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Sebastian Vettel

Vettel responds to speculation over F1 return

Sebastian Vettel has quashed hope and rumour of an F1 return after paying tribute to the lives of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Vettel Imola
To news overview © XPBimages

Sebastian Vettel has addressed the possibility of returning to F1 full-time after taking part in a demonstration run at Imola to honour the memory of Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger.

The 36-year-old retired at the end of the 2022 season, having won four drivers' titles and 53 grand prix in 299 race starts. A veteran of the likes of Red Bull, Ferrari and Aston Martin, the German driver made his F1 debut in 2007. 

Over the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend, Vettel organised a circuit run to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Senna and Ratzenberger's untimely deaths at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix - as well as demonstration laps in the former's last race-winning car, the 1993 McLaren MP4/8.

Following that display, he spoke to media including RacingNews365, who were keen to know if it had re-ignited his racing spark and whether he would be tempted into making a comeback.

"I'm not planning to for now," he said when asked if would return to F1. "I miss a lot of things about the sport. It was a tough decision, but I'm happy.

"I think I was very privileged to having had the career, the life and the support - but I don't wake up in the mornings missing those moments on the podium when people shout your name. I think I'm quite realistic about life and trying and taking on new challenges."

'Nothing has changed'

Towards the end of his career Vettel increasingly advocated for pertinent causes off-track, including environmental and human rights issues.

That work included an appearance on UK political talk show Question Time, as his focus gradually shifted to life outside F1. When he retired after two seasons with Aston Martin, he did so to be able to spend more time with his young family.

Despite that decision, rumours circulated earlier this year that he was contemplating a return to F1 with Mercedes. The German marque will lose Lewis Hamilton to Ferrari next season, Vettel is understood to have held conversations with Toto Wolff about the soon-to-be-vacant seat at the team.

However, with the possibility of that partnership off the table for now, the 36-year-old is happy with his initial decision, saying that "nothing has changed" to prompt a comeback.

"Yeah, I am," he replied, when asked by RacingNews365 if he was content with life and his F1 career. 

"Like I said, there's lots of things that I miss. There's also things that I don't miss, so it's always a give and take. Formula 1 these days is very, very intense - if you look at the schedule, the amount of races.

"It was a tough call when I made it. Obviously I was thinking about coming back, and I knew beforehand that I will be thinking about it. But, in the end, nothing has changed. So I'm still very happy with my decision."

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look back at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen and Lando Norris went head-to-head for the victory around the famous Imola Circuit as McLaren continue to pile the pressure on Red Bull!

Rather watch than listen to the podcast? Click here.

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