4-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel to retire after 2022 season

Four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel is retiring from the series at the end of the season.

The Aston Martin driver announced Thursday via a newly created Instagram account that he would end his F1 career at the end of 2022. In his retirement statement, Vettel said he wanted to be known as more than simply a racing driver after he piled up stats that put him among the all-time greats in the series.

“I love this sport, it has been central to my life since I can remember,” Vettel wrote. “But as much as there’s life on track, there’s my life off track too. Being a racing driver has never been my sole identity. I very much believe in identity by who we are and how we treat others, rather than what we do.

"Who am I? I am Sebastian, father of three children and husband to a wonderful woman. I am curious and easily fascinated by passionate or skilled people. I am obsessed with perfection.”

“I am tolerant and feel we all have the same rights to live no matter what we look like, where we come from and who we love.”

“I love being outside and love nature and its wonders. I’m stubborn and impatient. I can be really annoying.”

“I like to make people laugh, I like chocolate and the smell of fresh bread. My favorite color is blue. I believe in change and progress and that every little bit makes a difference. I am an optimist and I believe that people are good.”

Vettel, 35, finished second in the Formula 1 standings in 2009 and went on to win four consecutive titles from 2010-13 for Red Bull Racing. He won 34 races over that four-year span and won 13 of 19 races in 2013 on the way to his fourth and final title. The advantage Red Bull had over the field disappeared in 2014, however, and Vettel scored just four podium finishes that season.

Vettel parted ways with Red Bull at the end of 2014 and moved to Ferrari where he won in his second start with the team. Vettel got 14 of his 53 career F1 wins with Ferrari from 2015-19 and finished second in the points standings in both 2017 and 2018.

A winless 2020 was his last season with the Scuderia and he moved to Aston Martin in 2021. Vettel missed the first two races of 2022 because of COVID-19 and is currently 14th in the points standings with four top-10 finishes through his first 10 starts of the season.

Vettel will retire as the third-winningest driver in Formula 1 history. Only Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher have more victories as Vettel's 2018 win at Spa moved him of Alain Prost on the career wins list. Vettel's four titles are tied with Prost for fourth-most all-time. Hamilton and Schumacher have seven while Juan Manuel Fangio won five.

LE CASTELLET, FRANCE - JULY 21: Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Aston Martin F1 Team talks in the Drivers Press Conference during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard on July 21, 2022 in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Sebastian Vettel has 53 career wins in Formula 1. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)