Vettel says he would ‘seriously consider’ one-off F1 return to favorite Suzuka track as he describes emotions ahead of final Japanese GP

Sebastian Vettel knows he’s on something of a farewell tour, as he prepares to retire from F1 at the end of 2022. But the German driver seemed particularly emotional ahead of what will be his final Japanese Grand Prix… for now, at least.

Suzuka will go down in history as one of Vettel’s happiest hunting grounds in F1, with the four-time champion claiming five pole positions and four wins here – while also claiming the second of those four championships in the 2011 race.

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Speaking ahead of the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix, Vettel was asked what he will miss on the iconic Japanese circuit.

“Well, I’ve always liked the track,” replied the Aston Martin driver, who will be replaced in the team by Fernando Alonso next year. “I think it’s my favorite track on the calendar.

“From the first year, it’s a special place. For me, just the layout of the turns, the first sector, it’s emblematic, it’s a figure eight track, the only one we have. In addition, the atmosphere, the attention that sport receives when you come here, it’s crazy so yes, full of very beautiful memories.

“I haven’t thought about the other races – I know it will be my last time, but here it’s a bit different in a way. I look forward to the sessions we will have and the race on Sunday.

Vettel has yet to announce what racing plans, if any, will feature in his future once the checkered flag flies in Abu Dhabi on November 20. a reserve driver role in F1 in the coming seasons – for at least one Grand Prix…

“I don’t know, never say never,” Vettel said. “I mean it’s a great track for a couple of reasons. Who knows what the future holds, I don’t know. Obviously I love to drive and I think around this circuit I always felt alive and the passion… feels alive, so we’ll see what kind of car in the future will come.

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“Perhaps one of [the F1 drivers] in the future will feel sick – I don’t wish them to feel that way, but I wouldn’t mind coming back for a race at Suzuka anytime. We’ll see what the future holds – at the moment I have no plans.

Asked if he was serious, Vettel added: “If anyone is happy to sign a driver for just one race, that’s something I would seriously consider!”

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