In turn, he won 53 race victories, 122 podium finishes, and 57 pole positions. Vettel also won four driver’s World Championships.
We’re going to miss Sebastian Vettel.
Let me rephrase that: I’m going to miss Sebastian Vettel.
His record speaks volumes. Since 2006, Seb raced for five Formula 1 teams. In turn, he won 53 race victories, 122 podium finishes, and 57 pole positions. Vettel also won four driver’s World Championships. All of which achieved as the youngest F1 driver to do so.
Yet, the cheeky German driver is retiring at the age of 35.
For context Fernando Alonso is 41 years old. The Spanish driver will Vettel’s seat at Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant in 2023. If that makes sense, please let me know?
To me, it’s not about the numbers, the victories, and the accomplishments that I will miss. They will last forever. It is Vettel as a driver. As a voice. His sense of humor. And, his platform.
You may have heard of a group called Racing Pride. This organization is a collaboration between motorsports athletes and sponsors to try to bridge their efforts with other LGBTQ motorsports athletes and fans to the sport. The Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team is one of their sponsors.
This is part due to Vettel. As a social justice warrior in his own right, he talked about climate change. Although some have called him “hypocritical” on some points, Vettel maintains that the need to reverse climate change is necessary given some of the actions that took place over time.
For me, it is his advocacy for LGBTQ causes. I recall reading about his cover story in the UK’s Attitude magazine where he expressed that it was time for an LGBTQ F1 driver. This struck a chord with me, as it is rare for any athlete of his caliber and standing to discuss LGBTQ issues.
When you have the challenge of the NFL’s Carl Nassib being released short of a year after he came out publicly and an increasingly divided world debating over LGBTQ issues, a voice like Vettel – as well as Lewis Hamilton – is necessary for sections of the community to gravitate and support. LGBTQ people flock to people who speak on their behalf and show their support – “talking the talk and walking the walk,” if you will.
As the Managing Editor of a local/regional LGBTQ publication – who is also the publisher of this website – I always welcome these voices. I shine light when they need to be shined. It has always been my modus operendi to do so, not just for personal reasons. But, to guide all readers, social media followers, and others to the thoughts and ideas of many.
Back to the larger question: Why is Vettel retiring? In a video produced by Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant, he said that he wanted to spend time with his family. Perhaps there is more?
Maybe there is a ride in another motorsports arena? Maybe he will be more visible in the social justice arena? Or, maybe Vettel will spend time with his wife Hanna and their three children?
No matter what he does, Vettel’s legacy in motorsports is secure. So will his humor, his activism, and his place in global society.
I, for one, will miss all of the above.
All photos by Michael Potts via Shutterstock