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Vettel has ‘no active plans’ for a return to F1 despite conversations with Wolff

Sebastian Vettel responds to Lewis Hamilton's move to Ferrari, mentioning text exchanges with Toto Wolff and leaving the possibility of a return open

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Sebastian Vettel admits his surprise at Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari and confirms there’s “no active plans” to return to Formula 1, despite conversations with Toto Wolff and remaining open to the possibility of a return in the future.
F1 Vettel
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell with Sebastian Vettel during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit on September 21, 2023 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Kym Illman/Getty Images)

In 2022, four-time world champion,  Sebastian Vettel, concluded his 15-year racing career due to a desire for more family time. Following his retirement, Vettel has maintained a low profile, concentrating on life beyond the racing track and staying away from the limelight.

The revelation of Lewis Hamilton’s impending move to Ferrari by the end of the 2024 season left everyone astonished. However, shortly afterwards, rumours began circulating, regarding the potential successors vying for the vacant seat of the seven-time world champion upon his departure.

Although Sebastian Vettel’s name has occasionally surfaced, the German driver has refrained from making any statements on the matter until recently. Vettel confessed to having exchanged messages with the current Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff, regarding the upcoming move set for next year.

Vettel’s not ruling out a return

When questioned by the German publication Neue Zürcher Zeitung about his thoughts on the Hamilton news, and his stance regarding speculation about a potential return, Vettel responded promptly stating he was “surprised” when he heard the Hamilton news.

Vettel shared his insights, stating: “I was surprise by this change. The Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff didn’t call me, but we briefly exchanged text messages. But so far it’s not an issue for me, also because at 36 I still have all the time in the world. So it doesn’t go away.”

Despite persistent speculation, the matter isn’t pressing for Vettel. He underscores the importance of time in his decision-making, citing his age of 36 as a factor that affords him the luxury of considering options at a measured pace.

Given the speculation surrounding him, Vettel found it necessary to confront the rumours head-on. In response to inquiries about a potential return to F1, he said: “So far, there are no active plans.”.

When pushed further about a return, Vettel expressed the dynamic nature of his perspective, stating:

“No. I also said back then that there wouldn’t be a clear no in that sense, because I believe that everything is a process.

“And maybe there will come a point when I say: Yes, I would like to go back. When I get it sorted mentally so that it suddenly makes sense again. But at the moment, I’m doing very well without driving in Formula 1. There’s no definite no, but no definite yes either.”

Toto Wolff Responds

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff weighed in on Vettel’s racing future. Wolff said in an interview with AMUS in early February that he thinks Vettel “made the decision to not race anymore.”

However, Wolff did admit that he and Vettel maintain regular communication, dispelling any recent speculation about a potential collaboration between Vettel and Mercedes. He was also quick to note that none of the conversations between the duo had anything to do with racing Vettel stepping into the vacant seat.

Wolff has explicitly emphasised that nothing has changed following Hamilton’s departure news, underscoring the Brackley-based outfit’s exclusive focus on the upcoming season.

Headline Image: GettyImages

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