ABU DHABI – Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci has said that the process of signing Sebastian Vettel for 2015 was “very straightforward”, and that he felt impressed by the four-time world champion’s passion for the Italian marque.
After announcing in October that he would be leaving Red Bull at the end of the season, Vettel confirmed on Thursday that he would be joining Ferrari on a three-year deal, replacing the McLaren-bound Fernando Alonso.
Vettel has been associated with the Red Bull brand for over 15 years, enjoying all of his success in F1 under its umbrella. However, he will now follow in Michael Schumacher’s footsteps and join an ailing Ferrari team for 2015, and Mattiacci is excited by the German’s arrival.
“With Sebastian we get one of the youngest world champions ever, four championships,” he said. “I met him personally in the last few months. He is an extremely hard-working guy, humble, disciplined.
“I’m sure he will bring the phenomenal experience that he went through [with] Red bull and the enthusiasm needed to go through certain difficult moments that are waiting for us, but again sharing the overall project that I think is to go back to the top.”
Mattiacci said that negotiations with Vettel were uncomplicated as he explained the long-term vision he has for Ferrari in its bid to return to the top of Formula 1.
“[It was] very straightforward,” he said. “I think I was really impressed with how clever he is, and being an extremely clever person and with great passion for Ferrari.
“I think the arguments have to be solid arguments. That was discussion about the project, the investment, typical when you want to bring in a four-time world champion, you don’t just over-sell, you talk about a few things.”
Mattiacci’s arrival sparked the beginning of a shift at Ferrari, replacing Stefano Domenicali as team principal in April. In September, Luca di Montezemolo resigned as the marque’s president, with Alonso being the third and final big name to depart from Maranello earlier this week.
However, Mattiacci thanked the Spaniard for all of his work with Ferrari over the past five years.
“We need to thank Fernando for all he has done for us, what we have done together over the last five years,” Mattiacci said. “But at the same time, it is clear to everybody that we want both to open new cycles, but it was important to do it with the utmost motivation and commitment.”