Sebastian Vettel confirms F1 retirement as Aston Martin star calls time on career

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SEBASTIAN VETTEL has announced he will leave F1 at the end of the season.

Vettel admits Aston Martin car 'isn't where they want it to be'

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Sebastian Vettel has confirmed he will retire from F1 at the end of the season to spend more time with his family. The four-time world champion revealed the decision to leave the sport had been a “difficult one” but admitted he wanted to spend more time with his children.

Vettel said: “The decision to retire has been a difficult one for me to take, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about it; at the end of the year I want to take some more time to reflect on what I will focus on next; it is very clear to me that, being a father, I want to spend more time with my family.

“But today is not about saying goodbye. Rather, it is about saying thank you – to everyone – not least to the fans, without whose passionate support Formula One could not exist.”

Earlier this season, Vettel had claimed there were parts of the sport he no longer enjoyed, including being away from his family for long periods of time. Ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the German announced he would decide his future over the summer. 

On announcing his retirement, Vettel added: “I have had the privilege of working with many fantastic people in Formula One over the past 15 years – there are far too many to mention and thank. Over the past two years I have been an Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team driver – and, although our results have not been as good as we had hoped, it is very clear to me that everything is being put together that a team needs to race at the very highest level for years to come. 

READ MORE: Sebastian Vettel fires parting warning to Verstappen and Hamilton

Sebastian Vettel confirms F1 retirement as Aston Martin star calls time on career

Sebastian Vettel has retired from F1 (Image: Getty)

“I have really enjoyed working with such a great bunch of people. Everyone – Lawrence, Lance, Martin, Mike, the senior managers, the engineers, the mechanics and the rest of the team – is ambitious, capable, expert, committed and friendly, and I wish them all well. 

“I hope that the work I did last year and am continuing to do this year will be helpful in the development of a team that will win in the future, and I will work as hard as I can between now and the end of the year with that goal in mind, giving as always my best in the last 10 races.”

Aston Martin had recently made it clear that it wanted Vettel to stay and talks had already started on his future. The team’s executive chairman, Lawrence Stroll, confirmed the team had pushed to secure Vettel’s signature on a new deal when speaking on the four-time champion’s retirement.

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Sebastian Vettel confirms F1 retirement as Aston Martin star calls time on career

Vettel has won four F1 world championships (Image: Getty)

He explained: “We made it clear to him that we wanted him to continue with us next year, but in the end he has done what he feels is right for himself and his family, and of course we respect that. He has driven some fantastic races for us, and, behind the scenes, his experience and expertise with our engineers have been extremely valuable.”

Sky Sports host Ted Kravitz increased rumours surrounding Vettel’s future after the French Grand Prix. He suggested some of the German’s decisions this season could be a major hint he was looking to leave.

It is understood he brought his children to the Austrian Grand Prix and he made sure to drive the 1992 Williams he owns at the British Grand Prix.

Team principal Mike Krack added: “Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team is a great project, with unlimited potential, and the groundwork that Sebastian has done last year, and is still doing this year, is crucial. When we become fully competitive – and we will – one of the architects of that future success will be Sebastian, and we will always be grateful to him for that.”

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