The Ferrari Owners’ Club
of Great Britain

Another High-Profile Sacking

24-11-2014

The casualty list at the F1 team continues to grow.  After engine guru Marmorini, team principal Stefano Domenicali, and then Luca de Montezemolo himself, comes news that after only eight months in the job Marco Mattiacci has been shown the door at Maranello. Brought in amidst much fanfare in April, Mattiacci has shown little progress in turning around the ailing team. His replacement is the ex-Philip Morris executive Maurizio Arrivabene. This is how the website of Deutsche Welle reported the story:

 

Maurizio Arrivabene is the latest Ferrari team principal

Maurizio Arrivabene is the latest Ferrari team principal

Ferrari might not have won a Formula One race in 2014, for the first time since the 1993 season, but the team certainly has not lacked for high-profile sackings. Swapping Fernando Alonso for Sebastian Vettel in the lead cockpit for 2015 is but a drop in the ocean, compared to this year’s commotion behind the scenes.

The CEO of parent company Fiat Chrysler, Sergio Marchionne, who is also the chairman and president of Ferrari since Luca di Montezemolo’s resignation immediately after the Italian Grand Prix, said in a statement on Monday that Marco Mattiachi would be replaced by Maurizio Arrivabene (pictured).

Mattiachi had only taken up the role at short notice in April, when former team boss Stefano Domenicali faced the chop. Mattiachi was formerly Ferrari North America’s chief executive and president.

Arrivabene joins from Ferrari’s banner sponsor Philip Morris, which curiously is not allowed to display the Marlboro logo on the cars because of tobacco sponsorship rules, but continues to reserve the space historically dedicated to its products’ logos, on the Ferraris’ engine covers. Arrivabene has represented all Formula 1 sponsors on the F1 commission since 2010 and is also an independent board member at Juventus football club.

Marchionne said that the team and F1 needed “a person with a thorough understanding not just of Ferrari but also of the governance mechanisms and requirements of the sport.”

“Maurizio has a unique wealth of knowledge: he has been extremely close to the Scuderia for years and, as a member of the F1 Commission, is also keenly aware of the challenges we are facing,” Marchionne said. “He has been a constant source of innovative ideas focused on revitalization of Formula One. His managerial experience on a highly complex and closely regulated market is also of great importance.”

As well as the departures of di Montezemolo, and team bosses Domenicali then Mattiachi, Ferrari also cut ties with long-serving F1 engine division director Luca Marmorini during the course of this season. The major changes to F1’s engine regulations in 2014 have been highlighted as a key contributor to the difficulties of the scarlet cars with their Prancing Horse emblems. In a season dominated not only by the Mercedes works team, but also by other Mercedes-powered privateer outfits like Williams, Ferrari’s new era hybrid power plant has rarely managed to keep pace.

Lead driver of the past five years, Fernando Alonso, could only manage sixth in the drivers’ standings this season, failing to win a race for the first time in any of his seasons with the Scuderia. The Spaniard finished only ninth in Sunday’s season finale in Abu Dhabi, losing out to Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel in a three-way fight for fourth in 2014.

The two-time champ now departs for pastures unknown (read: McLaren with its new Honda engines, once official confirmation finally rolls in) in 2015, with German four-time champion Sebastian Vettel taking his place. Alonso and Ferrari’s last win was relatively early in the 2013 season, at the Spanish Grand Prix. Vettel and Alonso fought down to the very last race in both 2010 and 2012, but both times the German Red Bull driver pinched the title from under Ferrari’s nose. Vettel has waved off questions about the timing of his move, joining a Ferrari in turmoil both on and off the track.

“I know that there is a mountain of work waiting for me, and that is part of the task that I have chosen,” Vettel said after Sunday’s race. “I think if you climb a mountain together, that is a very strong bond, and then ending up successful, that is a fantastic outlook.”