The 2022 F1 season wrapped up with Sebastian Vettel deciding to call time on his illustrious racing career. His racing journey started in 2007 with a single BMW race in America, before taking the reins at Toro Rosso for the rest of the year.
At the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed, the German racer acknowledged a strong surge of interest in his potential involvement in F1, with a particular leaning towards the promotion of environmental issues. For now, however, he is investing quality time with family and relishing the freedom of a less regimented schedule.
Vettel expressed his thoughts on his future participation in F1, stating, “We’ll see, but I have some ideas.” He reminisced about an earlier engagement in Monaco, where he had a productive meeting with Stefano Domenicali. His observations of F1‘s environmental impact were also candid, considering the sport’s wide-ranging influence beyond just the cars, specifically mentioning the large crowds at events, like the British Grand Prix, which reportedly drew around 500,000 fans.
When questioned about job proposals he had received, Vettel replied: “There’s lots of interest from different angles. But I set myself the goal last year that I want to be free.” He expressed his desire to explore new facets of his life without the bounds of a strict routine, to find inspiration and spend quality time with his children, an area he highly values. He added, “But certainly, I also know that I will not be living the life of my kids. It’s not going to be my main task. Even though I want to be there for them. But sooner or later, I will probably figure out how to take on a new challenge.”
When probed about when he developed his affinity for environmental issues, Vettel, who drove a Williams FW14B and McLaren MP4/8 at Goodwood on synthetic fuel as part of his ‘Race Without Trace’ initiative, linked it back to his career timeline. He candidly admitted that he probably did not prioritize it early enough in his career, saying, “I would say probably not early enough.” He noted that environmental issues are problems we cannot ignore or outrun.
Vettel questioned whether his eco-conscious habits had affected his racing performance, saying, “Whether it impacted on my performance, I don’t know, it’s hard to tell. It’s always hard to imagine in racing.” However, he stressed his understanding of the larger problems we face as a planet, clearly stating, “Even though racing is my life and, on the day, there is probably nothing more important to me, but to all of us and to our planet, there is a far bigger interest than whether I qualify a little bit higher up or a little bit lower.” He underscored that when one puts things in perspective, what happens on the race track is arguably insignificant in the broader context.