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Sebastian Vettel has opened up about his future in Formula One, admitting it’ll be hard to “turn his back” on the championship when he retires from racing. Vettel admitted he came close to retiring from F1 at the end of last season before he decided to sign with Aston Martin for “2021 and beyond.”
The four-time world champion was left with few options when Ferrari opted not to extend his contract at the end of last season.
Asked at the start of the campaign how close he came to retiring from F1 altogether, Vettel said: “Close. I don’t know if there is a measure of how close you can get.
“I was close in terms of having a lot of thought. Ultimately I have to put myself first in that regard and what I’ve decided now I believe is the best for me and looking forward to proving that.”
Yet, after a sharp turnaround of form with six races remaining this season, Vettel currently sits 12th in the driver standings, and had he not been stripped of podium place in Hungary, could’ve been significantly higher.
Since leaving Ferrari however, the 34-year-old has become increasingly vocal about the environment and his support of the LGBTQ+ community.
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However, when asked if his retirement could take him to politics, the German told The Race: “No! Not being a fan of the media I’m not sure politics would be the right place for me.
“Look at my age and I’m not going to be around F1 for the next 10 years.
“For sure I’m thinking about what might be next. I’m easily captured by passionate people even if it’s things I don’t currently have an interest in. I can easily grow a new passion.
“For any sportsman or racing driver in the past, it’s been a big challenge to find something. The easiest way would be to become a Sky reporter and find yourself in the same place for the next few years. I don’t see myself doing that but I love the sport and don’t want to turn my back on it and say “never again”.
“For sure I’m thinking about other things. I have a family so it’s easy to have things to take care of when I retire.”
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Vettel signed what is expected to be a multi-year contract at Aston Martin, after being informed in May 2020 that Ferrari would not be renewing his contract.
The German joined the Italian outfit in 2015 and gave Lewis Hamilton his one true championship battle since Nico Rosberg left Mercedes, with Ferrari quick in 2017 and 2018.
Speaking of his time at Ferrari, Vettel pondered on whether speaking out for what he believes in is easier now he’s not with such a big team.
“I don’t think so. I have the feeling you speak up once because you get the question, then from there the next questions are going to be asked and I have no problem repeating,” continued Vettel.
“I have certain views on some things.
“Obviously, some of those things are my opinion and I can see that not everyone agrees but that’s the way I think and I’m happy to stand up for my opinion and equally I’m happy to hear other people’s opinions and learn in the process but there are certain things that we as a society are getting right and certain things that are wrong.”
Vettel is the fourth oldest driver on the grid at 34, with the outgoing Kimi Raikkonen currently still holding the top spot at 41.
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