Vettel says 'majority' decision to retire from F1 took 'years'

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Sebastian Vettel says his "majority" decision to retire from Formula 1 after 2022 took "years".

On Thursday, the four-time world champion shocked many first by joining Instagram, but only doing so to later publish a video confirming this will be his last season on the grid.

Then, speaking to the media ahead of this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix, Vettel went into more detail about just how long it has taken him to finally hang up his helmet.

“Well, the timeline takes us years back. It’s not a decision I made overnight,” he explained.

Also Read:

“The final decision was taken yesterday [Wednesday] by telling the team I am going to stop and not going to continue, but there was a lot of thought leading into this. 

“I think it’s the right time for me to do other things. I know how intense this job is and how much dedication goes into this and if you do this I am convinced you have to do it the right way. 

"So much dedication going in also means a lot of time in your head and with your thoughts, but also physically time away from home, from kids and family. I have grown other things, other than the children, other interests and views have grown and I can’t ignore these voices. 

"So ultimately, the questions got bigger and bigger and more central, to a point where I make the decision.

“It’s not a 100 percent or zero percent decision," Vettel admitted, "it’s not like I hate racing from now on, I still love racing, but it’s probably the majority that pulls me in a different direction. I’m not making way, because it’s my decision, but I’m happy to head in a different direction.” 

Having made the decision to retire, however, the 35-year-old four-time world champion also admits some trepidation over what comes after F1.

"I think for every sportsman and woman, actually, probably the biggest challenge is probably waiting for us while we decide to do other things,” Vettel said. 

“That’s what I’m facing and in all honesty, I’m also scared of what’s coming. It might be a hole and I don’t know how deep it is and whether I’ll get out of it. 

“But I have lots of support and people who have supported me along the way and will continue to help me and give me direction and guidance. 

“Hopefully I’ll make the right decisions in the future to progress and become a better version of myself in 10 years time.”

GP2212 143056 2ST9017

As for what he'll miss most about F1, Seb replied: “The buzz of driving the car. There are still fast cars and the adrenaline you get fighting on the track, of course I thought about that as well. I will say no to that and there’s probably no replacement. 

“I’ve also looked at others and how they handled and tried to maybe find something else that tried to give them the adrenaline buzz or rush, but as far as I can tell now, it’s something you have to be prepared for.  I feel I am prepared as much as I can today, to say that it’s gone and will not be there. 

“If I want to race something - my kids want to race me every day in all sorts of things, some I enjoy more and some I enjoy less - but if I want to race more I’m sure I will be able to think of something. 

“But I think it would be wrong to step away knowing that you still want to race.”