Sebastian Vettel has revealed that his decision to retire from Formula could have been the same even if he was still fighting for wins and championships.
The four-time World Champion announced just before the Hungarian Grand Prix that he would bring his 15-year career to end after the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to spend more time with his young family.
The latter half of Vettel's career has not been as successful as the former, with only two (legal) podiums since the beginning of 2020 while his 53rd, and to date, last win came the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix for Ferrari.
Progress at Aston Martin has been limited, with Vettel fighting for lower points finishes and trying to get into Q3 or sometimes even Q2 - although he did score Aston's first ever F1 podium at the 2021 Azerbaijan GP with second place.
The German believes that if even he was still challenging at the front of F1 - his decision could have still remained the same.
Vettel on retirement
"I don't know," he replied when asked in an Aston Martin interview if he'd be retiring if the team was winning.
"Would I be retiring if I had been very competitive over the last three or four years: winning races, fighting for championships – maybe winning another one? I might have come to the same decision.
"Equally, I might not have. It's impossible to say, but it has crossed my mind.
"Finishing 10th doesn't give me a buzz because I know how it feels to finish first. If you've never finished first, the first time you finish 10th you get a real buzz.
"But I'm happy that I don't get a buzz from finishing 10th.
"You have to be true to yourself. I love winning. It sounds selfish and egotistical but winning is what drives me.
"I still love the sport. I still love racing.
"The decision to retire was a tough one, but I've been thinking about it for a while.
"I know how much commitment this sport requires, and I feel like it's a good time to do other things."
Viewed by others:
No regrets in joining Aston
Vettel - who will be replaced at Aston in 2023 by old rival Fernando Alonso says that despite his drop down the order and racing in a different part of F1 than he has been used to - he does not regret moving to the Silverstone team after leaving Ferrari at the end of '20.
"They have been challenging [years] because the car wasn't as competitive as we hoped," he explained.
"This year, we wanted to make a significant improvement over last year. We failed. We're currently where we finished last year.
"I'm not pointing the finger and saying we did a bad job. I'm just being realistic. We had high hopes, but we fell short.
"I've loved working with the team – getting to know different people and different approaches.
"These two years have been very challenging because I wasn't familiar with running at the back of the field.
"It has been a new experience – tough at times – and I realised a lot.
"If you're at the front, you only see what's at the front. If you're at the back, you only see what's at the back – but you're always looking to the front because you want to be there.
"But when you're at the front, you don't look at the back because it doesn't impact you and you don't appreciate just how much work the teams at the back are also putting in.
"I'm very happy and proud to have worked alongside such a talented and dedicated group of people at Aston Martin.
"Even though it wasn't a lot of fun in terms the results, it's been a lot of fun working with everyone – helping the team on its journey and building for the future."
F1 Podcast: Do F1's rules on championship points in shortened races need modifying?
RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the key issues from the Japanese Grand Prix, including Max Verstappen's dominant run to his second World Championship, and whether F1's current system of awarding points in shortened races needs tweaking.