Sebastian Vettel will retire after four more grands prix, and admits he might be soon forgotten claiming it is up to people to decide whether they want to remember him or not.
The four-time Formula 1 Champion will hang up his helmet and gloves after an illustrious career in the sport, after 17 seasons, over which he won four Titles, amassed 53 wins, with 57 pole positions to his name.
After the highs of his Red Bull days, the roller coaster ride of his Ferrari years where he failed to win another Championship, Vettel will conclude his F1 career at back-markers Aston Martin after two years with the team.
His Aston Martin career had a few of highs, notably his podium in Baku in 2020, the team’s first. He had another podium finish in Hungary that year but was stripped of it for a fuel irregularity.
Most recently, at the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix, the German dragged his Aston Martin AMR22 into Q3 in qualifying finishing ninth, and despite an early mistake in the race, recovered to finish a strong sixth, after a tussle with his replacement at the team in 2023 Fernando Alonso.
Speaking in an interview with Aston Martin F1’s official website, Vettel spoke of his F1 career, and discussed his legacy, whether he will be remember or not.
He said: “I once heard someone say, ‘You will only be remembered until the last person who remembers you dies.’
“Let me put it this way: the UK has a new king, but he’s not the first King Charles – there were two more before him. Do you remember them? Probably not. There’s a limit.
“There will probably come a point when no one will remember me. Nothing lasts forever,” the 35-year-old conceded.
“People can decide if they want to remember me,” Vettel went on. “But I wouldn’t be offended if they don’t. It’s not important to me how I’m remembered.
“I always try to succeed – sometimes I don’t succeed – but, above all else, I always try to treat people with respect and be nice. If that’s what people remember about me then that will make me happy,” he explained.
I had to mature earlier than my friends
Asked what lessons he learned over his F1 career, the Aston Martin driver said: “There are a lot of lessons in life and it’s up to you whether you choose to learn from them.
“Being a Formula 1 driver is an accelerated way of living. I think that’s true for most professional sportspeople. You have everything that happens in normal life, but it’s more compressed in terms of time.
“I had to mature earlier than my friends at school because I was taking my racing career very seriously and dealing with a lot of adults,” he pointed out.
Vettel claims that despite focusing on building his racing career, he was still able to experience life as a teenager; he reflected: “I was still doing all the stupid and silly things teenagers do with their friends.
“But, when you’re 19 years old, your world is different when you’re also spending a lot of time with people who are in their thirties, forties and fifties.
“Hanging out with older people didn’t make life dull and boring – not at all. But I had to mature quickly. If you want to achieve something, you need to be committed – you need to be disciplined,” the German insisted.
“I often feel like I’ve experienced so much in the last 15 years that I can’t take it all in – meeting so many people, going to so many different countries,” he responded his F1 experiences overwhelmed him.
“It’s taught me a lot – time will tell just how much I was listening,” Vettel, who has 122 podiums to his name, mused.