Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, who retired at the end of the 2022 F1 season, has hinted at a potential return to the sport in 2025.

The unexpected development comes amidst a driver market shakeup with Lewis Hamilton’s move to Ferrari and a vacancy opening at Mercedes.

The 36-year-old German driver suggested to Sky Sports on Wednesday that he was keeping an open mind about the possibility of returning to the grid.

While acknowledging his initial intention to stay retired, he left the door ajar, stating that he was “potentially” interested in a return to the fray.

“Potentially I am because I haven’t got a drive, but the question is, am I looking for one? I think it depends on the package,” he said.

“I retired from Formula 1 not to come back, but I also did say that you never know. So I think it still stands.”

Asked what he missed about F1, Vettel said: “The thrill, the speed, the competition mostly. Driving quick is not the only thing, but it’s really the competition.”

Last week, Vettel donned his helmet and overalls for a full-scale test in Spain with Porsche Penske Motorsport as part of the manufacturer’s preparations for next June’s Le Mans 24 Hours, where Vettel could join the line-up of a third PPM hypercar entry.

Queried after the test on whether he had communicated with Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff regarding a potential return to Grand Prix racing, Vettel – who is three years younger than Lewis Hamilton – was evasive but admitted talking on a regular basis to Wolff.

“You never know where life is taking you, so maybe it takes me back behind the wheel, maybe it doesn’t,” Vettel told Sky.

“I’ve had conversations with him [Wolff], not really about the seat. We did speak about the whole situation in short as well.

“But I did speak to others as well because I’m still keeping in touch every now and then. I have some projects and ideas together with F1. We’ll see if they will turn out or not.

“So I am staying in touch. I don’t know. It has to be a couple more phone calls and conversations, I guess, to really find out a little bit more. But for sure it’s one of the best seats on the grid.”

While Vettel’s future remains uncertain, one thing is clear: he isn’t content with simply staying on the sidelines.

Whether he returns as a driver, pursues a role within F1, or embarks on a new racing adventure, his passion for motorsport continues to burn brightly.

The coming months will likely reveal Vettel’s next chapter, and fans eagerly await to see if it involves a return to the pinnacle of motorsports.

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