The Aston Martin F1 has announced that four-time F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel will retire at the end of the 2022 season.
Vettel's distinguished career as a Grand Prix driver has unfolded over sixteen seasons during which the 35-year-old has collected 53 wins and four world titles.
The German made his F1 debut at the 2007 United States Grand Prix with BMW-Sauber, a one-off race with the Swiss outfit that later led to a mid-season drive with Toro Rosso.
In 2008, Vettel became at 21 years and 73 days the sports' youngest winner when he triumphed with Toro Rosso in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, a success that sealed his promotion to senior outfit Red Bull Racing the following year.
Vettel's world crowns were all won with the Milton Keynes-based outfit in consecutive seasons, from 2010 to 2013.
In 2015, the German enjoyed a high-profile move to Ferrari, but Vettel's tenure with the Scuderia, while it included 14 wins, did not yield a world title.
Vettel opted for a change of scenery at the start of 2021 with a move to Lawrence Stroll's Aston Martin outfit. Although the team's restructuring offered promises of a bright future, Vettel's stagnant performances in the F1's midfield likely eroded his motivation.
"I have had the privilege of working with many fantastic people in Formula One over the past 15 years - there are far too many to mention and thank," said Vettel in a statement released on Thursday by his team.
"Over the past two years I have been an Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One™ Team driver - and, although our results have not been as good as we had hoped, it is very clear to me that everything is being put together that a team needs to race at the very highest level for years to come.
"I have really enjoyed working with such a great bunch of people. Everyone - Lawrence, Lance, Martin, Mike, the senior managers, the engineers, the mechanics and the rest of the team - is ambitious, capable, expert, committed and friendly, and I wish them all well.
"I hope that the work I did last year and am continuing to do this year will be helpful in the development of a team that will win in the future, and I will work as hard as I can between now and the end of the year with that goal in mind, giving as always my best in the last 10 races.
"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.
"But today is not about saying goodbye. Rather, it is about saying thank you - to everyone - not least to the fans, without whose passionate support Formula One could not exist."
Vettel's exit from Formula 1 obviously opens up a seat at Aston Martin for 2023.
Speculation of late has led to suggestions that Mick Schumacher - Vettel's protégé - could be a prime candidate for the spot, but Lawrence Stroll might also be tempted to make a generous offer to Fernando Alonso as the Alpine driver's contract with the French outfit expires at the end of the year.
Watch this space...