By James Broughton, November 22, 2022
No is the quick answer to the banner headlines. Sebastian Vettel exited the Formula One stage at the final race of the 2022 Grand Prix season in Abu Dhabi. Vettel finished the race in 10th for Aston Martin and 12th overall in the drivers standing. He spent 15 seasons racing at the top of the sport and earned 57 pole positions, 53 race wins, 4 world titles, and countless podiums. He won 4 world titles in a row between 2010-2013. A move to Ferrari ignited the team to winning ways again, 14 in total, but they were pipped to the post by Lewis Hamilton on two occasions.
Vettel’s form seemed to wane in 2019, the relationship with Ferrari ended and a move to Aston Martin was his new home for the last two years of his stellar career. Aston Martin was a backward step in many ways because the team was and still is still undergoing a period of recalibration. But at 35 Vettel is still a young guy even by F1 standards. By comparison, if he was a footballer Vettel would be considered an aging journeyman.
But a driver knows when his time is up and Vettel has made the right call. One door closes another door opens. And he has a $140M nest egg to look forward to spending. The professional sporting career is short compared to a “civilian career” if it wasn’t Martin Brundle would still be competing.
Formula One is over 76 years old, in that elapsed time many drivers have competed, many more dare yet to enter, and all will eventually leave to be replaced by the next ambitious generation. But only a few will ever hope to achieve greatness, Vettel is one of the few who finds himself in a very ultra exclusive club. At the end of the day no matter how fast the car, the driver still has to turn up and deliver every weekend, that’s what great drivers like Vettel do.
But Formula One has little time for sentimentality, it may be Danke Seb now, however, when the 2023 season gets underway next year, few will have time to recollect the Sebastian Vettel era. That is the cold harsh reality of the business of F1. And besides, a new generation is waiting to earn their wings in the short time-frame a sporting career bestows.