Sebastian Vettel has announced his retirement from F1 at the end of the 2022 season in a special post on his first day on Instagram.

Despite hints of staying at Aston Martin and in F1 in recent weeks, Vettel dropped the bomb on his first day on Instagram by announcing retirement from the sport at the end of the 2022 season, thereby ending a career spanning for over 10 years.

Vettel made his F1 presence in 2006 as a test driver at BMW Sauber and got his first drive with them in USA. He had his first full year in 2008 and has been a regular since then with four world championships against his name in this period.

Post the BMW Sauber stint, he has raced with Toro Rosso, Red Bull, Ferrari and most recently Aston Martin. He has 53 races thus far with 122 podium finishes to go with 57 pole positions and 38 fastest laps against his name in this period.

The 2022 F1 season will be his last in the sport as he looks to life outside the sport as he spoke on his Instagram post. His departure will open up a seat at Aston Martin and likely shuffle up the 2023 grid in the midfield.

Here’s his Instagram post:

“I have had the privilege of working with many fantastic people in Formula One over the past 15 years – there are far too many to mention and thank,” said Vettel. “Over the past two years I have been an Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team driver – and, although our results have not been as good as we had hoped, it is very clear to me that everything is being put together that a team needs to race at the very highest level for years to come.

“I have really enjoyed working with such a great bunch of people. Everyone – Lawrence, Lance, Martin, Mike, the senior managers, the engineers, the mechanics and the rest of the team – is ambitious, capable, expert, committed and friendly, and I wish them all well. I hope that the work I did last year and am continuing to do this year will be helpful in the development of a team that will win in the future, and I will work as hard as I can between now and the end of the year with that goal in mind, giving as always my best in the last 10 races.

“The decision to retire has been a difficult one for me to take, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about it; at the end of the year I want to take some more time to reflect on what I will focus on next; it is very clear to me that, being a father, I want to spend more time with my family. But today is not about saying goodbye. Rather, it is about saying thank you – to everyone – not least to the fans, without whose passionate support Formula One could not exist,” summed up Vettel.

Team boss Lawrence Stroll shared his thoughts too: “I want to thank Sebastian from the bottom of my heart for the great work that he has done for Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One™ Team over the past year and a half. We made it clear to him that we wanted him to continue with us next year, but in the end he has done what he feels is right for himself and his family, and of course we respect that.

“He has driven some fantastic races for us, and, behind the scenes, his experience and expertise with our engineers have been extremely valuable. He is one of the all-time greats of Formula One, and it has been a privilege to have been able to work with him. He will continue to race for us up to and including the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which will be his 300th Grand Prix entry. We will give him a fabulous send-off.”

And finally, Mike Krack added: “Sebastian is a superb driver – fast, intelligent and strategic – and of course we are going to miss those qualities. However, we have all learned from him, and the knowledge that we have gained from working with him will continue to benefit our team long after his departure.

“Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team is a great project, with unlimited potential, and the groundwork that Sebastian has done last year, and is still doing this year, is crucial. When we become fully competitive – and we will – one of the architects of that future success will be Sebastian, and we will always be grateful to him for that.”

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Here’s Sebastian Vettel driving the Aston Martin TT1