On the eve of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, Sebastian Vettel announced that he will retire from Formula One at the end of the current season.
Vettel acknowledges that it’s strange to be leaving the top division of motorsport after 16 years of competition, during which he won 53 races and four world championships.
“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,” said Vettel.
“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.”
“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.”
In addition to wishing to spend more time with his family, Sebastian Vettel stated that he wanted to devote more time to environmental activism, which has been one of his passions outside of racing.
Vettel is no stranger to other forms of activism, making him well-admired by many. Together with Lewis Hamilton, the two men have been F1’s most outspoken drivers. They have actively protested against anti-gay laws, and supported social issues such as Black Lives Matter.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November is set to be his final race, and is also the 300th one of his career – a feat accomplished by only six other drivers.
Though his retirement may be sullen news to fans, it is comforting to know that he leaves a wonderful legacy behind.
Watch Vettel’s announcement: