One of the most successful drivers in F1 history is putting it in park.
Sebastian Vettel, a four-time champion, will retire at the end of the season. The 35-year-old made the announcement in a video posted to his website on Thursday.
“I love this sport, but as much as there is life on track there is my life off track, too,” he said. “Being a racing driver has never been my sole identity.”
Sebastian Vettel interview after announcing retirement from F1 pic.twitter.com/lBMEzLKl0t
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Vettel’s driving prime came from 2010 through 2013, when he won four consecutive titles with Red Bull. The German has been with Aston Martin for the past two seasons, but hasn’t experienced near the success.
He’s won 53 races and has 122 podiums over his career, which began in 2007. He drove for Ferrari beginning in 2015 and finished runner-up to Lewis Hamilton twice over the next four seasons.
In recent years, Vettel has also become more vocal about environmental issues. Yes, that was him last month arriving at the Canadian Grand Prix wearing a shirt criticizing the Canadian oil and gas industries.
Ironically, Aston Martin, Vettel’s team, is sponsored in part by Saudi Aramco, the single largest producer of oil and gas in the world.
On Thursday, he also launched an Instagram account where he calls himself a “Public Figure,” and later said in his retirement video that he believes “we live in very decisive times, and how we all shape these next years will determine our lives.
“My best race is still to come,” he added.
I’m sure we’re all very excited about one of the best F1 drivers ever leaving the sport to delve into a career of climate activism.
Anyway, congrats on a storied career, Sebastian. Here’s to winning another race or two before it’s all said and done.