Sebastian Vettel was only convinced to sign for Ferrari after the intervention of a personal phone call from Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne and Michael Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm.

After six years - and four world titles - with Red Bull, Vettel embarks on a new chapter in his career as he prepares to start the 2015 Formula 1 season 'in scarlet' as a Scuderia Ferrari driver.

Vettel's approach came about following Fernando Alonso's decision to negotiate out of his contract and leave the team, the Spaniard - who had been with the Scuderia for five season - eventually penning a new deal to return to McLaren for the 2015 season.

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However, though Vettel's decision to join Ferrari was anticipated when it became clear he was leaving Red Bull and Alonso was set to exit Ferrari, Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said he still needed convincing before putting pen to paper and subsequently sought out Kehm to give him advice following Schumacher's 11 successful seasons there.

"Normally the team principal is never involved in the driver choice. In the case of Vettel, we were both aware when we were told officially that Fernando was leaving the team around Sochi and the name of Vettel was going around but the situation was unclear. I put a phone call in to a person I know and that he knows very well - it's Sabine Kehm, the manager of Michael.

"Sabine called Sebastian. Sebastian had some doubt, he was asking 'what about Ferrari, I don't know the team'. Sabine described the atmosphere that she found at the time of Michael and said it's a great team, it's like a family and Seb was listening.

However, Arrivabene says it was a subsequent phone call from Marchionne himself that would ultimately convince Vettel to join Ferrari.

"The phone which made the difference after this phone call was from Sergio Marchionne. Without that phone call Sebastian would probably not be here with us. This is the truth."

Arrivabene also praised the hard work going on behind the scenes by Ferrari engineers to bring the team up to standard following a difficult season in 2014, saying they were listening to the sound of the engine, rather than Jingle Bells, over Christmas.

"First point. The car is a Ferrari car, it belongs to the people who were working very hard for the last few months to do certain modifications and make sure the car was performing better than last year. Second point, James Allison was good at developing the team. Simone Resta started working the day after my employment like a dog!

"The same for the guys at the engine - at Christmas, instead of listening to 'Jingle Bells' they were listening to the sound of the engine. That's the truth, that's the truth story of the car and the story of Seb. These are the facts. Someone asked and this is the answer - the real one, not the fake one."


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i tell you . .vettel was fed up with red bull, alone drinking this stuff for over 13 years .. (justs like hamilton at mcl) .. in 2013 i allready told you all here "if vettle has no chance to beat schumachers consecutive 5 wdc with red bull he will leave" ...

that is what has happend .. new car was a mess in the beginning ... and blown diffusor champion vettel fell into a pit..

i'm sure ferrari will wake him up ...