he would not expose himself to all that anymore. For him, the necessary devotion also means that he wastes a lot of time with other thoughts than his wife and children. And it also means a lot of time away from home.

“I now have other interests and views and I cannot ignore these voices,” he says. “The questions got bigger and bigger and eventually got to a point where I made the decision.”

Vettel also emphasizes that it was of course not a black and white decision: “It’s not that I hate racing now, I still love racing, but the majority just pulled me in a different direction.”

And: “I’m not making room because it’s my own decision.”

An important factor in the decision was his wife Hanna, with whom he often spoke about this topic. “She probably supported me the most in continuing, but also said that in the end it was my decision,” said Vettel.

Environmental issues “definitely” a factor

A big topic was also Formula 1 and Vettel’s commitment to issues such as the environment and politics. He himself admitted in a talk show on British television that he was a “hypocrite” in this regard because he is committed to protecting the environment, but at the same time jets thousands of kilometers around the world to drive a car there.

“Yeah, that’s one of the factors that definitely played a role,” he admits. “I can’t give a percentage, that would be silly. But when I see how the world is changing and what the future looks like, […] then I understand that part of my passion, my job, has to do with things that I’m not a fan of.”

And that includes traveling around the world, driving car races and consuming resources. “I think once you’ve seen these things and you’re aware of them, you can’t ignore them. It’s not the main factor. Like I said, it’s a combination of many things, but it’s also a Part of the driving force behind the decision.”

No motivation problem for the last ten races

Nevertheless, Vettel is still a fan of Formula 1 and owes her a lot: “I think I’m incredibly lucky that I’ve found something that means so much to me in my life, that gives me so much joy,” he said Vettel, “a platform to make friends and meet all kinds of people, travel the world and see things and broaden my horizons.”

The four-time world champion has ten races left in his career, which he will probably spend fighting for small points. Despite the end of his career, he sees no motivation problem for the rest of the season – on the contrary.

“I feel like this decision has been on my mind for so long and has drained me of so much energy to be honest and maybe even distracted me a bit at times that I’m quite relieved and looking forward to the next races happy,” he says.

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