Sebastian Vettel plans to retire at the end of the Formula 1 season.
The Aston Martin driver and four-time world champion revealed the news via Instagram on Thursday.
Vettel won his four championships between 2010 and ‘’13 and ranks third on the all-time Grand Prix winners list with 53 victories.
The German driver made the announcement prior to the upcoming Hungarian Grand Prix, Vettel will call it a career following this — his 15th full season competing in Formula 1.
“I have 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,” said Vettel. “Over 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 together that a team needs to race at the very highest level for years to come.”
Making his Formula 1 debut with BMW Sauber during the 2007 United States Grand Prix, Vettel went on to star for Red Bull for four seasons before spending six years with Ferrari. This is his second season with Aston Martin. His contract expires at the end of the season.
Vettel, who teams with Lance Stroll at Aston Martin, hopes to finish the season strong.
“I hope that the work I did last year and am continuing to do this year will be helpful in the development of a team that will win in the future, and I will work as hard as I can between now and the end of the year with that goal in mind, giving as always my best in the last 10 races.
“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. Rather, it is about saying thank you – to everyone – not least to the fans, without whose passionate support Formula 1 could not exist.”
Aston Martin Racing executive chairman Lawrence Stroll reacted to Vettel’s decision
“I want to thank Sebastian from the bottom of my heart for the great work that he has done for Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team over the past year and a half,” Stroll said. “We made it clear to him that we wanted him to continue with us next year, but in the end he has done what he feels is right for himself and his family, and of course we respect that.
“He has driven some fantastic races for us, and, behind the scenes, his experience and expertise with our engineers have been extremely valuable. He is one of the all-time greats of Formula One, and it has 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 entry. We will give him a fabulous send-off.”