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Vettel F1 Comeback Speculation

Vettel-Wolff Texts Hint at Possible F1 Comeback

01/03/2024

Sebastian Vettel’s exchange with Toto Wolff post-Hamilton’s Ferrari shift sparks speculation on a potential Formula 1 return for the retired champion.

Sebastian Vettel confirmed that he and Mercedes F1 team boss Toto Wolff exchanged text messages following the “surprise” announcement of Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari, yet he is not dismissing the possibility of a Formula 1 comeback as the Austrian suggested.

Hamilton shocked the F1 paddock ahead of the new season by confirming he would join Ferrari for 2025, after one final season with Mercedes, where he clinched six of his seven world championships.

This leaves a huge gap that Mercedes must fill, leading to speculation they might turn to Vettel, a 53-time Grand Prix winner, for the seat.

Wolff told the media that he and Vettel were in “regular contact,” though their conversations “were not about a seat with us,” and he “does not see Seb coming out of retirement.”

Although Vettel has no active plans currently to turn these discussions with Wolff into a pursuit of a return to F1 with Mercedes, he did not say his position would remain that way.

“First of all, I was surprised by Lewis. Toto didn’t call me, but we briefly texted. But so far, it’s not a topic for me, especially because at 36, I still have all the time in the world. So the desire, it doesn’t completely disappear.”

Vettel Contemplates F1 Return Path

“But my omens have not changed. I think I’ve learned and understood a lot during this year without racing, including about myself. Being on the other side has had a huge impact on me, and many questions arose. For now, there are no active plans.”

“So, it’s not an outright no. I had also said at the time that there wouldn’t be a clear no in that sense, because I believe everything is a process. It’s neither yes nor no. And maybe there will come a time when I say: ‘Yes, I’d like to go back.’ When I mentally sort things out, for it to suddenly make sense again.”

“For the moment, however, I feel very good not driving in Formula 1. There’s no outright no, but there’s no outright yes either.”

Vettel had stated his initial plan after retiring from F1 following the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was “to try a detox and not follow F1 on TV,” wary of the feelings he might experience. However, he relented before the qualifying for the 2023 Bahrain season opener and continues to watch F1 alongside his wife.

Vettel’s F1 Detox Ends with Engagement

“I wanted to attempt this detox at the first Grand Prix after my last race. I didn’t really watch the practice session, but just before qualifying, I gave in and tuned in. I also watched the race. It wasn’t as strange a sensation as I had thought previously, watching not being in the car anymore. I then watched a few races throughout the year, or at least the highlights. Because of course, I’m still interested in the sport, even if I’m not as close to it.”

“I watch with my wife and usually comment subconsciously. She says it’s the first time she really understands the sport.”

Update 8PM- The Mercedes team boss responds to Vettel’s approach

“Sebastian is a great guy and a giant in this sport,” Wolff now admits. “I believe he still has the speed. After three or four races, we have to decide whether to go for youth or experience. Or do we optimize in the short term and give the youth more time to gain experience?”

By youth, the Austrian specifically means Mercedes junior Andrea Kimi Antonelli (17), who is competing in Formula 2 this year and finished 14th in the first race in Bahrain.

From a German perspective, test driver Mick Schumacher also plays a role in the reshuffling for 2025, as Wolff confirms: “Mick is also part of it – but almost to the point that I feel sorry for him. Because the entire driver market is open, and he is one of many possible candidates, but not the only one.”

Currently, it doesn’t seem like Schumi junior is particularly favored by the team boss.

Vettel F1 Comeback Speculation. Vettel F1 Comeback Speculation

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