Sebastian Vettel teases big racing return amidst Mercedes rumours

Sebastian Vettel smiles at Suzuka.

Four-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel visits the paddock at Suzuka.

A conveniently-timed post on Instagram from Sebastian Vettel sparked a host of comments wondering whether or not he is preparing for a full-time return to racing.

Having retired at the end of 2022 and a Mercedes seat being available, the four-time World Champion’s name is one having been bandied about as a potential replacement for Lewis Hamilton come 2025 – though team principal Toto Wolff looked to cool speculation on that when asked about the possibility.

Vettel’s Instagram account has long been something of a time capsule for his career, but given recent events and the choice of post, it got people wondering what his plans are.

Sebastian Vettel posts hint at racing comeback… maybe?

Having first joined Instagram to announce his retirement in the summer of 2022, the German’s account has since been used to serve as a recounting of his esteemed career.

Having reached the 2010 season, his first title-winning year, his recent posts captioned: “Getting ready for the next season”, followed by: “Pre-season testing” while behind the wheel of the RB6, his comments have been filled with well-meaning fans calling for his return to the grid and being disappointed when these posts are not confirmation of just that.

His most recent post was a clip from before the 2010 season, posted with the caption: “Getting back into the rhythm”, that got even more people talking.

Vettel, then aged 22, was wearing a Red Bull woolly hat and said: “I’ve basically been preparing for the new year, for the new season and I have been in the simulator several times now, and also with the team in England, just slowly to get back into the rhythm.”

This was followed by a cut to black and the caption of his message: “There is still a race to win”, used as a marketing message surrounding his sustainability pushes since retiring.

While the post was likely a happening of timing, comments such as “Seb knows what he’s doing here”, “the caption got my heart racing don’t do this again”, and “I hope you are getting into the rhythm to drive an F1 car buddy” followed from his fans.

But while plenty of seats are up for grabs, including one at Mercedes, Wolff seemingly ruled out the possibility of looking to sign Vettel, telling media including the day after Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari was announced: “I think he made the decision to not race anymore. We are talking on a regular basis.

“We’ve also talked yesterday, but it wasn’t about driving for us in the future.”

Read next: Rare sneak peek inside the ‘beautiful’ drivers GPDA meetings