Aston Martin F1 driver Sebastian Vettel has announced that he will be leaving the championship at the end of the 2022 Formula 1 season. Yesterday, Sebastian Vettel unexpectedly created an account on Instagram. Throughout his 16 seasons in F1, Vettel always kept a strict boundary between his public and private lives with his non-participation in social media. It was an obvious signal that the four-time world champion was going to do something significant, and his announcement came less than 24 hours later.
Sebastian Vettel made his world championship debut at Indianapolis during the middle of the 2007 season as a one-off substitute for Robert Kubica, who was injured in a massive crash at the Canadian Grand Prix. The German would later complete the season with Scuderia Toro Rosso as a replacement for American driver Scott Speed. This would be the start of Vettel’s legendary partnership with Red Bull.
The 2008 season would see Vettel complete a full season at Toro Rosso alongside four-time Champ Car champion Sébastien Bourdais. During the season, Vettel took his maiden Grand Prix victory over a surprising rainy weekend at Monza. He would be promoted to the brand’s primary team, Red Bull Racing, for the 2009 season. He was championship runner-up in his first season at the team, then won four consecutive World Drivers’ Championships.
Vettel would leave Red Bull for Scuderia Ferrari in 2015, where he and the Italian team would struggle to replicate the same success against the now-dominant Mercedes team. During the period, he finished second in the championship in 2017 and 2018. He would depart Ferrari for his current team Aston Martin in 2021.
In recent years, the four-time world champion started taking a more active role in social activism. He has become a vocal advocate for sustainability, the environment as well as LGBTQ+ rights. It is something that Vettel has alluded to in his retirement announcement, “My passion comes with certain aspects that I have learned to dislike. They might be solved in the future, but the will to apply that change has to grow much, much stronger and has to be leading to action today.” Vettel also mentioned that he also made his decision to spend more time with his wife and three young children.
Sebastian Vettel has made it clear in his announcement that he will remain a public presence after this season, but I’ll miss seeing him out on track. There’s one thing that he said near the end of this championship-winning run that comes to mind. After winning the 2013 United States Grand Prix, he said over team radio, “We have to remember these days. Because there’s no guarantee that they will last forever.”