Sebastian Vettel finally breaks the ice on rationale behind retiring from F1 – “That’s when I knew I had to quit”

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel took a lot of people by surprise when he announced his decision to retire from the sport at the end of the ongoing season.

He has now finally spoken about the factors that led him to this decision, and how his rocky stint at Aston Martin eventually convinced him that his time in the sport was up.

Back when he was at the peak of his career, Vettel had managed to win four back-to-back titles with Red Bull.

This period was then followed with a Ferrari tenure that never truly lived up to its billing and in the last couple of years, the German has only been a shadow of his former self.

In a conversation with Die Welt, Vettel spoke about the reasoning behind his retirement.

He harped on Aston Martin’s failed attempts at providing him with a competitive car.

“After all the self-doubt that came up in me, it was more important for me to realise that it’s okay to quit,” he said.

Many would argue that Vettel should have quit when he was at the pinnacle of the sport and it is a theory that the former Red bull driver also finds merit in.

“Of course, it would be a great thing to quit as a champion at the peak. Many of us try to do that, some fail and lose themselves,” he said.

Is Aston Martin solely responsible for Vettel’s decision?

Sebastian Vettel. Credit:
Sebastian Vettel. Credit:

The Aston Martin driver was then asked if he would have perhaps come to a different conclusion with regard to his career if the team was more competitive.

“I asked myself the same question. I can’t answer it one 100% because the option didn’t exist. But actually, when I was thinking about it, I came to the same decision,” he said.

“Personal weakness and thoughts are part of the performance and also success. At least for this realisation, the past two years have been very worthy for me.”

While it is easy to believe that it was solely his Aston Martin career that led him to make this decision, it is far too simplistic an argument.

The seeds had been sowed long before that when things didn’t work in his favour at Ferrari, where he saw Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton consistently outdo him.

Being an avid environmentalist, Vettel has spoken about how he believes he is has been a hypocrite by continuing his racing career.

This has also been a factor behind his desire to end what began as an extremely promising career.

“The enthusiasm lasted until 2018. That’s when I knew I had to quit,” he said.

“At some point I began to feel ashamed to contribute to polluting the environment with my work and not being able to at least stop it.”

Read more: Max Verstappen’s “greater respect” for Charles Leclerc over Lewis Hamilton has led to incident-free 2022 season: Christian Horner

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