Four-time world champion Vettel called time on his illustrious F1 career at the end of the 2022 season following a difficult two-year spell with Aston Martin. 

He was subsequently replaced by two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, who has excelled at the Silverstone-based outfit following an incredible transformation over the winter. 

When asked by Martin Brundle if he could see himself returning to F1 after a hiatus, similar to the likes of Alonso, Nigel Mansell and Kimi Raikkonen, Vettel told Sky: “I can’t say no, because that you don’t know. 

“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.”

Vettel turned 36 in July but is still younger than both Lewis Hamilton (38) and Alonso (42). 

“It probably will depend much on when, and obviously it’s not endless, because 36 is not like, ‘yeah in 10 years’ time’,” Vettel continued. 

“Maybe I think about it then time has passed but it will depend on the challenge, whatever, but it’s not in my head right now.

“And I’m enjoying the sort of outlook of the challenge of what to do next. It will be the way I see it, the biggest challenge for any racing driver and the biggest challenge for any sportsman, sportswoman, what do you do after?

“Because naturally you will be like 30-35, 40-45 – depending on your sport and discipline. And then what?

“There’s a lot of life left and life can be great even though you’re not racing, you know, the absolute limit in the fastest car in the world, but you can still do lots of great things that give you great pleasure.”

Asked if he feels race-ready, Vettel replied: “Yeah, but because I want to, not because I’m like, come back or if somebody falls out I’m going to [step in], not because of that.

“But so I guess my neck is not up to speed. No, it can’t be, but everything else is pretty, pretty good, I would say.”