Sebastian Vettel says his first contact with the Ferrari Formula One team came several years ago.
"In the winter between 2012 and 2013 I went in secret to Maranello to talk with (Luca di) Montezemolo," Vettel told Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport.
But the German, who has joined the Maranello team from Red Bull, said the first informal "approaches" by then team boss Stefano Domenicali had come as long ago as 2008 - when he raced for Toro Rosso - and again in 2010.
"By the middle of last year, Domenicali was gone but the contact continued with Marco Mattiacci and I spoke again with [former president Luca di] Montezemolo," he added.
"The deal went ahead and I asked the opinion of Sabine Kehm, Michael (Schumacher)'s manager."
Vettel said he had spoken with his friend and seven-time champion Schumacher in the past about one day joining Ferrari.
"A while ago I told him (Schumacher) about the possibility offered by Domenicali and he said that if I agreed I would find a nice atmosphere and a great enthusiasm in Maranello," he said.