‘I don’t have a list’ – Vettel’s only guaranteed post-F1 race


Since Sebastian Vettel decided to retire from Formula 1, there have been very few indications that he has any concrete plans to continue racing afterwards.

In fact, Vettel’s rhetoric indicated otherwise. The four-time world champion has remained openly ambiguous about what his future might be.


Returning to the Hungarian Grand Prix on the day he announced his retirement, Vettel said: “In terms of age, it’s not a problem to do something else and do more in Formula 1. .

“That’s not the limit. I think physically I’m in great shape, I have no problem driving these cars. So there’s nothing that would hold me back on that front.

“I can’t say yes and I can’t say no. Because obviously the decision I’m making now is that this chapter ends.

“I’m not saying this chapter is over because another one is opening up right away and I’m driving other cars next year. That’s not the decision I’m making.

“It’s really a big change and how I’m going to get through it.

“I don’t know. Time will tell. That’s probably the fairest answer I can give right now.

Two months later and that message hasn’t really changed. The only concrete plan Vettel has for life after F1 is a return to his beloved Race of Champions, an exhibition event Vettel buys into like few others.

Vettel enjoys being in a relaxed environment surrounded by motorsport legends, driving unusual cars. Moving the event to northern Sweden has only heightened that sentiment and it’s no surprise that Vettel has been confirmed as champion back in 2023, alongside two-time F1 champion Mika Hakkinen and from W-Series ace Jamie Chadwick.

“I can’t think of a better place for my first race after retiring from Formula 1 than the Race of Champions,” Vettel said when it was announced this week. And that can be taken literally. It’s not lip service.

Vettel had essentially confirmed the ROC’s return to Zandvoort when asked by The Race if he had any specific races he wanted to target after F1. It’s not just the only guaranteed race Vettel will do after 2022 – it’s the only one he was interested in committing to immediately.

Race Of Champions Ice + Snow 4 6/2/22

“No, I don’t have a list,” Vettel said earlier this month. “Certainly if I think about it there are a few things that come to mind but right now it might seem boring but I’m looking forward to having time to think about everything and to have time to slow down.

“It’s the rhythm I’ve known since I can remember. And I look forward to having some space and time.

“But I also know myself, I know I’m motivated and I usually can’t sit still for long. So I’m sure something will happen. But we’ll see what it is.

“I will have the Race of Champions in January! So a similar start, then a different year after.

While it seems likely Vettel will find new racing interests beyond F1, he doesn’t appear to be heading into retirement with a clear idea of ​​what’s next – or if he’ll even want to race competitively.

Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin F1

Unsurprisingly, Vettel expects to miss the driving buzz. He also suspects “there probably isn’t really a replacement” for F1.

If he makes peace with losing that, there’s a realistic chance that Vettel thinks he can eliminate any lingering competitive itch he still has just by having fun in competitions, exhibitions or experiments. of “less significant” private conduct.

“I feel like I’m ready to do everything I can to say ‘it’s gone, it won’t be there,'” Vettel said in July.

“If I want to race something, I’m sure I can think of something.

“But I think it would be a mistake to walk away knowing you still want to race.”

It matches his enthusiasm for things like the Race of Champions or his own testing exploits in historic F1 cars.

Sebastian Vettel Williams F1

It’s less about the spotlight, and more about fun. Vettel has always jumped at opportunities to drive for fun and he will soon have a lot more free time to do so.

Is it likely that Vettel will face the 24 Hours of Nurburgring in a GT car using alternative fuels? Or would he be more likely to accept something like the Rahal family’s offer of an IndyCar test drive so he can experience one of America’s old-school tracks that he so much prefers more than the likes of the Miami track introduced earlier this year?

Who knows. It doesn’t sound like Vettel, in truth. All he’s hinted at is that he’s not ruling anything out. He didn’t specify what else he has in store because he keeps all options open – from nothing to whatever he fancy.

“Perhaps there could be more of this nature [the Race of Champions]maybe I will find something completely different off the track,” Vettel said.

Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin F1

“Maybe I will come back in some form. I do not know.

“I’ve seen too many other routes taken by others. I’d be ignorant if I didn’t look at other people’s choices and think I’m all different – I come from the same world.

As Vettel hints, a range of inspiration can be found by watching the latest drivers to leave F1 at the end of their careers – by choice, more or less, rather than simply losing their records.

Kimi Raikkonen left with minimal fanfare, unsurprisingly, a year ago and focused on his family. Although the competitive spirit is clearly still present, it has made a unique return to NASCAR’s top series.

Kimi Raikkonen NASCAR

Felipe Massa switched to Formula E and turned to television. Jenson Button also embraced expertise, alongside racing in Japan (where he won the Super GT title) and a few sporadic sportscar outings, including his debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Nico Rosberg hasn’t raced since his surprise retirement at the end of 2016, focusing instead on investments and green tech – and, of course, modesty. Mark Webber, Vettel’s former team-mate at Red Bull, turned to Porsche’s LMP1 program to see his racing career through, but he can still be found in the F1 paddock as a TV pundit and is also a manager Oscar Piastri’s pilot.

The common thread between these drivers is the desire to stay connected to F1 in some way and to be paid to appear on TV. As Vettel hints at following other people’s leads, maybe it even means that we can even consider that he has a future as an expert as well.

If he ever manages to come up with a list of things he wants to do in retirement, chances are it won’t be near the top.