That’s it. Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel will retire from Formula 1 at the end of the season.
The German, who made his BMW Sauber debut in the 2007 United States Grand Prix, revealed the news via his newly created Instagram account – his first foray into social media.
Vettel won his four championships with Red Bull between 2010 and 2013 and is third on the all-time Grand Prix winners list with 53 wins.
WATCH: 10 brilliant moments from four-time champion Sebastian Vettel
A six-year stint with Ferrari failed to yield a coveted fifth title and he scored just one podium in a year and a half with Aston Martin, where his contract expires at the end of 2022.
Ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Vettel – who races alongside Lance Stroll – announced it would be his 15th and final full season in Formula 1.
“I’ve had the privilege of working with many fantastic people in Formula 1 over the past 15 years – there are far too many to mention and thank them,” Vettel said. “For 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 in place. place for a team to race at the highest level for years to come.
“I really enjoyed working with such a great group of people. Everyone – Laurent [Stroll]Spear [Stroll]Martin [Whitmarsh]Mike [Krack]senior managers, engineers, mechanics and the rest of the team – is ambitious, capable, expert, committed and friendly, and I wish them all the best of luck.
READ MORE: ‘My best race is yet to come’ – Read Vettel’s retirement statement in full as four-time champion ends his F1 career
“Hopefully the work I did last year and continue to do this year will be helpful in developing a winning team in the future, and I will work as hard as I can until then. end of the year with that goal in mind, as always giving my best in the last 10 races.
“The decision to retire was difficult for me and I spent a lot of time thinking about it. at the end of the year, I want to take a little more time to think about what I’m going to focus on next; it’s very clear to me that as a father, I want to spend more time with my family.
“But today is not about saying goodbye. It’s more about saying thank you – to everyone – and especially to the fans, without whose passionate support Formula 1 could not exist.”
This tweet has been removed from Twitter
Lawrence Stroll, Owner of Aston Martin, said: “I want to thank Sebastian from the bottom of my heart for the great job 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 did what he thought was right for him and his family, and of course we respect that.
“He’s driven some fantastic races for us and behind the scenes his experience and expertise with our engineers has been invaluable. He’s one of Formula 1’s all-time greats, and that’s been a privilege. to have been able to work with him.
“He will continue to race for us up to and including the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which will be his 300th Grand Prix appearance. We will bid him a fabulous farewell.
Team principal Mike Krack added: “Sebastian is a superb driver – quick, smart and strategic – and of course we will miss those qualities. However, we have all learned from him, and the knowledge we gained working with him will continue to benefit our team long after he is gone.
“Aston Martin is a big project, with unlimited potential, and the groundwork that Sebastian did last year, and continues to do this year, is crucial. When we become fully competitive – and we will – one of the architects of this future success will be Sebastian, and we will always be grateful to him.