Fans were heartbroken when Formula One driver Sebastian Vettel announced that he would be retiring from the sport on July 28, 2022. Previously, rumors of Sebastian and Aston Martin renewing his deal to race for them had been floating around, but it seems as though all negotiations have ended with his announcement.
So, who will replace Sebastian Vettel racing for Aston Martin? There is one slot available on the team for the 2023 season. Here are our best guesses, thoughts, and theories about who could serve as his replacement.
Why is Sebastian Vettel retiring from F1?
The 35-year-old four-time World Champion has raced for Red Bull, Ferrari, and now Aston Martin. Sebastian shocked the racing world with his announcement, but cited wanting to spend more time with his family as a top priority, per Express UK.
Sebastian said, "The decision to retire has been a difficult one for me to take, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about it; at the end of the year, I want to take some more time to reflect on what I will focus on next; it is very clear to me that, being a father, I want to spend more time with my family."
He added, "But today is not about saying goodbye. Rather, it is about saying thank you — to — not least to the fans, without whose passionate support Formula One could not exist."
So, who will replace Sebastian for Aston Martin?
Aston Martin has not chosen a replacement for Sebastian yet, but fans have theories about who would be equipped to take his place on the team. The decision will ultimately fall to team owner and former world champion Lawrence Stroll, who will likely seek input from team principal Mike Krack, chief technical officer Andy Green, sporting director Andy Stevenson, and performance director Tom McCullough.
The number one fan suggestion to replace Sebastian so far has seemingly been reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg. An available, experienced driver, Nico could easily sign a one-year contract with Aston Martin after working so well with them in the past.
Another alternative is driver Fernando Alonso. Not only is Fernando a fellow world champion and experienced driver in his own right, but he has a built-in audience. However, Fernando does have a reputation of looking out only for himself, which clashes with what Lawrence might be looking for in a teammate.
Many have also suggested Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo to replace Sebastian Vettel. Daniel is currently under contract with McLaren, but he is also an experienced driver and a race winner in 2021.
Finally, fans have also theorized fellow Aston Martin reserve driver Nyck de Vries could be a good candidate to replace Sebastian. Nyck is arguably a rookie, but maybe some new, younger blood is what the team needs to drive to success.
Fans will have to wait and see what Lawrence Stroll decides! In the meantime, Sebastian will complete the 2022 racing season as a member of the Aston Martin team.