At the preview of the Hungarian GP and now in the anteroom of the F1 summer break, 4-times-World Champion Sebastian Vettel announced his retirement from the category at the end of the season.
A remarkable career that reached its peak in the early 2010s with Red Bull, the German driver leaves Formula 1 with 53 wins under his belt (38 with Red Bull) and four World Championships with the Milton-Keynes-based team. Christian Horner, who got to appreciate Vettel’s times of major success as Team Principal, spoke to Sky Sports at the Hungaroring on the 35-year-old's announcement and his experience working alongside the third most triumphant F1 driver in history.
“I was sad to see that announcement, on one hand, but on the other, I think the timing is right for him.”
“You know, he was a massive part of our team,” Horner said.
“We had so many special moments, those four World Championships, and there were days that he was just in a league of his own. What he's achieved is quite outstanding, and, just wish him all the very best.”
Having achieved anything possible at Red Bull, in 2015 the German decided to take the next step in his career and raced for six years for the Scuderia Ferrari. From 2015 to 2020, his efforts didn’t grant him the success he was used to at Red Bull, and Christian Horner was questioned whether that decision can be classified now as a “mistake” from Vettel’s side at that time.
“No, at that time I don't think it was. We weren't in a competitive position then.”
“Mercedes had a massive advantage, Ferrari looked like they were on the ascendancy, Renault didn't look like they were going to get themselves sorted out anytime soon. So no, we couldn't compete with it, it was the right thing at that point in time for him.”
“He had a desire to follow in the footsteps of Michael Schumacher. And you know, the lure of Ferrari for him was, at that time, that we couldn't offer a competitive car. It was sad, but fully understandable.”
Ver esta publicación en Instagram
“He was a pleasure to work with, he was committed. He was unrelenting in his pursuit of performance, probably the hardest working driver I’ve ever come across, and beyond that, just a really nice guy,” Horner continued.
“Hopefully for a safe last 10 races in the sport and enjoyable 10 races. He's very much a family man, a man of principles as well. And, just wishing him all the best for the future.”