Sebastian Vettel has baulked at the claim that the last grands prix of 2022 will be his “farewell tour” to Formula 1.
The quadruple world champion, 35, is definitely retiring from the sport as a driver after November’s Abu Dhabi season finale.
But he thinks he will see his F1 friends again.
“I hate that term,” he told Sky Deutschland when confronted with the ‘farewell tour’ question.
“I disagree. I will finish my season and then it goes on. Not with more races, but something will happen.”
Indeed, the German has already been offered an unspecified non-driving F1 role for the future by Stefano Domenicali.
“I’m looking forward to the races that are coming, then at first I’m looking forward to doing nothing.
“After that, I think sitting around and doing nothing is not possible. I’m not the type for that,” Vettel said.
In fact, he admitted he is already starting to make a few plans.
“I’m a little further along than I was before,” he smiled. “Even if I have a few things in mind, I will still let it come to me.”
Vettel admitted that he first started giving serious thought to the idea of retirement when he was struggling to get up to speed at Aston Martin – having been ousted by Ferrari in 2020.
“I asked myself ‘Can I still do this job?'” he told Die Zeit.
Normally, athletes are reluctant to talk about their self-doubts, but Vettel insisted: “But what if it’s like that?
“Personal weakness and thoughts about it are part of performance and success,” the 35-year-old argues.
He also admits to finding his professional and family lives increasingly difficult to reconcile.
“It’s noticeable with the small things,” said Vettel. “When it becomes an effort to get out of the house and onto the plane.”
He said he may have considered racing on if a more immediately competitive team made him an offer for 2023 – but it never came.
“After all the self-doubt that came up in me, it was more important for me to realise that it’s ok to stop,” said Vettel.
“It would have been nice to stop as world champion at the peak and a lot of us try that,” he admits.