Sebastian Vettel has completed his first test with Ferrari today in Italy ahead of his move to the team for the 2015 Formula 1 season.
The four-time F1 world champion confirmed ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that he would be moving to Ferrari for 2015 after six seasons with Red Bull, replacing the McLaren-bound Fernando Alonso.
Much to Vettel’s frustration, his bid to test with Ferrari in Abu Dhabi earlier this week was blocked by Red Bull, but he still made an appearance in the team’s garage to get to know his new engineers and teammates.
In-keeping with the FIA regulations on testing, Ferrari fielded a two-year old car at its private Fiorano test track today, giving Vettel a first chance to run for the Italian marque.
After completing some sighter laps in a Ferrari 458 Speciale GT car, Vettel got behind the wheel of the Ferrari F2012 to complete his first F1 test for the prancing horse, complete with his designated #5 on top of his helmet. A message on his lid also read: “My first day with Ferrari, 29/11/2014” in Italian.
Vettel is set to officially leave Red Bull at the beginning of next month, and will undertake his first running in a 2015-spec Ferrari at the first winter test in Jerez in February.
His arrival at Maranello sparks the beginning of a very new era for the team following a series of changes across the course of 2014. The old establishment has been ushered out gradually this year, with Stefano Domenicali, Marco Mattiacci, Luca di Motezemolo and Fernando Alonso all heading for the exit.
Vettel will be at the heart of the planned revival at Maranello following six seasons without a championship, and this early test shows that everything is being done to incorporate the German into the Ferrari fold as quickly as possible.
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.