Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has announced he will retire from Formula 1 at the end of the season.
The German driver made his debut in 2007, and went on to win four consecutive world championships for Red Bull between 2010 and 2013, making him the sport’s youngest title winner.
The 35-year-old spent six seasons with Ferrari after joining the Italian team in 2015, and will now see out the remainder of his final season with Aston Martin.
Vettel is currently third on the list of most Grand Prix wins in the history of the sport – with 53 victories – with Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher the only drivers ahead of him.
“The decision to retire has been a difficult one for me to take, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about it,” said Vettel, confirmed in a video posted on Instagram on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
“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.”
The final race of his Formula 1 career will take place at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November and will mark his 300th race.
In his video posted on social media, Vettel added: “I love this sport. It has been central to my life since I can remember. But as much as there is life on track, there is my life off track too. Being a racing driver has never been my sole identity. I very much believe in identity by who we are and how we treat others rather than what we do.
“I believe in change and progress and that every little bit makes a difference. I am an optimist and I believe people are good. Next to racing, I have grown a family and I love being around them. I have grown other interests outside Formula 1. My passion for racing and Formula 1 comes with lots of time spent away from them and takes a lot of energy.
“Committing to my passion the way I did and the way I think it is right, does no longer go side by side with my wish to be a great father and husband. The energy it takes to become one with the car and the team, to chase perfection takes focus and commitment.
“My goals have shifted from winning races and fighting for championships to seeing my children grow, passing on my values, helping them up when they fall, listening to them when they need me, not having to say goodbye, and most importantly, being able to learn from them and let them inspire me.”