Sebastian Vettel has announced he will retire from Formula 1 at the end of the season.
The four-time former World Champion revealed the news on the eve of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend.
Talks had been taking place between Vettel and his Aston Martin team abut extending his current deal, but the German has now decided to call time on his career.
It will bring to an end a career in which so far the 35-year-old has won 53 races and driven for BMW-Sauber, Toro Rosso, Red Bull, Ferrari and Aston Martin.
Sebastian, you have inspired so many throughout your career, both in #F1 and beyond.
We’re proud to call you a teammate, a friend and to have been part of your journey, just as you have been part of ours. 💚 pic.twitter.com/PMKkn3uoF4
— Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team (@AstonMartinF1) July 28, 2022
“I have had the privilege of working with many fantastic people in Formula 1 over the past 15 years – there are far too many to mention and thank,” said Vettel in a statement issued by his Aston Martin team.
“Over the past two years I have been an Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One™ Team driver and although our results have not been as good as we had hoped, it is very clear to me everything is being put together that a team needs to race at the very highest level for years to come.
“I have really enjoyed working with such a great bunch of people. Everyone – Lawrence [Stroll], Lance [Stroll], Martin [Whitmarsh], Mike [Krack], the senior managers, the engineers, the mechanics and the rest of the team – is ambitious, capable, expert, committed and friendly, and I wish them all well.
“I hope the work I did last year and am continuing to do this year will be helpful in the development of a team that will win in the future, and I will work as hard as I can between now and the end of the year with that goal in mind, giving as always my best in the last 10 races.
“The decision to retire has been a difficult one for me to take and I have spent a lot of time thinking about it.
“At the end of the year I want to take some more time to reflect on what I will focus on next. It’s very clear to me that being a father, I want to spend more time with my family.
“But today is not about saying goodbye. Rather, it is about saying thank you – to everyone, not least to the fans, without whose passionate support Formula 1 could not exist.”
Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack had said only in the last few days that the team remained hopeful of keeping Vettel for 2023, but Sky F1 reporter Ted Kravitz had suggested on air at the French Grand Prix that the driver had given the air of someone for whom retirement was just around the corner.
If Vettel contests all 10 of the remaining races this year, he will bow out in Abu Dhabi on his 300th and final appearance.