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Four-time Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel has announced that he will retire at the end of the 2022 season, formalizing his plans to bring his career to a close ahead of this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix. Vettel announced his plans to retire in an Instagram post on Thursday.

In a video sharing his plans to retire, the 35-year old German driver cited his desire to spend more time with his family as well as focus on environmental activism.

"Committing to my passion the way I did and the way I think it is right does no longer go side by side with my wish to be a great father and husband," Vettel said. "The energy it takes to become one with the car and the team, to chase perfection takes focus and commitment. My goals have shifted from winning races and fighting for championships to see my children grow, passing on my values, helping them up when they fall, listening to them when they need me.

"Not having to say goodbye, and most importantly, being able to learn from them and let them inspire me. Children are our future, further I feel there is so much to explore and learn about life and about myself."

According to ESPN, Vettel's announcement comes as his current contract with Aston Martin is set to expire at the end of the 2022 season. Vettel has spent the past several years in decline, as he's failed to finish in the top ten in the world championship standings in both 2020 and 2021 and currently sits 14th in points this season.

Vettel started his F1 career as a test driver for BMW Sauber, becoming the then-youngest driver to ever participate in a Grand Prix weekend at just 19 years and 53 days old in 2006. Vettel then replaced Scott Speed at Toro Rosso midway through the 2007 season, going full-time F1 racing from that point onwards.

Vettel's greatest success came while driving for Red Bull, as a streak of four consecutive championships from 2010 to 2013 made him one of F1's most prolific drivers of the 2010s. Vettel moved to Ferrari in 2015, where he finished runner-up in the world championship in both 2017 and 2018.

Vettel's 53 Grand Prix victories currently rank third all-time in F1 history, while his four world championships are tied with Alain Prost for the fourth-most in history. Vettel's four championships trail only Juan Manuel Fangio's five titles and the all-time record of seven currently held by both Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.