Martin Brundle doubts that Sebastian Vettel will follow in the footsteps of past champions by returning to Formula 1 following his retirement.
Vettel announced earlier this year that he would retire from F1 at the end of 2022, making the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix his 299th and final race of a glittering career that saw him win 53 Grands Prix and four consecutive World Championship titles.
At 35, Vettel is six years younger than F1's current elder statesman Fernando Alonso, and speculation abounded during the Abu Dhabi weekend that the German may elect to return to F1 in future – as Alonso himself did in 2021 after a two-year break from the sport.
Other World Champions to have returned to F1 after having previously announced their retirements include Michael Schumacher, Nigel Mansell and Alan Jones, but Brundle feels that Vettel's F1 chapter is now truly closed.
"I remember a quite emotional interview with Fernando Alonso on the grid in Abu Dhabi 2018 as he was saying farewell, and he's just signed a new two-year agreement taking him to at least the end of 2024," Brundle wrote in his column for Sky F1.
"But there was more of a finality about Seb's words and actions suggesting he won't be back on the grid.
"In a German interview, he said that he would be disappointed if he did feel the need to come back because then he would likely have failed on what he plans to do next."
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Vettel's push for environmentalism and inclusion
Vettel has not given any clear indication of what he plans to do now his F1 career is over, but the German has in recent years taken a keen interest in sustainability and environmentalism, and has been an outspoken advocate for diversity and inclusion.
The German appeared on the BBC debate show Question Time earlier this year, in which he discussed his concerns over the dependency on fossil fuels amongst certain countries, and acknowledged that his participation in F1 made him a hypocrite.
During F1’s first Miami Grand Prix weekend this year, Vettel wore a t-shirt suggesting that the U.S. city would be underwater by 2060 if global warming and climate change were not addressed.
Vettel has also voiced his support for the LGBTQ community, having suggested that Formula 1 is ready for an openly gay driver.
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