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‘I can’t say no’ – Vettel refuses to rule out F1 comeback after 2022 retirement

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Sebastian Vettel has admitted that there is a chance he could reverse the retirement he recently initiated and make a return to the F1 grid in the future, saying he “can’t exclude” the possibility.

Vettel, a four-time world champion and 53-time Grand Prix winner, decided to bring his career to an end at the conclusion of the 2022 season, following a two-year stint with Aston Martin.

READ MORE: Krack says Aston Martin ‘100%’ considered asking Vettel to replace injured Stroll as he reveals how 4-time champ reacted to improved form

At 36, he is more than half a decade younger than the most senior driver on the current F1 grid, 42-year-old Fernando Alonso, while it was recently confirmed that Lewis Hamilton will be racing into his 40s after he penned a new deal.

Asked in an interview with Sky Sports if he could follow names such as Alain Prost, Niki Lauda, Nigel Mansell, Kimi Raikkonen and Alonso in returning to F1 after a break, Vettel said: “I can’t say no, because you don’t know.

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Vettel called time on his F1 career at the end of the 2022 campaign

“I think it's something that if you asked all of them, probably some of them would have said, ‘No’, and some of them, ‘I don’t know’, but in the end all of them came back, so I can’t exclude it.

“It probably will depend much on when, and obviously it’s not endless, because at 36 it’s not like, ‘Yeah, in 10 years’ time, maybe I think about it’, then time has passed.

READ MORE: ‘He's a great people person’ – Team bosses back Vettel to return in F1 management role in the future

“It will depend on the challenge, whatever, but it’s not in my head right now. I’m enjoying the sort of outlook of the challenge of what to do next.”

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Pushed on whether he’s been staying race fit since walking away from F1, Vettel said: “Yeah, but because I want to, not because I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to come back’, or if somebody falls out I’m going to [replace them], not because of that.”

He added: “I guess my neck [strength] is not up to speed, no, it can’t be, but everything else is pretty good, I would say.”

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Vettel made the comments on his return to an F1 cockpit at the Red Bull Formula Nurburgring event over the weekend, driving his 2011 championship-winning RB7 around the legendary Nordschleife circuit.

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