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Vettel announces retirement


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Vettel announces retirement
Four-time champion Sebastien Vettel said on Thursday that he will step away from Formula 1 racing at the end of this season - GP

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Budapest – Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel announced on Thursday his retirement from Formula 1 at the end of the season, saying his goals had changed and he wanted to focus more on family and interests outside the sport.

The 35-year-old German won his titles with Red Bull from 2010-13 and spent six seasons with Ferrari before joining British-based Aston Martin, currently languishing ninth of 10 teams.

He made the announcement ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, the 13th round of the season and last race before the August break.

“I hereby announce my retirement from Formula 1 by the end of the 2022 season,” he said in a video statement on a newly-created Instagram page.

“I love this sport. It has been central to my life since I can remember. But as much as there is life on track, there’s my life off track too. Being a racing driver has never been my sole identity.

“Next to racing, I have grown a family, and I love being around them. I have grown other interests outside Formula 1.”

Vettel, who has become increasingly outspoken on topics ranging from the environment and sustainability to LGBTQ+ rights, said his goals had shifted from winning races to seeing his 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,” the Switzerland-based father of three said.

“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.”

Vettel, who has joined in collecting litter after races and campaigns for green causes, said in May that climate change made him question his job.

Vettel ranks third on the all-time race winners list with 53 wins, behind seven times champions Lewis Hamilton (103) and Michael Schumacher (91). His last win was with Ferrari three years ago at Monza in Italy.

He remains Formula 1’s youngest world champion, taking his first crown at 23 years old, but lost his record as the youngest race winner to an 18-year-old Max Verstappen six years ago.

Vettel’s race debut was at the 2007 U.S. Grand Prix as a stand-in for Robert Kubica at BMW-Sauber.

The following year he took his first pole position and first win in the wet with Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri) at their home Italian Grand Prix and became Red Bull’s first race winner 13 years ago in China.

His last race will be in November in Abu Dhabi, and it is set to be the 300th of his career.

(Reuters)