Sebastian Vettel refuses to rule out return to Formula 1

Sebastian Vettel refused to rule out a return to F1 when questioned about the likelihood of a dramatic comeback.

The four-time world champion retired at the end of the 2022 season after two years of frustration at Aston Martin.

The finale to his stay in the sport was a far-cry from the glory years, namely with Red Bull with four straight titles from 2010-2013, as well as championship tilts with Ferrari.

But Vettel, 36, admits he “can’t exclude” the prospect of a return in the future, when asked by Sky F1’s Martin Brundle whether he would return to the grid in a similar manner to the likes of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.

"I can’t say no, because that you don’t know," the German said.

"I think it’s something that if you asked all of them, probably some of them would have said ‘no’. And some of them I don’t know, but in the end all of them came back, so I can’t exclude it.

"It probably will depend much on when, and obviously it’s not endless, because 36 is not like, ‘yeah in 10 years’ time’.

"Maybe I think about it then time has passed but it will depend on the challenge, whatever, but it’s not in my head right now.”

A 53-time race winner, Vettel made his F1 debut in 2007 before claiming his first victory at Monza with Toro Rosso in 2008.

Sebastian Vettel secured his fourth world title in 2013 (Getty Images)
Sebastian Vettel secured his fourth world title in 2013 (Getty Images)

Yet his last three seasons in the sport – one with Ferrari, two with Aston Martin – saw him finish 13th, 12th and 12th again in the Driver Standings, though did see him take on roles as a climate activist and LGBTQ+ rights campaigner.

"I’m enjoying the sort of outlook of the challenge of what to do next,” Vettel added. “It will be the way I see it, the biggest challenge for any racing driver and the biggest challenge for any sportsman, sportswoman, what do you do after?

"Because naturally you will be like 30-35, 40-45 - depending on your sport and discipline. And then what?

"There’s a lot of life left and life can be great even though you’re not racing, you know, the absolute limit in the fastest car in the world, but you can still do lots of great things that give you great pleasure."

Vettel was speaking to Sky ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, where the German won his final race of his F1 career in 2019.