Sebastian Vettel says he may explore his engineering interest when he stops racing, having planned to study at university before committing to racing and winning four Formula 1 titles.
The interrupted 2020 F1 season should be the final year of Vettel’s current Ferrari contract but he is in discussions with his team about extending his career.
Vettel first earned Red Bull’s support when he was just 11, made his grand prix debut as a 19-year-old in the 2007 United States Grand Prix and became the youngest points finisher in F1 history, then went on to win four world titles with Red Bull.
The 32-year-old has driven for Ferrari since 2015, and answered questions from fans in a video shared by the team on Saturday during F1’s coronavirus-enforced hiatus – including one about whether he would pursue engineering career when he finished racing.
“Before I started professionally, and before I started my career, when I finished high school, I was planning to go to university and study mechanical engineering,” Vettel said. “So, probably, it is something that I can think of.
“I’ve developed a lot of other interests in the meantime, but still it’s always something that fascinates me – to know and understand how things work.
“I like to understand the stuff happening in our car, around our car development, and how it all comes together.
“So it could be something for the future.”
Hi Guys! Here are Seb’s answers to your questions 📝 😊
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) March 28, 2020
Ferrari hopes to conclude contract negotiations with Vettel swiftly, and Sky Sports Italy claims Vettel has been offered a reduced salary to sign a short-term extension for 2021.
Vettel has previously indicated his desire to stay in F1 longer-term will be influenced by the new technical rules that are set to be introduced.
These have been delayed from 2021 to 2022, so if he only signs a short-term deal he may need to earn another contract before he gets to experience the new cars.
Negotiations now are taking place without strong on-track performances to strengthen Vettel’s hand, and his last two seasons have been blighted by errors.
But in response to a question on what he would tell his younger self prior to starting in F1, Vettel insisted any setbacks have helped him improve.
“I wouldn’t like to give any advice [to myself],” Vettel said. “I think everything that happened, happened for a reason.
“Obviously I’m very lucky and fortunate, having had the career I had so far, and I don’t think I’d be interested in any shortcuts.
“Even if there were difficult times I think you always have the ability to come out stronger.”
Vettel was also asked what advice he would give during the COVID-19 outbreak.
He indicated he was not the person to give official guidance, but said: “Take care of yourself. Take care of other people, especially older people.
“Keep your distance. Wash your hands. Respect other people and respect the situation.
“Don’t take it too lightly, take it seriously and be responsible.”