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Sebastian Vettel checked on new team Ferrari's progress at Abu Dhabi test

Outgoing Red Bull driver arrived in new team's garage

Sebastian Vettel made a surprise first appearance in the Ferrari garage on the opening day of the post-season Abu Dhabi test.

The outgoing Red Bull driver, whose expected 2015 switch to Maranello in place of Fernando Alonso was finally confirmed at last week’s final round, isn’t driving for Ferrari on either of the two days at the Yas Marina circuit after his existing employers didn’t grant him an early release.

However, Vettel nonetheless stayed on in the Middle East following Sunday’s season-ending race and on Tuesday morning was pictured in plain clothes taking in the test from the Ferrari garage and meeting some of his new colleagues.

Vettel’s new team-mate Kimi Raikkonen drove the car on the opening day, with Ferrari Academy protege Raffaele Marciello making his F1 testing debut for the team on Wednesday. The team said they will carry out a programme of "development and experimentation with 2015 in mind" across the two days.

Speaking to reporters last weekend, Vettel revealed Red Bull had performed a U-turn over his participation at the test for Ferrari.

"It's a shame because, initially, I was allowed, then I wasn't," he said. "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."

The 27-year-old, whose four-year reign as World Champion ended on Sunday, added to the official F1 website: “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.”

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Red Bull’s post-Vettel era, meanwhile, began in earnest at Tuesday’s test, although it was Carlos Sainz Jr, a contender for a seat at junior team Toro Rosso next season, who was in the RB10. Daniel Ricciardo is taking over the car on the final day.

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