1ST DAY OUT: Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel wears a helmet with the words, 'My first day at Ferrari' and Saturday's date (Nov 29 2014), as he steers a 2012 F2012 car at Ferrari's private Fiorano circuit, Italy. Image: AP / Marco Vasini
MARANELLO, Italy - Sebastian Vettel has wasted no more time before kicking off his Ferrari career after his disappointment a week earlier when former team Red Bull refused to let him drive the Italian team's 2014 car during post-F1 race Abu Dhabi testing.
On Saturday (Nov 29 2014), at Ferrari's Fiorano test circuit adjacent to the Maranello factory, Vettel made his test debut in a two-year-old Ferrari F2012 while wearing a special white helmet bearing, in Italian, the words 'My first day at Ferrari'.
Mercedes' team chairman Niki Lauda told Bild newspaper: "A test like that gives you nothing it's just for show."
Indeed, conditions were not ideal as light rain was falling, but Vettel had still to meet his new engineers and bosses and try Ferrari's state-of-the-art driver simulator.
And unlike the previous week, when Helmut Marko said Vettel's appearance in the Ferrari pits was technically a breach of contract, the Red Bull official said the early test in the V8 F2012 was "completely legitimate".
Marko told Sport Bild: "I would have done the same. He starts as soon as possible to work with the Ferrari engineers and familiarise himself with the procedures."
Italy's Autosprint said Vettel also began working with his new race engineer Riccardo Adami, who has switched from Toro Rosso where he worked with the 27-year-old driver in 2008.
Piero Ferrari, the son of Enzo, said: "I'm really optimistic and hope we can give Sebastian (Vettel) a competitive car. If he does not win, it will be about our equipment, not about him."
New Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton, however, does not sound overly worried that Vettel in a red car will be a major competitor at least initially in 2015.
Hamilton was quoted by Bild am Sonntag newspaper as saying: "Ferrari as a team is going through a difficult time with a lot of ups and downs. All the people coming and going is destabilising. Thank God we (Mercedes) are a very stable team."
Germany's Auto Motor and Sport reported that Ross Brawn would not be returning to Ferrari after president Sergio Marchionne declined to accept the condition that he be installed as the clear team boss.