Sebastian Vettel addresses F1 comeback stance after Toto Wolff messages exchanged

Jamie Woodhouse
Sebastian Vettel, four-time F1 World Champion

Four-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel.

Sebastian Vettel said he and Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff have exchanged texts following Lewis Hamilton’s “surprise” Ferrari move announcement, as he refrained from shutting down the idea of an F1 return.

Hamilton shocked the F1 paddock ahead of the new season with confirmation that he will join Ferrari for 2025, following one final season with the Mercedes team with which he has won six of his seven World Championships.

That then leaves a huge void that Mercedes will need to fill, sparking speculation that they could turn to 53-time grands prix winner Vettel for the job.

Sebastian Vettel has ‘no definite no or yes’ on F1 comeback

Wolff told media including in the aftermath of the Hamilton bombshell that he and Vettel are in “regular contact”, though their conversations “weren’t about racing for us”, with Vettel confirming that he and Wolff have messaged since that Hamilton to Ferrari announcement.

And while he has “no active plans” currently to turn those chats with Wolff into an F1 comeback pursuit with Mercedes, he did not say his stance would necessarily stay that way.

Asked by the Neue Zürcher Zeitung how close he is to an F1 comeback after the Hamilton to Ferrari news, Vettel replied: “I was surprised by this change.

“The Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff didn’t call me, but we briefly exchanged text messages. But so far it’s not an issue for me, also because at 36 I still have all the time in the world. So it’s not going away.

“But my omens haven’t changed. I think I’ve learnt and understood a lot in this one year without racing, including about myself. Being on the other side has had a huge impact on me and many questions have come up. So far, there are no active plans.”

Quizzed on whether that constitutes a definite no, Vettel clarified: “No. I also said back then that there wouldn’t be a clear no in that sense, because I believe that everything is a process.

“And maybe there will come a point when I say, ‘Yes, I would like to go back’. When I get it sorted mentally so that it suddenly makes sense again.

“At the moment, however, I’m doing very well without driving Formula 1. There’s no definite no, but there’s no definite yes either.” recommends

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Vettel said that his initial plan following F1 retirement after the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was to “try a detox” and not tune in to the series, wary of the feelings he may experience considering he would go from racing to watching at home.

However, he caved ahead of qualifying for the 2023 Bahrain season-opener and continues to watch the series alongside his wife.

Asked if he still watches F1 at all, Vettel replied: “Yes, I do.

“I wanted to try a detox at the first Grand Prix after my last race. I didn’t actually watch the practice session, but just before qualifying I had to give in and switched on. I also watched the race.

“It wasn’t as strange a feeling as I had previously thought, watching and no longer sitting in the car. I then watched a few races throughout the year, or at least the highlights. Because of course, I’m still interested in the sport, even if I’m no longer so close to it.

“I watch with my wife and usually commentate unconsciously. She says it’s the first time she’s really understood the sport. And if I’m right about a pit strategy, then that goes down like oil.”

Vettel’s final F1 stint as it stands came in the form of a two-year spell with Aston Martin, his seat taken over by two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso from 2023.

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