Vettel uncharacteristically joined Instagram to make the announcement public, ensuring that the typically unique style in which he has always operated remains intact to the end.
He will call it quits in Abu Dhabi after capturing four titles on the trot with Red Bull between 2010-13, a tally that sits behind only Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Juan Manuel Fangio.
His 53 victories over 15 seasons ranks third of all time, and his 290 starts (pre Hungary) rank seventh of all time.
He debuted in BMW Sauber before making the successful switch to Red Bull, before seeing out a six year stint at Ferrari that yielded 14 race wins but no fifth title.
After another disappointing season with Lawrence Stroll’s Aston Martin, it would appear that the team are far from finding the pace it needs to compete at the top, with his one and seasons netting just the sole podium.
“I have had the privilege of working with many fantastic people in Formula 1 over the past 15 years, and there are far too many to mention and thank,” said Vettel.
“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 is very clear to me that, being a father, I want to spend more time with my family.
“Over the past two years I have been an Aston Martin driver, and although our results have not been as good as we had hoped, it is very clear to me that everything is being put together that a team needs to race at the very highest level for years to come.
Owner Lawrence Stroll, who courted Vettel as Aston Martins desired big name, was thankful for what the German great has contributed to the developing team.
“I want to thank Sebastian from the bottom of my heart for the great work that he has done for Aston Martin over the past year and a half.
“We made it clear to him that we wanted him to continue with us next year, but in the end he has done what he feels is right for himself and his family, and of course we respect that.”
Vettel’s retirement has already sent the F1 whisper chain moving in regards to who will fill the Champions shoes at the British Based factory.
Stroll Snr will want a driver with experience, such as Fernando Alonso, who is also out of contract for next year. But any respective driver will know that the team is likely a few years from seriously competing.
Aston Martin will want either straight up prestige, or a young driver with upshot and potential for growth, such as a Mick Schumacher, who obviously comes with a heightened surname; something the likes of Stroll Snr would be attracted too.
Heading into this weekend’s race at Hungary, Vettel sits 14th in the drivers standings, whilst Aston Martin languish at ninth in the constructors.
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