Sebastian Vettel has become a co-investor of the German national sailing team in SailGP in his first move since his retirement from Formula 1 at the end of 2022.
Vettel brought the curtain down on a glittering F1 career at the end of last season, having claimed four World Championships and 53 grand prix wins and represented the Red Bull, Ferrari and Aston Martin teams.
With Vettel known to have a range of other interests, much speculation has surrounded the next chapter of his life with the 35-year-old teaming up with double Olympic sailing bronze medallist Erik Heil, Brazilian-born gold medal-winning Olympian Kahena Kunze and team owner Thomas Reidel to enter a German team in SailGP – an emerging competition described as the F1 of the seas.
SailGP sees countries compete in a number of locations around the world using wind-powered F50 catamaran boats, with the fourth season scheduled to begin in Chicago on June 16.
Vettel will be heavily involved in the management and performance of the German team, which will race against teams from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Vettel told Express Sport of his new venture: “I see a lot of potential as SailGP starts its fourth season and for the first time with a German team.
“Parallels between sailors and Formula 1 have long existed. The boats are fascinating and the speeds on the water are incredibly high.
“The races are exciting and I am happy to be close to them with a motivated group of young sailors. In addition, the series not only uses wind power, but also strives to set new standards in sustainability in sports.”
Reidel, who also acts as the president of an eponymous German communications firm, added: “I see strong potential in all directions with the Germany SailGP Team: athletically, as a business and medially.
“We believe that a great movement can emerge from this.
“In addition, we can credibly address our concerns about sustainability and diversity and this is one of the reasons that I approached Sebastian to join as a trusted partner and knowledgeable technology and sustainability expert. Sebastian also knows how to win.”
Vettel made his long-awaited return to the Formula 1 paddock at last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, where he was captured in conversation with former adversary Lewis Hamilton after months of rumours regarding his next move.
He had been strongly linked with an executive move in F1 – potentially as the successor to long-serving Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko, who recently turned 80 – but has made the sensational decision to switch racing codes.