Sebastian Vettel stunned the Hungarian Grand Prix paddock with the announcement on Thursday that he would be calling time on his illustrious career at the end of the 2022 season. Vettel announced his retirement in a poignant video posted on his newly-created Instagram channel. Read the full transcript of his statement below…
Sebastian Vettel: “I hereby announce my retirement from Formula 1 by the end of the 2022 season. Probably I should start with a long list of people to thank now, but I feel it is more important to explain the reasons behind my decision. I love this sport, it has been central to my life since I can remember. But as much as there’s life on track, there’s my life off track too. Being a racing driver has never been my sole identity. I very much believe in identity by who we are and how we treat others, rather than what we do.
“Who am I? I am Sebastian, father of three children and husband to a wonderful woman. I am curious and easily fascinated by passionate or skilled people. I am obsessed with perfection.
“I am tolerant and feel we all have the same rights to live no matter what we look like, where we come from and who we love.
“I love being outside and love nature and its wonders. I’m stubborn and impatient. I can be really annoying.
“I like to make people laugh, I like chocolate and the smell of fresh bread. My favourite colour is blue. I believe in change and progress, and that every little bit makes a difference. I am an optimist and I believe that people are good.
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“Next to racing, I have grown a family and I love being around them. I have grown other interests outside Formula 1. My passion for racing and Formula 1 comes with lots of time spent away from them, and takes a lot of energy.
“Committing to my passion the way I did and the way I think is right, no longer goes side-by-side with my wish to be a great father and husband. The energy it takes to become one with the car and the team, to chase perfection, takes focus and commitment. My goals have shifted from winning races and fighting for championships to seeing my children grow, passing on my values, helping them up when they fall, listening to them when they need me, not having to say goodbye, and most importantly being able to learn from them and let them inspire me.
“Children are our future, further I feel there is so much to explore and learn about life and about myself.
“Speaking of the future, I feel we live in very decisive times and how we all shape these next years will determine our lives. My passion comes with certain aspects that I’ve learned to dislike. They might be solved in the future, but the will to apply that change has to grow much stronger and has to be leading to action today. Talk is not enough and we cannot afford to wait. There is no alternative, the race is under way.
“My best race is still to come, I believe in moving forwards and moving on. Time is a one-way street and I want to grow with the times. Looking back is only going to slow you down. I look forward to racing down unknown tracks and I will be finding new challenges. The marks I left on track will stay until time and rain will wash them away. New ones will be put down. Tomorrow belongs to those shaping today.
“The next corner is in good hands as the new generation has already turned in. I believe there is still a race to win.
“Farewell and thank you for letting me share the track with you, I loved every bit of it.”