Sebastian Vettel’s retirement ensures that a driver not currently competing in Formula 1 will get the opportunity to do so in 2023.
Four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel announced that his 15th full season in the sport and second with Aston Martin will be his last, as he has decided that it is time to move on after 2022.
The 35-year-old German ranks third on the all-time wins list with 53, and he won four world titles in a row with Red Bull from 2010 to 2013. His 13 wins in 2013 tied seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher’s record from 2004.
Vettel’s announcement ensures that there will be at least one new driver on the grid in 2023, with Aston Martin now needing to find a new teammate for Lance Stroll. Even if a current driver shifts over to Aston Martin, that driver will then need to be replaced.
As a result, Vettel’s retirement is the first confirmed driver change for 2023.
It has long been speculated that Williams will look to replace Nicholas Latifi with Oscar Piastri or perhaps even Logan Sargeant, but nothing has been confirmed as to what the Grove-based team’s true plans are.
There has been plenty of other speculation about potential changes in the driver lineup for next year, specifically surrounding McLaren if Daniel Ricciardo opts not to return for the final year of his contract.
Fernando Alonso has also been mentioned as a driver who could be on the move from Alpine, and for a while, Mick Schumacher was seen as being on the hot seat at Haas.
But thus far, the only deals announced so far this year have been contract extensions, most notably for Red Bull teammates Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, as well as Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. AlphaTauri have also confirmed the return of Pierre Gasly, who had been linked to McLaren as a potential Ricciardo replacement.
So while silly season unofficially began several months ago, Vettel’s announcement has truly kicked things off, even though there are still things to sort out regarding this particular driver lineup change at Aston Martin.