Life after F1 is a challenge that every driver faces at one time or another. Some leave already knowing that they will move sideways into another category of racing. Others slip easily into the role of TV pundit, or perhaps switch their efforts to mentoring a son who shows signs of being a future world champion.
The general rule is that most drivers have been so immersed in motorsport for their entire lives, and have spent so much time at circuits, that they find it hard to stray very far away from the world that they know.
There are some exceptions, however. Carlos Reutemann turned his attention to politics in his native Argentina, while Jody Scheckter avoided racing for years, building up a business empire in the USA before switching to farming in the UK, and following the more familiar route of helping his sons to climb the motor sporting ladder.
It’s obvious that Vettel will not become a couch potato, or hang around at circuits looking lost. He is a workaholic, unable to sit still for long, and his wide-ranging interests in environmental and social issues will open all sorts of doors away from racing.
Should he choose to stay connected to the sport he won’t be short of offers from teams and other organisations.
We can assume that he probably won’t be too excited about taking on a purely ambassadorial role for a manufacturer or sponsor.
However, he’d be a pretty good management or consultant hire for a Porsche or an Audi, if given the opportunity to make a genuine contribution, although he won’t want to spend 24 weekends at races.
Some of his colleagues have made it clear that they’d like him to remain connected to the GPDA, although in Alex Wurz the organisation already has a former driver on board.
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, hugs Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
Speaking in Hungary on Thursday just a few hours after his announcement, Vettel said that he currently has no firm plans.
“The way I’m working is I’m always looking forward to what’s next,” he explained.
“I’ve said earlier today that the best race is still to come, which obviously you could say is bullshit. If I’m stopping, which race is going to come if you’re not racing anymore?
“But I think I’m referring to it in a bigger picture, as in life. And I think for every sportsman and woman probably the biggest challenge is waiting for us once we decide to do other things. So that’s what I’m facing.”
Despite all those outside interests and his desire…