Sebastian Vettel contemplates the future: “I may stop in five years”
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  03 Jun 2013   |  10:41 am GMT  |  233 comments

Three times world champion Sebastian Vettel has said in an interview with the German Welt am Sonntag newspaper, one of the more serious papers in Germany, that he may quit F1 in five years time.

The 25 year old has won the world championship for the past three seasons and enjoys a strong lead in this year’s points table after six of 19 rounds.

There has always been speculation that he might leave Red Bull and join Ferrari, part of a destabilising process which is common in F1 when a team and driver combination is winning.

But he has always denied rumours that he has signed any kind of pre-contract.

However he has not previously mentioned the possibility that his career may not run into his 30s. Because Vettel started at 19 and had won three championships by the age of 25 – an unprecedented feat – the risk of burn-out or drop in motivation is always there.

Maybe I won’t be driving in five years because I’m tired of it,” he said in Welt am Sonntag. “Maybe in five years I’ll be with another team because I feel like a different challenge.

“Everyone evolves over the years and priorities shift.”

Vettel adds that he is happy at Red Bull and that he can “not imagine sometime somewhere else to go.”

On the face of it this is a non-commital answer and merely reflects reality, that one doesn’t know what lies ahead in the future. It doesn’t mean that he will cut short his career or move to another team.

But it does show that he’s thinking about it. Both statements reflect his understanding that to maintain motivation as a top sportsman, you need to find fresh challenges.

Vettel is a shrewd man and he has gently put this message out there for a reason. Even if it is only to motivate himself..

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I can’t believe everyone is saying that Massa is better than Kimi. Massa of 2008 was better than everybody, that was his year. But overall Kimi has shown he always drives his best. I wish we could see Massa of 2008 because almost no one could challenge him. Alonso would not be able to handle the old Massa… so stop acting like Alonso is so great. He’s good but this is due in addition because Massa lost his edge.


Alonso will win montreal he cannot afford to have vettel he must WIN to get closer to Vettel the track was good for Michel it will be good for Alonso


Is it just me or is it that F1 has not been that good this year? Are the drivers losing their love for the sport or are the tyres killing F1 alive?

I’m young and I only started following in 2010. However 2010 was a magnificent season. Alonso, Webber in pole position for the WC (pardon the pun) and suddnely Vettel steals it in Abu Dhabi.

Look at 2012, 7 different winners from seven races. I can say two things.

Firstly, a massive reason for the dwonfall this year is one word ‘Pirelli.’ Secondly, I don’t know what will happen to me when the current crop (Alonso, Webber, Kimi, Button, Vettel, Hamilton)will retire?


Alonso is the best driver at this time he would take vettel if had the same car i am sure and he will win this year fi title bet on it,

Adrian Newey Jnr

James – I believe Schumacher changed the way champions are viewed. It wasn’t by the number of championships he won, but it was the fact that he was able to go to a struggling team (and in conjunction with others) build it into a dominant force.

If you’re a good F1 driver and care about your legacy, its not enough to win one WDC. That can be put down to being in the right car in the right time – eg Button in the Brawn. Even people like Senna switched teams to be in the right team during periods of his career. That was the established methodology.

Several of the current generation have the combination of the talent to win a WDC (given the right car) and an eye on history. Look at Alonso’s career. He arguably beat Schumacher at his peak on equal terms(twice). By moving to Ferrari, he wasn’t trying to necessarily beat his total WDC wins, but to prove that it wasn’t the car, it was him. Remarks like “I bring 2 seconds a lap” when joinging McLaren highlight this mentality.

I think Hamilton also has this vision. Having been frustrated by McLaren’s underperformance, I think he saw Mercedes as the opportunity to prove to the world that he was capable of turning around a team. You could argue that the team was already undergoing that process (thanks to all the Chiefs/Indians in the engineering tent) though.

I think Vettel knows that his wins could always be judged as being unbeatable Newey masterpieces. That the public think that its the car not him. So by moving to another team at some stage in his career, he is able to show the part he played. After you have won one WDC as a driver, you probably start judging yourself against other WDCs and in particular the way Schumacher won his, not the total.


The reality is no one really knows how good Vettel is until he goes up against another benchmark. So far he’s seen off Bourdais and Webber.

We know Hamilton and Alonso are about equal based on 2007.

Alonso has seen off Massa, and Massa generally had the upper hand on Kimi at Ferrari.

Rosberg is now showing Hamilton the way, so based on the above indicates he is therefore better than Alonso, Hamilton, Kimi, Schumacher and Massa.

If Kimi was to beat Vettel at Red Bull next year it means Rosberg is therefore the best driver in the world.

Kimi > Vettel (?)

Massa > Kimi

Alonso > Massa

Alonso = Hamilton

Rosberg > Hamilton

Do you follow (?) Or are these ‘who’s better’ debates a total waste of time… 😉


But, Vettel and Hamilton have driven against each other in the same car (top gear) and Hamilton won so does that mean Rosberg is the greatest. 🙂


Non Compute…. How can this be?

Vettel > Webber > Rosberg > Hamilton ??

Haha 🙂


You are forgetting that Webber>Rosberg and Vettel>Webber, so it means that:

Vettel>Webber>Rosberg=Hamilton=Alonso>Massa>Kimi 🙂

See? He already has a benchmark to compare to.

Such comparisons are beyond silly anyway.


You do realize that Webber beat Rosberg when they drove the same car? So Webber > Rosberg > Hamilton > Alonso > Massa ….

Yeah, it’s a silly game. The fact is that Hamilton and Button drove the same car for three years – and people still can’t agree on what THAT proved. It certainly appeared to show that Hamilton = Button though.


The key to the Vettel move is:-

How long will Vettel give Red Bull if the engine package is not competitive?

How long will Ferrari give Alonso when he fails to deliver the championship again?


the former would more than likely determine it than the latter

Bring Back Murray

Alonso’s seat is set in stone, isn’t it?


Nothing is set in stone in F1. 🙂


I reckon Vettel is just squeezing RBR for bigger $$$ contract, he knows the team needs him.


Need him, or like to keep him? Newey is the former, I don’t think Vettel is. RBR are at their strongest position to renegotiate now. If they fall back next year, they won’t be.


The two best examples are Loeb in wrc and Stoner in MotoGP. Loeb struggled to maintain motivation after dominating for so long, and Stoner got sick of the politics and media BS.

Matthew Cheshire

It’s not that complicated. 3 championships plus 5 more beats Schumacher. Vettel will get 8 and then think about retiring.

Drivers are simple people.


Sorry Seb, the real concern is whether Newey is getting tired.


Alonso said the same thing circa 2005, didn’t he?

Bring Back Murray

You know what I didn’t think anybody would be getting after Schumacher’s record for quite some time. If ever. But unless the other teams / drivers step up and really do something about it he’s going to be there before you know it.


Don’t read to much into to it… Its only a Rant by Vettel.

None would hang up their helmets from F1 when they touch thirty…. especially when we all know just how crazy Vettel is about records…. both breaking them and keeping them.


Agree. He did start off the sentence with “Perhaps… bla bla bla…”

There is no doubt about his intellect and how he uses it to win championships. With the exception of 2011, all his other WDC hard fought.

I rate him to have the same level (or at least potentially) as Sebastian Loeb, Juan Manuel Fangio, Stéphane Peterhansel, Vladimir Chagin. All of these great drivers simply dominated their field.


Interesting you mentioning Sebastian Loeb…. while the F1 drivers bask in all the media glory, sometimes undeservedly so…. Sebastian Loeb has been the most supreme force in terms of talent in the world of Motorsport…. simply unbeatable and unequaled…. An Astonishing Achievement and one which commands more respect and honor than its been given.


You left out Micheal Schumacher


Vettel i’m sure won’t retire from F1 in 5 years time.


I don’t think we should read too much into this interview. It sounds very realistic to acknowledge the reality that he may not be motivated to continue, or that he may change teams at some point. It happens. All drivers move on, even when they’re on a winning team.

I think at some point Vettel will have to face some adversity in his career. It is inevitable. How will he react? No driver ever has the perfect situation for an entire career. Schumi switched teams to what, at the time, was an uncompetitive Ferrari. He later broke a leg and lost half a season. That’s but one driver example.

Vettel, up until now, has enjoyed a very charmed life. Quick rise in to a top team (deserved), consistently good car from RBR, no major accidents. Perhaps his luck will continue…more likely not. How will he react in the event of a setback (I’m not wishing anything bad happens to him, just to clarify)? It will be interesting to see.


He’s actually been rather unlucky, so I have no idea where the “charmed life” stuff comes from. Vettel has suffered multiple mechanical DNF’s in his short career, much more so than Hamilton or Alonso. He fought through considerable adversity to take the title in both 2010 and 2012.


Are you kidding?

I’m not talking about the run-of-the-mill stuff that all drivers have to deal with.

He’s been in the Constructor’s Championship winning car the last three years. Wow, that’s some real adversity…


Steve, if you have a mech failure when you’re running 13th having started 14th, I’m sorry but it doesn’t exactly arouse feelings of hard luck, b/c a good points-scoring opportunity has been lost. When you’re in a midfield team, you will have more mech failures, but they hardly ever result in a top 5 finish being squandered.

Care to list all his mech failures, starting grid position, and position retired from?

Fact is that Vettel had 18 finishes in 2012, 90% of the races. He didn’t get tagged by Grosjean all year … not many other drivers on last year’s grid can say that. He also did not have many finished-but-with-race-compromising-issues (FBWRCI’s, new stat), especially ones in which he bore zero fault. I would put his damage in BRA partly down to his bad start, and brain fade thinking he could turn in so sharp during the first-lap close racing.

Bottom line he can’t really claim to be in a credit position with Lady Luck.


“He’s been in the Constructor’s Championship winning car the last three years.”

What has MADE it “the Constructor’s Championship winning car” has been Vettel’s performances in it. You make it sound as if the car won those Constructors titles all on its own and SV was taken along with it.

By the same token, the Renault won the constructors titles in 2005 and 2006. But that cannot be separated from FA’s performances those years. You can’t simply claim that a driver was “lucky” to be in a WCC (or WDC) winning car. In that sense every champion in the history of F1 has been “lucky”.

KBR – I clearly said “career”, not “since 2010”. In his career SV has suffered eleven mechanical DNF’s and LH just six. Even in 2012 while LH was being “unlucky” and SV was supposedly being “lucky”, LH had 3 mechanical DNF’s and SV had 2.

These are just cold hard facts. I’ll leave the “fan myopia” to others.


I don’t think he’s kidding. Another overly-tribal my-driver-right-or-wrong type.

Vettel’s had 4 mechanical DNF’s from 2010-12. Hamilton’s had 6. It’s just a product of exaggerating your favoured driver’s travails, while discounting those of other drivers. Fan myopia.


He will do the same as he did after being hit to face the wrong direction, with the car damage worsening, after the wrong pit stop followed by waiting at the pit stop due to broken radio at the 2012 Brazil GP – never stops believing and keeps on pushing

Tornillo Amarillo

If something bad happens to him, he’ll get just more fans…


Well history says otherwise. People are not able to quit F1. Just look at Schumi he found it hard to stop racing after 7 championships. Kimi got back to F1 after a while.

I think these are just opinions and thoughts. As @Miha put it we need to read the whole interview or atleast the exact question that was asked to get the full context.

It remains a fact that Vettel has achieved a lot at a younger age compared to others. Imagining him racing for another 15 more years will be quite a stretch. But another 10 years does not look that difficult.


I agree. 10 years seems about right. Unlike many of his heroes he’s not come into F1 in his later 20s and won championships in his 30s. So there’s definitely less chance of him trying to continue in his 40s like Schumacher – but in terms of experience, he’ll likely be one of the ‘old guard’ by 35 even if he’s not really the oldest of the drivers.


It is better to burnout than to fade away….


He could retire today while still just 25 and have had one of the most distinguished careers in the history of F1. The lengths the FIA is going to to try to stop him from winning is a tribute to his skill and resolve.


I think it’s more likely red bull leave before vettel does. I imagine pouring billions of pounds in when Newey retires will seem like a waste.

Vettel will have seen that Michael didn’t fare well by taking a break and so I think he’ll stay until he’s beaten schimachers records. Although we all know the last couple of WDC’s will be in a Ferrari don’t we?


I’ve never understood the way some seem to regard Newey as a near deity. He spent ten years designing cars from 2000 to 2009, and they were not very good cars. He’s part of a great team at present. He’s not bestowing wins on RBR which they could never get otherwise.


Well to be honest how you regard Newey isn’t the point. Red Bull pay him more than any driver, Ferrari have offered him more money than Alonso and Hamilton combined – he gets a near unlimited budget and every other engineer out there describes him as a genius. The team at RBR was put together by Newey, that’s the point. That team would not exist and the working method would not exist without Newey.

If anyone claims it is ALL Newey alone, they’re wrong – but dismissing him as if RBR would even be close to winning 4 championships on the run is simply going against what every expert in the paddock suggests.

It’s not so much the fans who ‘deify’ Newey, but his rivals.

He does seem to have ‘cycles’ though (like drivers) where he designs a run of great cars and then he either gets bored or runs out of talent for a while. But his main complaint before has been teams refusing to let him set up his workforce in the way he sees fit without interference.

RBR would not be winning without Newey.


It’s ridiculous that someone even tries to argue otherwise. Even Horner said he would plump for Newey over Schumacher (said in 2005 when they poached him) every time!

H.Guderian (ALO fan)

I think he will stop sooner than that (maybe 2015) if Kimi joins RBR next year… (assuming Kimi is allowed to race).


But if he beats Kimi his detractors will say its because he knows the team better, or they favour him, or Kimi will suddenly be over the hill. There will always be an excuse. I think he is a better qualifier than Kimi, so he may have a good chance.

H.Guderian (ALO fan)

Believe me. He WILL NOT beat Kimi (or ALO or ROS or HAM).


Hahahaha its hilarious now Rosberg is brought into the mix as hes got the measure of Hamilton now he has beaten all the above constantly since he’s been in a good car so what are we saying here no one talks about Alonso’s development skills again now because reality has set in or he forgot his 6/10th at Mclaren people say Alonso is deserving of the title like he’s driving a Marussia or Caterham forgetting he has the might of Ferrari behind him.

I tell you if Vettel goes to Ferrari next season he would wipe the floor with him believe that Alonso is a poor qualifier and Vettel is just as good in the race.


Ok, if you say so, I’ll wait for the actual races to take place, thanks.

Stephen Taylor

Kimi will stay where is next year. Then he will have a mclaren swansong in 2015 and 2016.


Close the door on your way out


No need, Weber is holding it open for him.

Bring Back Murray

Come on he’s spiced up F1. Always goes for the fastest lap even when he’s miles in the lead. Doesn’t just turn off with 30% of the race to go like Shumacher always used to!


Not bitter ar all

Val from montreal

Schumacher always said he would retire if somebody else came along who proved to be faster than him .. That day never came …. Being at the top of F1 for more than a decade had its tole on the great German … He had nothing left to prove after 2000 , all the extra years was only a bonus for his legacy …

Vettel can retire this year and he’d be seen as the greatest of his generation even at 25 years old …

Go Vettel !



Scuderia McLaren

All young sports stars say this in many sports. They just do not comprehend how FAST the time flys.

Don’t worry, he’ll be at 200gp’s before he knows it and will say, “fittest I have ever been! Motivated for title no.7”. As schuey’s stats get closer and less arbitrary, he’ll become hungrier. Leopards don’t change their spots, even if they want to.

Sorry Seb, might sound nice to retire at 30 but the drive that got you here won’t switch off until the flesh begins to fail ala Mickey Schu. You’re no Kimi.




Yea Seb…we are tired too…..

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