Sebastian Vettel’s father says the quadruple world champion inched close to his decision to retire from Formula 1 after the recent Austrian GP.
Until then, the 35-year-old German and Aston Martin were in talks about a new contract for 2023. Ultimately, Vettel announced his decision to quit F1 ahead of the Hungarian GP on Thursday.
“It’s a shame, but I understand him,” Norbert Vettel, the former Ferrari and Red Bull driver’s father, told RTL.
“It was an incredible career for my son but the low point was Austria. It hurt him so much to drive around at the end of the field and that accelerated those thoughts for him,” he added.
Austria was indeed a bad weekend for Vettel on-track, and he was also fined EUR 25,000 by the FIA for storming out of the official drivers’ briefing.
Norbert Vettel vowed to watch his son race in Formula 1 one more time before his Abu Dhabi finale.
“I definitely want to do that and I’ll probably pick Monza because that’s where he got his first Formula 1 win with Toro Rosso,” he said.
“It was there that his great career as a four-time world champion began.”
Meanwhile, Vettel’s brother Fabian told Sky Deutschland that the quadruple world champion will be busy in his post-F1 career.
“Through his enthusiasm for nature and the other people who live on this planet, he will invest a lot of time on that still,” he said.
Vettel’s retirement call caught the entire world of Formula 1 by surprise – even the sport’s CEO Stefano Domenicali.
“I read it on the news,” the Italian told Bild newspaper. “Now I will speak to Sebastian.
“I appreciate his transparency and will to lead a different life now – after the incredible one he had here in Formula 1.
“I wish him only the best because he deserves it.”
It is believed Aston Martin is keen to keep working with Vettel in a non-racing capacity, while the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association is also sad to be losing an experienced director.
“Maybe we’ll see if he wants to continue,” Ricciardo said. “I think his character is really good for that position. So yeah, we’ll see.”