Sebastian Vettel admitted that the thought of retiring from Formula 1 has crossed his mind, but made it clear that he remains in the sport because of his "love for racing" and not to fill his coffers or use it as a platform. The German is contracted to the Aston Martin Racing Team until the end of the 2022 season, and his results next campaign will likely decide his future in the sport.

Vettel is considered among the greats of F1, having claimed four straight Drivers' championship titles during his time with Red Bull Racing. However, it has not been plain sailing for the German racer since he quit the Austrian team to join Ferrari.

The 34-year-old had a fair amount of success with the Italian team, but he failed to win a title despite having a car able to challenge Lewis Hamilton in 2018. He has since quit the Maranello team and spent a season fighting in the midfield with Aston Martin in 2021.

Vettel's recent struggles have prompted questions about the German retiring from the sport, but he has dispelled suggestions that he will walk away before the 2022 season. The four-time champ says that the "fire in his soul" is still burning.

"Of course, you sometimes ask yourself some questions," Vettel said, as quoted on The Sportsrush. "I would be lying if I said that thought hadn't crossed my mind yet. But I don't just keep racing to deliver a certain message. If I did, I wouldn't be honest with myself."

"If I don't have the motivation or the ambition to succeed, if I keep racing just to carry a message or pump my bank accounts, it's a betrayal to the generation that comes after us that dreams of racing here now," he added. "I can finally sort things out even when I leave Formula 1. But the fire in my soul is still burning."

Vettel will be hoping to have a more competitive car under him next season after struggling to put his Aston Martin within the points in 2021. The German racer, however, did secure a podium finish at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix when he finished second behind Sergio Perez.

Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel quit Ferrari and joined Aston Martin in 2021 Dan Istitene/GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA