What if Sebastian Vettel hadn’t retired?

Sebastian Vettel’s announcement that he was set to retire from Formulation 1 on the finish of the 2022 season set off an enormous foolish season chain response.

In late July, four-time Formulation 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel introduced that the 2022 season could be his final, regardless of earlier studies that he was working with Aston Martin on a deal to return for at the very least one other season.

Whereas dropping a four-time world champion and the game’s third winningest driver of all-time was big information in itself, this announcement’s impact on foolish season continues to be felt as the motive force lineup is slowly however certainly pieced collectively for 2023.

Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, a two-time world champion himself, determined to signal with Aston Martin as Vettel’s substitute alongside Aston Martin.

Alpine believed that they might promote reserve driver Oscar Piastri to take Alonso’s place, however he had already signed with McLaren to switch Daniel Ricciardo. Alpine stay in quest of a substitute for Alonso.

So what if Vettel had determined to return for one more yr?

If that had been the case, Alpine’s lineup doubtless would have been set with Alonso and Esteban Ocon, who has been underneath contract with the workforce via 2024 since final yr.

Whereas Piastri had been rumored to affix Williams on mortgage from Alpine, with the Enstone outfit initially eager to maintain Alonso, the truth that Piastri is ready to affix McLaren doubtless wouldn’t have modified, because it was revealed that he signed with them effectively earlier than Vettel’s retirement was revealed.

He did so underneath the impression that Alpine have been going to maintain Alonso. Had Vettel’s retirement been introduced earlier and Alonso’s departure adopted go well with at the moment, maybe Piastri would have remained with Alpine.

However had it not been introduced in any respect, Piastri would nonetheless be heading to McLaren, with the workforce and Ricciardo certainly set to chop ties a yr earlier than the unique expiration date of their contract.

So not a lot really would have modified right here.

However change might nonetheless be felt all through the remainder of the grid.

The second Alpine was left open, and Pierre Gasly, who had beforehand been confirmed by AlphaTauri for one more season in 2023, ended up being introduced as its driver.

Whereas AlphaTauri, which had additionally re-signed Yuki Tsunoda, had stated that they might solely be keen to permit Gasly to signal elsewhere in the event that they have been capable of land an FIA Tremendous License exemption for IndyCar driver Colton Herta, which didn’t occur, they left open the potential for signing any individual else and thus permitting Gasly to maneuver to Alpine.

This wouldn’t have occurred had Vettel not retired, as Alpine wouldn’t have any open seats.

The change might not cease there, both.

Nyck de Vries, who was initially seen because the “largest loser” within the reported deal that might have despatched Piastri to Williams as Nicholas Latifi’s substitute, in the end landed Gasly’s seat at AlphaTauri following a powerful Formulation 1 debut in Monza rather than Alex Albon at Williams.

Naturally, de Vries had been thought-about for the Williams seat, however with Piastri transferring to McLaren and de Vries going to AlphaTauri, that Williams seat remained and not using a confirmed driver.

De Vries transferring to AlphaTauri as a substitute of Williams additionally wouldn’t have been potential with out Vettel’s retirement.

As a substitute, Williams have been left with an open seat, and whereas Herta becoming a member of Formulation 1 in 2023 is out of the query, the game is ready to get its first American driver in eight years anyway.

Williams junior and Formulation 2 driver Logan Sargeant emerged as a possible substitute for Latifi alongside Albon, and the workforce introduced that, so long as he secured a Tremendous License, he would certainly be the one to get that seat. He ended up securing it.

Except for the Williams seat, the one seat left open on the grid for subsequent yr was Mick Schumacher’s Haas seat, which Nico Hulkenberg is ready to take.

Whereas Vettel stepping away has certainly had large implications on subsequent yr’s grid, these implications don’t particularly pertain to this one.

That being stated, Vettel did, in fact, initially again Schumacher to take his seat at Aston Martin earlier than Alonso signed, however that clearly wouldn’t have occurred in any respect had Vettel not made the choice he made. So Schumacher’s state of affairs was all the time going to be up within the air.

However Vettel’s determination did nonetheless play a slight function in Schumacher’s future, as he too had been rumored as a possible Williams driver for subsequent yr if Sargeant hadn’t been capable of safe his Tremendous License.