Exclusive: Sebastian Vettel given extra time to decide on future as GPDA director

Sam Cooper
Sebastian Vettel wears a hat. Race of Champions Sweden January 2023.

Four-time Formula 1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel walks outside ahead of the event. Race of Champions Sweden January 2023.

Sebastian Vettel could continue on as a director of the GPDA with drivers waiting until the new season to give the German the chance to mull it over.

The four-time World Champion, who retired from Formula 1 at the end of the 2022 season, has served as a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) since 2010, becoming a popular member within the paddock.

Despite his retirement, which came after 299 races, Vettel’s departure from the GPDA is not a certainty as even those currently without a seat are permitted to stay on in the role.

Chairman Alex Wurz is an example of that, with the Austrian last racing in F1 in 2007 but he returned seven years later to take up his current position.

Speaking exclusively to PlanetF1.com, Wurz revealed that Vettel’s future with the organisation has not yet been decided and that the current members chose to wait until the new season before making a move to allow Vettel time to think it over.

“We will decide on [Vettel’s role] during the first part of the season,” Wurz said. “As we all wanted to give Seb time to consider his own future with perhaps continuous involvement in the GPDA.”

The 48-year-old revealed that should Vettel decide to step down, a vote between the current members on his replacement would be held at the first European race of the season in Baku. George Russell is also currently a director, as is lawyer Anastasia Fowle who became the first non-driver to hold such a role in 2021.

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Vettel has kept his cards close to the chest when it comes to his future, with an appearance alongside Mick Schumacher at the Race of Champions his only public venture since his retirement, but Wurz believes Vettel has the characteristics to become the chairman of the GPDA one day.

“Of course Seb could do the chairman of the GPDA job, as much as he has the greatest potential to be the boss of many other organisations,” Wurz said. “In fact if Sebastian turns his attention to things he always does a stellar job.

“I consider him as a good friend and whilst we don’t talk every day he is simply a good friend, an amazing person with no such thing as small talk.

“Whilst we all witnessed him quite fiery and perhaps stubborn or very demanding inside the car, outside, with the helmet off, he is a great guy and an asset to any organisation or task.

“We as F1 are lucky to have had him and I am certain we will see him again in some sort of capacity or role, and if only as an observer and continuous ambassador of the sport.

“I am sure he would not be upset if I add that at times he is not the fastest of the directors to reply to emails or messages but he does take it all in and process accurately and greatly.

“Simply a top guy.”