Four-time Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel has announced that he will retire at the end of the 2022 season.
The 35-year-old German won four successive titles from 2010 to 2013. His 53 Grand Prix victories place him third on the all-time list behind Lewis Hamilton (103) and Michael Schumacher (91).
“I have had the privilege of working with many fantastic people in Formula One over the past 15 years - there are far too many to mention and thank,” Vettel said in a press release.
“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. But today is not about saying goodbye,” Vettel said.
The German started his Formula One career with BMW Sauber in 2006-07 before joining Red Bull Racing’s junior team Torro Rosso the next year. At the 2008 Italian Grand Prix, Vettel became the youngest Grand Prix winner at 21 years, 73 days, a record which would be bettered by Max Verstappen in 2016.
He was promoted to the Red Bull team in 2009 and won his first championship the following season to become the youngest World Champion at 23 years, 134 days. Vettel would go on to defend his title for three more seasons.
Vettel joined Ferrari in 2015 hoping to emulate his idol Michael Schumacher’s heroics with the iconic Italian team. However, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes thwarted Vettel’s hopes to win a championship with Ferrari during his six-year stay.
Vettel retires as a four-time World Champion, third in the list of overall race winners with 53 wins and third in the list of drivers with most podium place finishes with 122.