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Sebastian Vettel Q&A: I've a mountain to climb at Ferrari

20 Nov 2014

The worst kept secret in the F1 paddock was finally confirmed on Friday with news that Sebastian Vettel has signed a three-year deal to race for Ferrari from next season. Able to speak openly about his new challenge for the first time, Vettel gave us an exclusive interview in which he shares his thoughts on that Maranello magic, his chances of returning the Scuderia to the front of the grid, and his emotions on leaving Red Bull…

Q: Sebastian, the cat is officially out of the bag: you will be racing for Ferrari next season. It took Michael Schumacher four years to get them back on the road to success - are you that patient? It is no secret that patience is probably not your biggest virtue…

Sebastian Vettel: I think you will have to look around very carefully to come across a patient race driver. Patience is not something that is heavily developed in race drivers! (laughs) I know that there is a mountain of work waiting for me - and that is part of the task that I have chosen. And that is the part that I am very much looking forward to. I think if you climb a mountain together, that is a very strong bond, and then ending up successful, that is a fantastic outlook.

Q: What was the decisive factor in your move?

SV: Such a decision you don’t make overnight. This is a huge step that you don’t make without thinking it through from every possible angle. Over recent years there have always been options to move somewhere else, but there was never the real need to take anything into consideration, as I was so very happy at Red Bull. But over the years you feel the need for something new - a new flavour - and then you follow that path. But to make it clear: it was not a decision against Red Bull Racing, but a decision for something new. And, of course, a childhood dream is coming true with it.

Q: Is it really the ultimate ‘must do’ in a driver’s life to race for Ferrari - and win the championship with them?

SV: How should I answer that question? I hope so, yes - of course. It is something special - at least that is the impression I’ve got - even if I am not physically there yet. And every driver who says it is not is probably lying a bit. I do hope that once I get into that red car that this impression stays on, and on. People tell you left and right that winning in a Ferrari is something very special - and yes, I hope that this ‘something very special’ also comes my way.

Q: You just said that it was a childhood dream to race for Ferrari. After all the whispers and secretiveness, how relieved are you to be able to say it out loud: In 2015 I am racing for Ferrari…

SV: I think it was not really a big secret anymore and it had also sunk in with me, but yes, it’s nice to think and say it. I am still very happy with my decision - and I hope that this feeling stays in 2015.

Q: Sunday will be the last race of your time with Red Bull. Is it fair to say that it has been the toughest year of your career so far?

SV: It always depends on the viewpoint. Of course this last race will be something special - it is the end of a long and successful road, so it will be very emotional. And if you take this last race in isolation then it is clear that there have been more successful moments here. This weekend there is not much to lose - and every gain would be fantastic. In the past I have had races here that decided winning or losing that big ‘thing’, so from that perspective the race on Sunday is a bit like a walk in the park. If you take the overall situation this year, yes, it was strenuous. Facing technical problems all the way through the season - that didn’t make life easy. And yes, I did have problems getting warm with the RB10 - and that didn’t make things easier. But that’s life: sometimes you have to face tougher times after four fantastic years. Taking all that bad luck of 2014 into account, the future must be bright again! I am through with bad luck!

Q: After Sunday, how is the immediate future shaping up?

SV: First I thought that I would be in the [Ferrari] car for the [Abu Dhabi] test [next week]. Now I am not and will officially start in Maranello at the beginning of next year.