Four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel says that he has been pondering his future in Formula 1 for a number of years.
On Thursday, Vettel announced that he would be departing the sport at the end of the 2022 campaign.
Vettel has spent 15 years associated with the sport and retires as one of the most successful drivers F1 has ever seen with four World Championships, 53 victories and 122 podiums.
Having put thought into his potential retirement a number of years ago, Vettel says he only made a decision one day before he made the announcement public.
“The timeline takes us years back,” Vettel said. “It’s not a decision I made overnight. The final decision was taken yesterday by telling the team I am going to stop and not going to continue, but there was a lot of thought leading into this.
“I think it’s the right time for me to do other things. I know how intense this job is and how much dedication goes into this and if you do this I am convinced you have to do it the right way.
“I don’t get much pleasure and motivation from being here and just being part of it, so the aim is and always has been to win and compete at the front.
“I think I have been very privileged to have so many great teams and cars in the past that I was always able to achieve so many things.”
Vettel says that thoughts of being away from his family, among other factors, led to his decision.
“So much dedication going in also means a lot of time in your head and with your thoughts, but also physically time away from home, from kids and family.
“I have grown other things, other than the children, other interests and views have grown and I can’t ignore these voices.
“So ultimately, the questions got bigger and bigger and more central, to a point where I make the decision.
“It’s not a 100 per cent or zero per cent decision, it’s not like I hate racing from now on, I still love racing, but it’s probably the majority that pulls me in a different direction. I’m not making way, because it’s my decision, but I’m happy to head in a different direction.”