Outgoing world champion Sebastian Vettel was going to have been allowed to test for his new team next week, only to have the plug pulled on the outing by current employer Red Bull.
Vettel was finally confirmed as a 2015 Ferrari driver ahead of this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but told reporters after qualifying that, having originally been granted permission to run with the Scuderia during next week's post-season group test, had now been informed that the agreement had been revoked.
“It's a shame because, initially, I was allowed, then I wasn't,” the German, who replaces Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari line-up next year, confirmed, “It is what it is but, all of a sudden, something changed.
“As far as I understand, the technical people were panicking a little bit, afraid that I would take some secrets.”
When it was pointed out that he could still disperse his knowledge of goings-on at Red Bull when he is finally allowed to suit up in scarlet next January, Vettel shrugged and sighed.
“Yeh, that's what I said,” he claimed.
The German's afternoon got worse when it was revealed that both Red Bull cars had been disqualified from qualifying at Yas Marina because of suspect front wings [ see separate story
], having previously been due to line up on row three of the grid. Prior to qualifying, Vettel had been reasonably upbeat about his chances of a decent race, only to find the characteristics of the RB10 had changed.
“We seemed to lose the balance compared to practice, and I'm not sure why,” he admitted, “On top of that, we lost some time down the straights, and I don't know why there either.
“We were hoping that the fact that the track cools down would help us and, initially, it did help the power balance of the car but, when everyone seemed to pick up roughly a second, we didn't pick up anything. I was struggling with the rear basically, for the whole lap, much more than we were in practice.”
The exclusion from qualifying will see Vettel and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo start from the back of the grid.