Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

He's gone all red! // Sebastian Vettel begins his Ferrari odyssey

Published by Christine

Sebastian Vettel was spotted loitering at the back of the Ferrari garage during the two-day test in Abu Dhabi last week, but now the four times world champion has made his official debut with the Scuderia - driving an old F2012 around Fiorano.

Completing nearly 100 laps, the German was certainly put to work on his first day with the team, but it looks like they all gelled together nicely.

As with many drivers that get to experience time with Ferrari, Vettel finds himself a little nostalgic at how far he's come. "It's been a fantastic day to come here. I've been here a long time ago as a little child, driving through Maranello and trying to look over the fence, so to be here as part of the team felt fantastic."

Fernando Alonso had a very similar reaction when he was first signed to the Scuderia, proclaiming that he would end his F1 career there, that it was every driver's dream to wind up driving for the red team, and that the prancing horse was a badge of honour. He probably didn't feel quite the same attachment after repeatedly finishing in sixth place.

Such reverence for one specific team is something that confuses me. Having watched Formula One for just over ten years, Ferrari have rarely appeared a desirable team to drive for. They've won a handful of constructor's championships, but Vettel isn't going to be that interested in those. Kimi Räikkönen's sole title victory was achieved only after considerable controversy, and of late, the team have had to move heaven and earth just to finish in the top three. This past season was their first without a race win since 1993 - not exactly a squad on top form.

Vettel presses the right buttons at Ferrari
Credit: Ferrari S.p.A.

Of course, if the desire to drive for the prancing horse is strong, then the idea of turning the team's fortunes around must be even stronger. If anyone has the belief that they can bring the squad back to the forefront of Formula One, it must be a man with four consecutive world championships behind him.

It's undoubtedly going to be quite a change after his long association with Red Bull. Ferrari are much more relaxed now than they used to be, but still aren't exactly known to be fun-loving, where Red Bull may have been. It'll be a tough transition for the easy-going, constantly helmet-changing, slightly cheeky man to fit in with the stricter team. Plus, they're a little bit brighter than he's used to.

To be here officially as part of the team felt fantastic. Obviously it's a very different colour for me - everybody is dressed in red, everything is red - but it's really something special and I'm very much looking forward to the challenge that we took on for the next years.

Regardless of the recent results, the potential for a culture clash, and all that red, it is the mystery and aura that Ferrari have surrounding them that attracted Vettel there, and after one day's work, it still remains.

There are a lot of fairy tales about Ferrari and how it feels to drive a red car. In the end I can only confirm these fairytales. It's not just a story, it's a true legend that exists and it feels really, really special to become part of that, and to be inside the car, to see the people coming, running to the track and trying to climb the walls to see the car. There is definitely something very magical - and something that happened today which I will never forget.

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Credit: Ferrari S.p.A.