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Vettel reveals he was close to retiring from F1® before Aston Martin deal

11/09/20

The German signed 'for 2021 and beyond'.

Sebastian Vettel revealed he came close to quitting Formula 1® before receiving an offer to drive for Aston Martin in 2021.

Racing Point will morph into the Aston Martin works team next season and they confirmed on Thursday that Vettel will be at the wheel "for 2021 and beyond".

The German had been on the lookout for a new team after it emerged his contract with Ferrari was not going to be extended beyond this season, with Carlos Sainz to take his place.

As a consequence of Vettel's move, Sergio Perez has been left without a seat for next year for the time being.

But while Vettel spoke of his "love for Formula 1®" upon his future being confirmed, the 33-year-old said ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix that he had seriously contemplated quitting after an up-and-down spell with Ferrari, whom he first joined for the 2015 season.

"I was close to stopping," Vettel said. "It was close in terms of having a lot of thoughts. I had to look at myself in the first place, and that's what I did with this decision.

"What I've decided, I believe it's the best for me. I'm looking forward to proving that point.

"It felt like the right move. I think this is the best I can do right now. It feels good that the news is out.

"The team's performance is promising. The new regulations also offer opportunities. Hopefully the team can show what it is capable of when everyone has the same budgets."

Although he is not expecting to suddenly be challenging Lewis Hamilton for the championship again next year, Vettel does feel leaving Ferrari for Aston Martin at least brings that possibility a little closer.

"Mercedes is ahead of everyone and that will not change next year," he added. "But it's a great challenge. I want to drive in the front and not in the back – Aston Martin gives me that opportunity.

"The team is growing. Some teams have to shrink. Time will tell [how it goes]. It is a great step and an interesting project.

"I went to Ferrari to win titles - we didn't succeed, but I don't regret my years at Ferrari. I've tried everything. We've had good times and bad."

Last weekend at Monza, Vettel endured a woeful outing as he failed to get out of Q1 in qualifying and was unable to finish the race, a fate that his team-mate Charles Leclerc also suffered.