Doubts emerge over Sebastian Vettel’s full-time racing comeback

Jamie Woodhouse
Sebastian Vettel at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. July 2023.

Sebastian Vettel at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. July 2023.

BILD Formula 1 reporter Silja Rulle does not foresee Sebastian Vettel returning to racing as a full-time driver.

Vettel made the decision to call time on his Formula 1 career at the end of 2022, the four-time World Champion bowing out off the back of two seasons with Aston Martin.

But, a recent interview with Sky F1’s Martin Brundle has sparked speculation that Vettel may not be finished with Formula 1 yet, with Vettel having said that he cannot rule out the prospect of him racing in the series again.

Doubt over full-time Sebastian Vettel return

However, when appearing on the F1 Nation podcast pre-Japanese Grand Prix, where Vettel was in attendance to work alongside F1 personnel on a fresh environmental project, Rulle said she does not believe a full-time racing comeback would appeal to Vettel.

Jota team principal Sam Hignett recently confirmed talks with Vettel over a 2024 World Endurance Championship drive.

“A comeback always depends on come back as what?” she said. “As a full-time driver, I don’t see him doing that anytime soon.

“Because this also brings so much traveling, it’s so time consuming and that’s not what he wants currently. He just loves to spend time with his family to unwind and also to not really know what’s coming. So he kind of has a fascination of not really knowing what’s coming and really enjoy stuff.

“And also what he told me is he sees that as a test for himself to discover new sides of himself. But he actually does quite openly say that he misses the adrenaline and that he misses the driving, but that he also knew before taking this decision that he would miss that.

“But I think by what he’s doing you can see that he’s kind of missing everything. Might be the driving, might be the people around here, so he did Goodwood, he did the Nurburgring and now he will be in Suzuka, where he won’t be driving, but doing a project for the environment.

“And also he was in Monaco in the paddock, where I caught him in the pit lane. So you can see that he still doesn’t really leave this world and he sometimes comes back, but I think what he really wants, for at least the near future, is to be also able to decide on when to come back and not be forced to be here every race what like a full-time cockpit would be.” recommends

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Former F1 driver Pedro de la Rosa also weighed in on the potential comeback decision facing Vettel, speaking of how Vettel was in a rare position for most drivers in being able to decide of his own accord when to retire.

But, if he does want to come back, then the Spaniard also raised the point of how that will impact family time, especially in Formula 1 considering the looming record calendar.

“Well, first point is that there’s not many drivers that decide to retire,” said De la Rosa. “Most of the drivers, like myself, I’m being completely honest, they make us retire because you find yourself without a team at one point. So you just have to retire.

“It’s very different when you decide to say ‘okay, I’ve had enough, I want to retire’, which is the case of Seb. And the only thing I would say is that Formula 1 is very demanding and now 24 races next year, it’s extremely demanding on your personal life.

“And it’s a very personal decision that whenever you retire, if you want to come back.

“Obviously you will miss racing. I miss racing every night, sometimes I even wake up at four or 5am and I’m thinking ‘oh, I’m arriving late for the grid or I missed my helmet’.

“I always say that a racing driver never retires. You’re always a racing driver until the end. And the question is how much you miss it. Because if Seb started racing again, you have to give a lot of time to your profession, which you won’t be able to spend with your family. So it’s a very personal decision and I think that he will do whatever is best for him.”

Formula 1 now has a free weekend following Suzuka, with the season then continuing in Qatar as the Lusail International Circuit returns to the calendar.

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