Formula One: Vettel mulls life after F1 amid Aston Martin's slow start to season

Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel is seen after the Emilia Romagna grand prix in Italy. PHOTO: REUTERS

MIAMI (AFP) - Sebastian Vettel is not prepared to settle for second best as he contemplates the final chapter of his storied career.

The German legend, speaking to AFP ahead of this weekend's Miami Grand Prix, is contemplating his future, with his Aston Martin car failing to challenge the likes of Ferrari and former team Red Bull after a disappointing start to the 2022 campaign.

Four-time world champion Vettel last won a race in Singapore in 2019 and has just four points after missing the first two races of this season after contracting Covid-19.

He didn't finish in Australia but came eighth in Imola two weeks ago.

Vettel, who joined Aston Martin in 2021, has a deal which expires at the end of the current campaign and with the 34-year-old taking an ever increasing interest in environmental and social issues, life after racing is being considered.

The Aston Martin racer, however, isn't prone to panic and certainly won't worry about what lies ahead, both on and off the track.

"I'm interested in winning," Vettel told AFP.

"I haven't made a decision yet about my future but I have been spoiled because I was at the front and I know how it is, and it feels amazing.

"As a team, it's not a secret, we wanted to be at the front, but are now at the back. We're working very, very hard.

"It's just at the back of the field, you have no reward. I didn't mind when I started, but finishing outside of the top 10 isn't what I am here for. I want to win."

Vettel, speaking at Aston Martin Residences in downtown Miami, smiles awkwardly when asked what he expects his legacy will be.

Yet the German, a devoted father-of-three who shuns fame and is enjoying the relative anonymity in the United States where F1 stars are not household names, will go down as one of the greats.

Competitive spirit

His first title in 2010 saw him become the youngest world champion in history and began a run of four successive world championships.

"I don't give too much thought about legacies," said Vettel who will be keeping in touch with his beloved Eintracht Frankfurt's attempt to reach the Europa League final on Thursday while he prepares for F1's first foray in south Florida.

"In the end it only matters what I feel."

Sebastian Vettel (right) is followed by Haas' Mick Schumacher and Alpha Tauri's Yuki Tsunoda (left) during the Emilia Romagna grand prix in Italy. PHOTO: AFP

That said, however, Vettel remains a natural born competitor which makes his pain with Aston Martin worsen with every race disappointment.

"There will be that competitive spirit in everything else that I do. If I cook I want it to be perfect. And I'm disappointed that it's not and then start thinking how can it be perfect?

"I set the expectation bar so high. I don't have a feeling that I am not driving as good as I used to. I have evolved a lot and my experience helps me not stress about certain things."

Vettel's desire to help make a difference away from the day job of F1 has seen him picking up litter after the British Grand Prix last summer while also working on creating a new habitat for bees in Switzerland.

"I've got plenty of interests but with the environment, I cannot understand how somebody can not be interested in that," he said.

"It concerns all of us in our futures."

Vettel's love for high octane exhilaration remains although one career path has already been firmly blocked off.

"I may stay in racing but maybe not straight away," he admitted.

"It's what I love so you never know. But I'm not going to be a TV expert. No, no."

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