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How will Marco Mattiacci succeed as new boss of Ferrari F1 team?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  15 Apr 2014   |  8:14 am GMT  |  168 comments

This weekend in China the new Team Principal of Ferrari, Marco Mattiacci, will be in charge for the first time.

In promoting Mattiacci, the company is taking something of a gamble on one level, as he has very limited knowledge of Formula 1; it’s culture and the complex, difficult people who populate its higher echelons.

He will have to learn quickly not only the politics of the sport, but also the culture of winning, which used to run through the corridors of Maranello in the days of Michael Schumacher, Ross Brawn and Jean Todt and which more recently has pervaded Red Bull in Milton Keynes and now Mercedes in Northampton.

Ferrari is some way from that now, as is McLaren. This is the spirit that Ron Dennis has come back hoping to rekindle.

An F1 team is highly responsive, able to adapt quickly to innovate and to change course as required, but it is also like an oil tanker on another level, as infrastructure can take time to build and hiring top personnel can take up to a year once gardening leave is taken into account. It’s about making a series of right decisions and very few wrong ones.

In promoting Mattiacci to the role, Ferrari has a proven decision maker and leader, who knows the Ferrari and the wider FIAT/Chrysler empire well. Indeed, Mattiaci’s appointment comes after Sergio Marchionne, the Chairman and CEO, Chrysler Group LLC CEO, Fiat S.p.A, visited Maranello last week and the appointment could signal a shift in emphasis, with the race team being brought closer to the seat of power. However, despite Mattiaci’s management credentials  he will have to quickly identify who are the people around him whose voice and opinion he must trust. Running a winning F1 team is about knowing the right moment to invest in CFD, or a new wind tunnel or a new technical director or designer. A team principal is like an orchestra leader who needs to keep the violinists and the brass section at the top of their game at all times. It is a relentless job.

Keeping Fernando Alonso at Maranello will be one of Mattiacci’s first order priorities as the Spaniard has suffered a frustrating five years at the team with no world title to add to the two he won with Renault.

And it’s about giving nothing away to the opposition. Critics of former McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh, for example, would argue that he gave too much time to the task of looking for consensus among teams with FOTA and got distracted from the job of making McLaren unbeatable on track.

Domenicali was a strong boss, a popular character, but not a ruthless leader. Perhaps this was his downfall. He was always earmarked in the Italian succession plan to take over from Jean Todt, who was an utterly ruthless leader and a very effective one. Aldo Costa was earmarked to take over from Brawn and fell well short in that role. But now look at him, as the chief designer at Mercedes, doing what he does best making fast racing cars without the pressure of the technical director role.

These examples prove that success in F1, in sport and indeed business generally, is more about empowering the right people and not over-promoting. It is also about having vision.

Currently Mercedes is well ahead of Ferrari in hybrid ERS technology. This is because they started investing heavily in it six or more years ago, before KERS came into F1 for the first time.

Everything about Mercedes’ current domination of F1 is due to careful long term planning of the kind Mattiacci will now be looking to put in place at Ferrari.

Ferrari has most of what is needed to win in F1; a top technical director in James Allison, good aerodynamicists, great facilities for wind tunnel testing and two world champion drivers.

The engine department has let the side down this year, building a power unit that falls well short of the benchmark Mercedes. This is year one of a new technology and Ferrari will have a chance to improve its engine for the 2015 season. They must take that opportunity and then make sure that Allison and his team produce a chassis that is the equal of Mercedes and Red Bull.

Then they need to think like winners again.


Mattiacci, 43, has been one of the rising stars of Ferrari, first through his work selling cars in China and more recently in the USA, which is Ferrari’s biggest market and where sales are at record levels.

Mattiacci is 43 and has an economics degree from Columbia Business School in New York.

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168 Comments
  1. kenneth chapman says:

    i would very much doubt that he will bw there long term as head honcho. following the latest trend he may stay on covering non race activities while a seasoned campaigner will take over the ‘racing’ role.

    who that will be is anyones guess at the moment. i see that gerhard bergers name has been thrown into the ring. his long time association with ferrari would be a good mix.

    1. Kenneth M'Boy says:

      Hi Kenneth,
      I suggested Berger in the previous article so am happy to see his name now being floated about in the media. He is a prime candidate for a role within Ferrari management, whether it be as Team Principal or as an advisor.

      Personally I feel he would be reluctant to become TP. It’s not a good time to take over Ferrari as the politics will be all over the wall and Berger is too smart a businessman for that. A role similar to Lauda would be appropriate.

      It was interesting to see last year both Berger and Briatore in the Ferrari pit garage at the same race. More than coincidence? Time will tell. Ferrari need a strong and ruthless mind and make DiMontezemelo appear as just a spectator at the races, not a dictator. Therefore TP should be Briatore or Brawn.

      Kenneth.

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        @ kenneth…personally i think that either berger or briatore or both would be good additions to the ferrari team. both of these chaps have skills that appear to be somewhat lacking in the present team although i qualify that as being only a viewpoint from the periphery!

        briatore was a hard taskmaster and he did get some great results. despite the piquet affair dragging him down he seems to able to elicit quite a lot of support. his involvement in that affair was never conclusive for me and i saw it through a larger viewfinder where some got caught up in the wider picture.

        that is now history and a return in some fashion could be just what is needed.

        us ‘K’s’ need to stand together hahaha

      2. Kay says:

        Agree @ Briatore.

      3. Kenneth M'Boy says:

        Agree with Briatore comments, plus he had a vision that he brought into F1 of moving forward with success. Most of the time it worked because it attracted a lot of the right people. The only thing going against him at Ferrari is how much DiMontezelomo would feel threatened by his ruthless and outgoing demeanor. Would be fascinating to watch.

        A question to James: would the F1 inner circles want Flav back? He can be threatening to a lot of high players.

      4. James Allen says:

        Not really.

        I don’t know if he feels he’s done with F1. He still stays close and comments on it regularly.

        He’s 64 so similarish age to Monezemolo and Dennis

    2. VintageF1 says:

      Bennetton 94-95
      Ferrari 00-04
      Brawn 09
      Mercedes 2014!

      …Sir Ross Brawn. The scuderia calleth.

      1. kent says:

        well said and entirely correct. Bring back Brawn!

      2. Peter Scandlyn says:

        Park him alongside Mattiacci and you’d have brains as well as….:-)

      3. Goggomobil says:

        Sid, you are lovely man, but Ross Brawn is no longer a part of the big end of the town.
        My two bob worth.
        Flavio Briatore is Ferrari bound be it as Ferrari F1 or Ferrari Le Mans P1 entry in 2015 as a team principal,true story believe in it.
        You may not like Flavio but in true sense of the word he is a winner,charismatic as they come , be it on the F1 grid or on the outside
        just ask Neomi Campbell got her pregnat and didn’t want to know about it, a ruthless operator which ever you want to slice it,and he has runs on board to prove it,would that be
        beautiful to pit him against Red Bull.
        Ask Schumacher,Alonso or Webber they will tell you sun is shine from his back side, and Flavio
        Moto,winners are the grinners and coming second
        is a first looser!
        And that what is all about it don’t you think.
        Cheers.

  2. Grant H says:

    As this guy seems to know nothing about F1 I wonder if Ferrari are moving toward a dual structure like merc where u have toto (commercial) and paddy (tech)

    1. Random 79 says:

      If you can’t beat them, copy them? ;)

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Isn’t technically that’s what a few McLaren employees did with a 500 odd page document from a few of their mates from Marenello in 2007?
        Oh no, let’s not go down that route again!

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        PS I am joking from my above comment (what, really Sherlock?) but seriously, since when have Ferrari ever been pioneering?

    2. Folkdisco says:

      Marco Mattiacci will not succeed at Ferrari IMHO. He seems better qualified to spin to various media outlets why it is not Ferrari’s fault that it is not winning, than to actually make the cars win. He seems a better fit for a LdM replacement to replace Stefano Domenicali. Fernando and Kimi must be worried, cause it looks more like yet more internal Ferrari politics, than any solution to their current problems.

      1. KARTRACE says:

        There is no quick fix at Scuderia right now and I am afraid time is running out for both drivers.

      2. Tristan says:

        Folkdisco, I think it’s WAY to early to be predicting the downfall of Mattiacci. He is clearly more than just a ‘spin doctor’, you don’t rise that high in any company over a long period of time just by charm.

        Agreed totally though about FA and KR being worried. Kartrace is right that there is no short term fix.

        I hope Mattiacci’s plan is to keep both drivers for a couple of seasons while they rebuild and strengthen the technical aspect of the team, while making a long-term play for someone like Sebastian Vettel. He’ll be looking for a fresh challenge soon and, whether Red Bull or the man himself like to admit, the constant whispers of ‘Can he win in another team other than Red Bull and Adrian Newey’ will eventually means he’ll seek another challenge. Ferrari need to develop a platform that will be appealing for SV.

      3. CH says:

        Politics indeed. Have to say am not a fan of LDM… gets rid of Brawn and now presumably would like him back? Gets rid of Kimi only to want him back? M.O. of a competent CEO?

        SD the culprit? For a poor engine? chassis? The CEO’s choices are not a part of such? LDM strikes me as a political sort who’ll focus on anyone’s shortcomings long before he’ll put spotlight on his.

        And the new guy with nil experience is going to be better than SD making split-second decisions from the pit wall?

    3. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      They need to focus less on the “management” people who don’t really make the car better and focus more on the details and the engineering itself.

      Heck, they’d be better off leaving Domenicalli, telling di Monty to be quiet and not distract his staff, then poach the good Force India engineers…

      Perhaps they’ve written off 2014 and Mattchi is in just to punt as many road cars to various celebs and rich oil folk hanging around the F1 paddock ;)

    4. Alex says:

      I guess he’s there because he understands Ferrari. I imagine that’s an advantage if it enables him to deflect the pressure from the the technical people, leaving them to get on with the job in hand.

  3. fox says:

    Ferrari must return Ross Brawn.
    1. He knows internal Maranello kitchen, technically and managerially.
    2. He built winning Merc (before Lowe joined much was already done).
    3. He built champion Benetton, Ferrari, Honda/Brawn and Merc.
    4. He is authority for stars like Alonso & Raikkonen.

    1. Mach says:

      Totally agree…BRING BACK ROSS!!!!

    2. Quercus says:

      Other websites are saying that Mattiacci is just a place-holder for Ross Brawn who will return to Ferrari in 2015. Have you heard anything about this James?

    3. German Samurai says:

      “Ferrari must return Ross Brawn.
      2. He built winning Merc (before Lowe joined much was already done).”

      This year’s Mercedes isn’t Brawn’s car. This has been Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff’s team since early last year. You have to say Mercedes were generally stagnant from 2010-13.

      “3. He built champion Benetton, Ferrari, Honda/Brawn and Merc.”

      Let’s look at the facts though.

      Never gave Schumacher the best car at Benetton.

      Didn’t give Schumacher the best car on the grid at Ferrari until 2001. Altogether in his time working with Schumacher only ever gave him the best car on the grid in 2001, 02 and 04. Schumacher flattered those Brawn cars.

      The success of 2009 was due to gambling with a very liberal interpretation of the regulations. I put an asterisk against their 2009 season.

      “4. He is authority for stars like Alonso & Raikkonen.”

      These are two of the oldest guys on the grid. If these two guys aren’t self-motivated they should be shown the door. Personally I think they needed fresh blood like Hulkenberg.

      1. fox says:

        No, this year Merc has multiple Brawn’s inventions.

      2. Antony Biondi says:

        I’m sorry, but I have to respond to this post!

        If you believe that Toto and Niki have anything to do with the on track success of Merc this year, then that’s a real shame.

        Although RB isn’t soley responsible for the design of the engine or the chasis, he is responsible for the current network of people that put it together. Poor they have been since Merc came back in 2010, but they’ve made no secret since the annuncement of the 2014 changes that this was going to be their focus. If they win before then, bonus!

        As for the best Bennetton/Ferrair comments. Seriously? So fighting for the championship until the last race of the season from 94 until 2006 (expect for 05) and winning it 7 times isn’t a decent CV?! Of course that was helped by having Schumacher in the car, but as good as Michael was, he can’t do all of that without a very good car under him.

        Finally, the comment on the 09 season sums it all up. Isn’t that what F1 is all about? Pushing the rules to the limit, innovation and taking a gamble. The 09 car was all of those things and was supported passinately by RB. That’s what stand him and Adrian newey out from the rest. Not only have the forthright to think of these things, but the balls and intelegance to pull them off.

        RB has been supported by great people both on and off the track throughout his career, but, like Michael, the genious is outting yourself in those possitions and being good enough to ensure people stay with you.

        IMO, he is the man for Ferrari and a genious of F1.

      3. Rudy says:

        Remember RB was the mastermind behind that “secret” Barcelona tyre test one year ago. Sorry to the chap who said Lowe and Wolff are the orchestrators of such dominant car, haha… When Wolff was at Williams they experienced one of the worst seasons in ages! Lowe? Really? Must have been sleeping or something between 2012-2013 as the McLaren of last year was really crap. This is more a story of success from Aldo Costa than those two mentioned, under the guiding eye of RB. Time will tell folks…

      4. aveli says:

        why don’t you check Ross brawn’s roles at benneton and ferrari before concluding that he built cars for the teams. he was team principal at honda, brawn and mercedes.
        he wanted that ferrari job and politics got in the way. now it looks like the best policy is to allow nature to take its course because it not that easy to cheat nature.

    4. Paul D says:

      Why would Ross be interested though? He’s done it all, and is a Ferrari legend.

      He’s nearly 60 now, so probably just wants to enjoy his retirement. Big decision to throw yourself back into a job like that, with all the associated politics and risk tainting your legacy.

      Not like he needs the money either.

      1. JTW says:

        Agree. It makes little sense for Brawn to consider the position because a) he’s had success before, and the odds of doing it again are slim and b) he’s got a piss pot full of money so doesn’t need the income and c) he’s got nothing to prove. Let the man fish.

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        Couldn’t agree more squire.
        Ross has done it all, seen it all, bought the t-shirt, and sold the team.
        Personally, seeing Ross back in F1 would be great, but if he does come back – who knows? – I suspect it will be in a behind the scenes capacity at a UK team, and probably quite low key.
        Ross going back to the politics, intrigue and back-stabbing at Ferrari? Argh, no! Don’t do it Ross! Be sensible!
        Stay in Blghty enjoying the fishing and helping with looking after the grandchildren Ross!
        PS Get well Michael.

      3. fox says:

        It’s hardest question. Ross doesn’t want to come back. But Ferrari has no other real options to revitalize the team. Ross is still technically strong and fresh with Merc knowledge. So it is “the must” for Ferrari and reluctant for Ross…

      4. NJ says:

        Flavio Briatore… who will probably find good excuses to meet with Marco Mattiacci anyway since he is Alonso’s manager.

        You can easily imagine him saying: “You know… I can be a good source for advice.. I used to be a Team Boss too, you know.” *wink wink*

      5. Rich C says:

        Being somewhat past 60 myself, I can tell you that without a Mission, its boorrrrrrring!

        And, btw, ppl who ‘retire’ to just go fishing just friggin *die!

    5. zombie says:

      I don’t see Ross Brawn ever going back to F1. The man has nothing left to prove. Besides, from what i’ve been reading about the amount of time he spends at Grenoble with Schumi tells me Brawn would have realized there is more to life than speed and winning.

    6. kent says:

      yes- the 2014 Mercedes is his car (which most people seem to forget).

  4. 180110 says:

    It is results which always decides who is a performer and a non performer. Being a nice guy is good, but only when results happen.

    Mattiacci has to be the head of a winning team else he goes as well.

    1. aveli says:

      Dhow do you k.now that ferrari are not planning on pairing him up with a technical director?

  5. bubney72 says:

    Hopefully it won’t be needed, but ‘good luck Marco’

  6. RodgerT says:

    “These examples prove that success in F1, in sport generally, is more about empowering the right people and not over-promoting. It is also about having vision.”

    Not just sports. In the nearly 30 years I’ve been in engineering I’ve seen many good engineers promoted into management positions and failed because they were not good managers.

    Just because someone is very good at the job they’re trained for doesn’t mean that they’ll be really good at directing others who do that job. Some are most are not.

    1. Michael Powell says:

      Its called the Peter Principle – promotion beyond your ability level. Its a common malaise, especially visible in political parties, but elsewhere too.

    2. aveli says:

      great point rodgert, christian horner hasn’t done too badly at redbull, after all he had no f1 experience before joining redbull. inspiring people to do their best require a different set of skills from engineering skills. there is no point trying to predict what he’s capable of as it will all be played to us in time.

      1. Kay says:

        Christian Horner was nothing until Newey came along. Newey was always destined to join the team anyway (with the RBR team originally in Jaguar’s guise) as he wanted a fresh challenge in building a small / mid team to the front.

      2. aveli says:

        with all due respect kay, i hope I understand what you mean by horner was nothing until newey came along. you could argue that all the team leaders are nothing without the rest of the team members. it is true however, that horner has been successful in f1 with no previous f1 experience. mattiacci could be just as successful if not more successful with the right key members in the team. we just have to wait to find out how it all plays out.

      3. Kay says:

        aveli, of course all team members are part of it. however Horner seriously lacks team management skills. Justlook how he handled Vettel and Webber, and before Newey came along where RBR was. He can’t manage an F1 team and it’s Newey with his experience from working in various teams that helped Horner to recruit various people and put various structures in place. That’s why Newey joined which he explained in an interview a year or two ago.

        Also compare Horner with FI’s VJ. Of course again VJ is not engineer or designer but he managed his team well, managed his driver well and no BS from him like bias towards another driver of his team, etc.

    3. Matías says:

      there you go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dilbert_principle the simplest explanation for this problem of promoting very capable people in their area to another area as a reward…

      1. A good reference, including the preceding theories noted in the Wikipedia article. To put a more basic spin on these views – not a lot changes moving forward from the 3rd grade playground and “success” is often in spite of instead of because… suppose?

      2. kent says:

        See also the Peter Principle. If you do a good job, you get promoted…. repeatedly… til finally youre put in a position in which you are not competent.

      3. Tom says:

        I thought that was the Pastor Principle :D

      4. kent says:

        the Pastor Principle- that’s very funny. Witty and very clever too.

  7. sean hardman says:

    James. Tone of the article would suggest that 2014 will be written off? Will be almost impossible to keep hold of Alonso for future seasons.

    1. Random 79 says:

      I think you’re right and at this point Alonso is looking to bail, but the question that keeps being asked is where would he go?

      I’m not at all sure there will be any seats open in 2015 where he’d have a better chance to win another WDC.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Fernando could get his begging bowl and go and doff his cap to Toto and Niki………..and also tell Merc he would drive for them in 2015 for nothing.
        “Forget my salary Toto, put into the team and car, I’ll drive for you in 2015 out of the goodness of my heart and soul”
        Seriously though, Fernando is in Catch 22.

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        PS, Bit off topic, although related to a post about an Italian, but do you remember an Italian-Irish driver who was employed at Alfa Romeo called Bruno Jack O’ Malley?

      3. Random 79 says:

        Nope, he was a touch before my time.

      4. Gaz Boy says:

        He attempted to qualify the Life W12 in 1990.
        Attempted being the operative word………

    2. Colm says:

      Where would he go do you think? Merc – doubtful as they have two very competitive drivers under contract, RB – doubtful as DR is giving SV a run for his money. Back to McLaren – can’t see that happening somehow, although…

      1. justafan says:

        Alonso could replace Maldonado at Lotus.

      2. Random 79 says:

        As far as I’m concerned anyone could replace Maldonado at Lotus ;)

      3. Gaz Boy says:

        Ah, but Random, Enstone have got 30 million odd reasons to stick with their South American hot shoe…………
        Gosh, I am cynical. Especially when it comes to money………

  8. The paddyman says:

    Would he be the one to finally push the dreaded customer cars..and then hand it over to Ross..?

  9. Nick says:

    Sounds like a re-building phase. Is that enough to keep Alonso? He must be seriously over it by now…

  10. Michael Powell says:

    Sometimes a new broom works wonders. Its only a figurehead role, after all, he’s not expected to change wheels or understand the telemetry.

    Ferrari parade their race-cars to sell their road-cars, F1 is a marketting oportunity for them. So who better to maximise the return than a road-car salesman?

    If he succeeds he will be next in line to replace Luca, and that can’t come a moment too soon for the company.

    But don’t expect changes to the Rodeo Drive cruisers. Ferrari are chasing large sales numbers, and you don’t do that by being innovative because the customers just don’t like it.

    As they once told Charles Saachi, you can either become the best advertising agency in the world, or the biggest. But you can’t be both.

    Ferrari have chosen to be the biggest, so what can they expect?

  11. Jock Ulah says:

    So, to expand that orchestral analogy . . .

    The successful instrument sales executive, with little technical ability regarding the violin, is expected to transition to a fully-fledged concert leader overnight – knowing full well that the conductor might walk off stage before the performance is over.

  12. Sid says:

    James, watched sky news yesterday where Ted was their guest. He said he felt fernando’s influence in Stefano’s decision to step down. More importantly he thinks new Principal is only an interim one and is adamant Ferrari has an agreement with Ross Brawn.

    Wish to hear from u on this plssssss!!!!

  13. TameRacer says:

    Why does everyone seem to think that they’ll be able to lure Ross Brawn back? He’s retired now and taking a well earned rest. In many ways he would be ideal for the job, except that I can’t see why he’d want to do it. He’s achieved so much in F1, taken 4 teams to the highest level, what else is there for him to? Relax and enjoy himself without the pressures of F1, that’s what!

  14. AlexD says:

    I think he will fail.

    1. Random 79 says:

      10 points for optimism :)

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        100 Points for potential clairvoyance?

      2. Random 79 says:

        If Alex turned out to be right I’m not sure that would prove he was psycic ;)

        For example, this weeks race will be held on a Sunday. Hard to believe I know, but wait and see…

  15. Wade says:

    Been thinking it for a while, seems that there is bigger changes going on in F1 at the moment. In that to mean, Alonso, Button, Massa, Sutil, Kimmi are all getting on in age now. It’s time for new faces to grace the sport and whether that’s good it not – I don’t know. Definitely feels like a bit of an end of an era though.

    1. Random 79 says:

      I think that’s normal.

      You’ll find in any sport there’s a bunch of faces you see come into the sport when you first begin to watch it and through the years you watch them develop and sort of get to know them a little – and then all of a sudden it seems like they’re all retiring at once!

      It may be the end of an era, but as you said there are plenty of new faces coming in that we’ll get used to seeing over the next ten years or so, so it’s all good :)

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Indeed.
        Still, when Jenson, Fernando, Kimi et al hang up their F1 boots in the next few years (year?), then the likes of Sebastian, Daniel, Romain, Kev, Hulky, Danill, Valtteri, Jules et al will be the established order, taking on a new crop of young guns.
        It’s amazing in just a few years how the poachers become gamekeepers…….

  16. umsalisu says:

    I think 2014 is over for Ferrari as things stand.
    As for Alonso, where would he go that would match his present team? Mercedes is not likely dropping any of its drivers, neither would McLaren or Red Bull.
    I guess Mattiacci would spend the better of this year trying to understand the workings of an F1 team and get to know his team of workers so as to prepare the team properly for 2015.

    1. Random 79 says:

      If he can learn how to build a decent power unit that will help also :)

  17. Gaz Boy says:

    I wish him well. Ferrari is a poisoned chalice for Italian TP’s both recently and historically………….
    Having said that, perhaps being a bit “green” with regards to Ferrari F1 politics is actually an advantage in so far as Marco has no cultural baggage to bring with him?
    Good luck Marco…….welcome to F1!

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      I’ll just add, what Marco needs to find some people who can develop an excellent CFD system, and then know how to implement and use an excellent CFD system to best effect. Only then will the likes of Milton Keynes and Brackley be beaten.

  18. Arshad Altaf says:

    With a bad car and frustration brewing up in their top driver the change was due. May be he can deliver the goods which at this juncture could be just a few 1st positions at the podium.

    1. Random 79 says:

      I think given where they are any kind of podium is going to be out of reach for a while.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Never know Random, could be a massive pile up at the 1st corner at Monaco……….

      2. Random 79 says:

        Good point, allow me to clarify:

        I think given where they are any kind of podium that isn’t achieved through pure luck or Maldonado is going to be out of reach for a while.

  19. Alistair Blevins says:

    Reminds me of when Flavio Briatore joined Benetton back in the early 90′s.

    He had little understanding of F1 as a sport, but he didn’t do too badly did he?

    1. Phillip H says:

      Exactly my thought. You can learn about F1, but instinctively good managers are much harder to find.

  20. Jonathan P says:

    Ross Brawn would have been the obvious choice, Ferrari should have moved Heaven and Earth to tempt him back. I’m not sure if he would want to join alongside Mattiacci, but it must be worth a try. This guy’s lack of F1 background spells trouble. Briatore would have been a good choice also, if he’s allowed in the pitlane these days!

    I don’t think keeping Alonso is a key issue; where would he go, Williams? I think it would be a cold day in Hell before Ron invited him back to McLaren (unless he reimbursed them all the money they lost due to his treachery) and Red Bull and McLaren already have drivers of Alonso’s calibre who are also a better fit commercially. Ferrari seem to be Alonso’s best choice, which is probably why he’s so keen to see them improve.

    1. Jonathan P says:

      Meant to write Red Bull and *Mercedes* already have drivers of Alonso’s calibre, with all due respect to Jensen and Kevin!

      1. justafan says:

        The only other driver of Alonso’s quality on the current grid is Vettel.

      2. Jonathan P says:

        If by “quality” you mean arrogance, then that’s true. But Lewis was faster then Alonso at McLaren, Rosberg is quick compared to Lewis and Schumacher, and Ricciardo seems on a par with Vettel.

      3. Paul D says:

        Agree. With Lewis just above them.

      4. AlexD says:

        It is Jenson

      5. Jonathan P says:

        Good point! I must have been thinking of the mathematician (Jensen’s inequality, anyone?).

    2. Grant says:

      It would be massive disrespect both to himself and the McLaren brand, for Ron to hire Fernando again.

      1. Kay says:

        Ron himself said he’d welcome Alonso back.

      2. Grant says:

        That was just to the media, doubt he’d go ahead and do it.

        Ferrari had to bring in Kimi because Alonso is very difficult to manage.

      3. Kay says:

        Well Grant, what you said on Alonso could also very well be media, LdM never came out saying “we had to hire Kimi because Alonso is difficult to manage”.

        The fact that was published is, Ron said what he said. You can choose not to believe in it but Ron’s words are recorded and published.

  21. jake says:

    Why does everybody think Ross is interested in joining Ferrari. If he wanted back in F1 in a no hope middle order team surely he would go to Williams… :-)

  22. Kenneth M'Boy says:

    He looks like the Blue Wiggle. First change of protocol, all drivers must wear skivvies.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Shouldn’t they have hired the Red Wiggle?

      1. Kenneth M'Boy says:

        At this rate, they probably will.

  23. Kay says:

    LdM: Hey Marco, come over here.. I’m putting you in the Scuderia Ferrari to head my racing team.
    Marco: Sure why not? I can probably sell a couple thousands of your F1 cars in every country we go to in a season. Shouldn’t be difficult given my track records in selling your road cars.

    Hopefully won’t turn out like that and Marco can prove to lead the F1 division.

  24. Dave Aston says:

    A left field decision that may pay off; his lack of knowledge of F1 could be a bonus in a way. I mean, look at Briatore, he just applied the same principles to a race team that he did to any other business and he was very successful. Personally, I think their biggest problem is in the driver’s seat. Alonso is a great racer, but I have doubts about his attitude, and ability to give feedback and develop a car.

    1. AlexD says:

      The first part of your post is talking about the success of Briatore that he achieved with alonso in renault and your second part says alonso has no clue abou the car

    2. Hansb says:

      Don’t give that ‘he can’t develop a car’ thing again.
      Ferrari’s problem today is its PU. If it would be at the same level as the Mercedes one, they would fight for the championship this year.

    3. Iain:R8 says:

      @Dave Aston.

      Yes I agree with your comments about Alonso’s development ability. Pedro dlR was brought in as a specialist. See what happened in 2012? when Massa was left with the fixed spec car at the end of season races. Kimi has been quite clear that it is not just engine power, but traction and handling that is missing from the 2014 car.

  25. Chris says:

    Sometimes in business you bring a known quantity, and sometimes you look outside of the box and bring in someone with a different view on things. Sometimes it works (and if it does it rewrites the rulebook), and sometimes it doesn’t. Be interesting to see what direction Ferrari take, but I praise the bravery in taken an unceartain path. This guy must have indicated a direction he wants the team to take. Remember, F1 is trying to align itself more with the consumer car market!! hhhmmmmmmmmmmmm

  26. james encore says:

    Stefano Domenicali chose to resign and wasn’t fired … So how long was there between putting his letter in and a new guy being selected ? The appointment looks hasty.
    If you want continuity you promote from within; if you want change you appoint someone from outside. Mattiacci comes in from outside F1, and I expect will find running a team very different from selling cars. If he succeeds it will be seen as genius by Luca DeMontezemelo. If he fails, then Luca will have to go.

    1. Phillip H says:

      I think Stefano received a horse’s head in the bed and he decided to jump, rather than be pushed.

  27. Elie says:

    As we’ve seen with other big teams the time of a single team principal is all but over. If Mclaren have a seasoned team principal running the racing side whilst a CEO running the corporate and strategy side. Similar thing with Mercedes – with all due respect for Marco he will not be able to handle the racing/ technical side as well as the corporate and strategic side alone. Perhaps Marcos focus will be long term strategic given his background and success on the marketing / corporate side of things.
    Is it possible that James Allison will take over the racing and technical side of the operation which may have been the plan since last year !. If thats the case there are some tough decisions to be made and maybe that needs to be done in collaboration with Marco.

  28. Gudien says:

    Interesting, James, to read of Jean Todt being ‘ruthless’. Is that quality really what’s necessary in today’s F-1?

    1. Phillip H says:

      Umm yes!

      Ron Dennis christened the F1 paddock as the “Piranha Club”

  29. Paul D says:

    Seen several comments on other social media saying this guy knows nothing about F1 etc, they should have gone for Flavio…

    People forget when Flavio took control of Benetton he’d spent his career in fashion!

    Good leaders can apply themselves to any industry.

  30. Elie says:

    James, no disrespect to Marco but surely the plan would be that Marco runs long term commercial, strategic and financial side of the race team and someone else run the race team, technical and operational side. Perhaps that might be Marcos first critcal decision appointing someone. Given James Allison is already head of the chassis aero side of things perhaps he is the man they already have ear marked as the principal of the racing/ operations side- assuming theres a role there he wants. Or Do you see Marco doing it alone ??- cant see it happening

    1. Elie says:

      Sorry for multi posts – as there appear to be losses during moderation..that appear later.. Will slow down to 1st gear from now on

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        I was going to make a joke about Ferrari’s design department being stuck in 1st gear, but that’s a bit harsh……………

      2. Chromatic says:

        please allow lapped cars to unlap behind SC first.
        Multiple posts will be investigated afterwards.

      3. Elie says:

        Good one !

  31. Richard says:

    So their engine is pretty much useless for the entire 2014 season?

    1. H.Guderian (ALO fan) says:

      YES

    2. Olivier says:

      Yes.

      It is Heavy,
      Thirsty
      and Slow.

      They’ve chosen to focus on maximizing the Sound first … to make their car sound Fast.

      1. Abhishek says:

        +100

  32. Alpha16 says:

    O well then!

    I don’t see Ferrari winning any titles for at least the next 10 years!

    Winning is clearly not a priority for Ferrari!

    Having an Italian in charge at all costs (winning included) clearly is!

    Arrivederci Ferrari!

  33. Phillip H says:

    I don’t know if Marco Mattiacci will succeed. I have never heard of him, nor his pedigree.

    I suspect that he won’t be particularly successful, other than the initial bump teams get when there is new management on board.

    I could be completely wrong, but Ferrari seems to work best when the atmosphere is not completely Italian – Ross Brawn, Jean Todt,Rory Byrne, Nigel Stepney etc. Ferrari comes across as being particularly insular and the problem with that is that without fresh cultures and attitudes, it may be more of the same.

  34. jmv says:

    A few comments:
    - Briatore succeeded in a different era, and he had Pat Symonds + Ross Brawn running his team.

    - Briatore wont work under LDM.. he’s too much of an heavyweight for that. In terms of stature in Italian media Briatore is equal to LDM.

  35. Nicko says:

    >who’s voice and opinion he must trust

    ouch, grammar clanger.

    >knowledge of Formula 1; it’s culture

    ow, punctuation howler.

    Can’t be JA, he read English & Foreign Languages at Oxford

    1. Random 79 says:

      I’m sorry, is this English 101?

      So be it:

      > is not used to start a sentence.

      Sentences should begin with a capital. For example “ow, punctuation howler” should read “Ow, punctuation howler”.

      The semicolon was used correctly. In this context it is used as a replacement for “i.e.”, which in turn is short for “id est”, which in turn is Latin for “that is”.

      There should be a period (or “full stop”) following “Oxford”. Possibly there should also be a period following “trust” and “culture”, but since you already shagged those bits with the > we’ll let that slide.

      When using one’s initials as an abbreviation they should be separated with a dot, so JA should read J.A.

      Finally, I’m sure that when James was at Oxford he did indeed read English and foreign languages as most literate people all around the world do on a daily basis, but in this context the correct word would be “studied” which I think is much more of an achievement.

    2. Random 79 says:

      Oh, I forgot one other thing:

      No one cares.

  36. Jock Ulah says:

    So, to expand that orchestral analogy . . .

    The successful instrument sales executive, with little technical knowledge of the violin, is expected to transition to a fully-fledged concert leader overnight – knowing full well that the conductor might walk off stage before the performance is over.

  37. Gaz Boy says:

    Can I play devil’s advocate and ask any readers of this fine website – would YOU want to be TP of Ferrari F1?

    “Wanted: Team Principal for Ferrari. Excellent salary (with bonuses), use of company car (Ferrari, Fiat, Alfa – drive any car from our catalogue), superb food, great wine, bespoke suit and the finest Italian clothing, good weather, a magnificent house to live in with private access and garage.
    You will be managing an excellent factory with first class facilities. You will hire and fire accordingly (at the request of your chum Luca).
    However, must be able to deal with Italian media who will metaphorically smash your face in every two odd weeks throughout the summer season.
    Please apply, Ferrari SPA, Maranello, Modena, Northern Italy.
    No time wasters and agencies please.”

    1. Sanjog says:

      You missed out on an important facet – Get to manage / cajole / motivate / assuage / deal with regular tantrums of a Prima Donna, ‘I am the best’ Spanish Samurai and a ‘blindingly quick’
      ‘Couldn’t Care less’, ‘leave me alone’ and ‘I need my Vodka Icecream’ pair of WDCs’ :)

  38. foreverf1 says:

    James, is Ferrari allowed to redesign or build a completely different engine for next year or are they stuck with this PU configuration until a new set of regs comes along?

    It seems to be their main problem.

    1. James Allen says:

      They have a list of areas they can do performance development in

      A new engine? Not sure about that

      1. foreverf1 says:

        Thanks James. I was just wondering if Ferrari or anybody could copy the Merc’s revolutionary PU layout for next year’s campaign.

  39. Gilles V says:

    I would very well see Ross Brawn going with the new american team. He would be the undisputed boss. No politics involved.

  40. terry says:

    I cant remember , is this the bloke that chestbutted zidane’s head in the worldcup?

  41. All revved-up says:

    For S.Domenicalli not to see the season out or be part of a reasonable transition – it does seem that Ferrari have written off 2014.

    Guess it’s probably the right decision – though it would make the 2014 ferrari team mate battle seem rather hollow.

    But it does seem right for Ferrari to focus on next year’s car. Just as Mercedes did last year.

    Seems like McLaren and Lotus should also do the same.

    But how will Ferrari get around the engine freeze? A Honda powered Ferrari?

    It seems pretty clear that Honda will have the benefit of the Mercedes split turbo idea; and possibly take that idea even further.

    Will Raikonnen and/or Alonso be part of new management’s “vision”? A fresh view of the drivers looking at Ricciardo and Magnussen may lead to the view that it’s not a bad idea to bring young blood in for at least one of the seats.

  42. Anne says:

    Just wondering why James Allison was not promoted to team principal

    1. James Allen says:

      He’s a technical guy.

      Also think FIAT will be pleased to have someone they know well at the helm

      1. Chromatic says:

        James, would you agree with the view that Bahrain as a circuit exaggerated Merc’s strengths and Ferrari’s weaknesses … and the gaps will not be so huge at some venues, eg China?

  43. Olivier says:

    Will he be able to manage the driver dynamics between Alonso and Kimi?

    Has he got their respect? I mean, he is a complete novice to the sport … unlike Ross …

  44. Grant says:

    Time for Ferrari to make Adrian Newey an offer he cannot resist.

    Ross has made to much money in F1 to start all over again.

  45. Cal says:

    How will Marco Mattiacci succeed?

    Answer
    - He won’t

  46. foreverf1 says:

    I found an interesting article by one of my fave f1 bloggers George McCabe about the brain of a racing driver.

    Luca DiMontezemelo would be proud.

    http://mccabism.blogspot.ca/2009/11/brain-of-racing-driver.html

    1. foreverf1 says:

      Apologies to GORDON McCabe. I typed George, instead.

    2. Random 79 says:

      I’m not at all sure that’s what my brain looks like, even after ten years driving of a taxi (but then again I’m not very good at it :) ), but I think most newer model taxi driver brains these days actually look a little more like this:

      Taxi Driver Brain

      1. foreverf1 says:

        Hehe!

        Who needs “The Knowledge” when you got the “The Garmin”!

        *The Knowledge is a mythical/secretive test taken by prospective London Black Cabbies in the UK. So I’m told.

      2. Random 79 says:

        I’ve heard that, and I’ve also heard that in some places the driver has to know every street before they even start.

        For myself my training was “here’s how the meter works, have fun” :)

  47. zombie says:

    The irony of this situation is Montezemolo single handedly saved Ferrari – both the road car division and its F1 operations. He built the “dream team” and brought the “horsemen” under one stable. In 2006 when Schumacher retired after 11 back to back titles ( 5 drivers and 6 constructors ), Ferrari had everything in place. Jean Todt should have allowed to run the entire Ferrari operations including the road cars, Ross Brawn the new team principal, Schumi as a consultant/PR/advertisement,Aldo Costa as the designer,Martinelli continuing as head of engines and James Allison as the tech director. Instead Montezemolo decided to go the “Italian way”. Schumacher was let go, Ross Brawn was sent off, Jean Todt decided to quit as the CEO, Martinelli sent off to the road car division and Aldo Costa being given confusing roles. In the end, Montezemolo made the Ferrari and Montezemolo broke Ferrari.

    Its almost a Shakespearean tragedy that the guy who won them 11 titles is in coma, their greatest tech director is retired, the former team principal;s relationship with his former boss has turned acrimonious, and the 2 multi-million dollar drivers are usually found fighting for scraps in the mid-grid.

  48. Romik says:

    @James : Do you think Bob Bell is headed to Ferrari? Or Brawn for that matter ?

    1. James Allen says:

      We’ll know more after this weekend

  49. max says:

    James, you’re probably very busy but pls can you tell me which race that picture above is from??

    1. James Allen says:

      Top banner? China last year

    2. Curro says:

      I’d say Hockenheim 2006.

  50. mike says:

    Domenicali was a puppet for LDM. How did that work out for Ferrari? They needed a strong personality who had the ability to manage up more than just down and around. Todt left as their was a power play between him and LDM. Go to the issues at Ferrari and they START at the door of LDM. With Brawn, Todt and Byrne you had a strong unit, LDM stayed out of it and did what he did best- commercial operation, revenue raising and cost controls. Ever since he touched day to day ops for the F1 team- disaster. Play your role and stay in your lane. This appointment looks thin.

  51. Iain:R8 says:

    James,

    When you have a minute, could you compare the management structure at Ferrari with that of Mercedes and others? Is there a clear split of pure management, sporting, and technical roles.

    Thanks.

  52. fox says:

    Interesting there is only one mentioning of Bell here… while such coincident resign of Domenicali and Bell is suspicious.
    If Brawn decided to retire irreversibly, then may be it is Bell who could lead Ferrari?

  53. Matt says:

    Ferrari are in for a long and dismal season I feel. Shame really with all of their resources.

    At least Kimi will get paid! I guess that is a plus for him as a driver still waiting for payment from Lotus.

    1. Random 79 says:

      A good point that will be some consolation to him through this miserable year, but here’s the question:

      Would a real racing driver prefer -

      A – To not get paid but have the opportunity to drive a good car or

      B – To get paid but have to drive a **** car?

      My money’s on B :)

      1. Random 79 says:

        Dammit I meant A :(

  54. Victor says:

    If they were to promote from within, why they didnt went for Massimo Rivola? He certainly knows how stuff works in the paddock, know the F1 branch of the team and so on. Would be easier, I suppose.

    1. Kay says:

      Maybe LdM feels he isn’t up for the job yet. With respect to Stefano, he knew a lot about Ferrari as well as F1, but we certainly don’t want another Stefano for the next couple of years where Ferrari’s records were all near-misses and mid-field struggle. I’d imagine Rivola might be able to act as an advisor to Marco.

  55. David in Sydney says:

    Symbolic change unless Domenicali was directly or indirectly responsible for choosing gear ratios, designing the engine for homologation, setting suspension or running the wind tunnel…

    …you know what they say; you’re only as good as the staff that work for you…

  56. Paddy says:

    The guy is a very sucessfull businessman, and you doubt that those type aren’t competitive? As James said ‘its much like conducting and orchestra” yet not many conductors can play the violin, or cello. I think good choice, he will be ruthless, a logical thinker and clever. Probably devious too.. This is a positive move from Stefano -and thats from me a lifelong Ferrari fan hungry for their rapid return to glory.

  57. TMAX says:

    Ferrari will be be winning again just about when Vettel will be joining them. Sorry Alonso !!!! You will work hard to develop a good car for Vettel.

    Just like the case of Hamilton and Mercedes :)

  58. Arnab says:

    I would like to buck the current trend and try to think what might have been going on behind choosing Marco Mattiacci, a non-F1 figure, at the helm of Gestione Sportiva.

    First, let us look at what Formula 1, specifically FIA, is aiming for currently or at least for a past few years. It is trying to expand to a very wide base of viewers in countries far east and west of Mainland Europe. Also, it is trying to be more technically relevant and sustainable. While some of the top leadership may say “it’s not F1 business”, I would like to think otherwise. Bringing back Car Manufacturers into the fold is essential for Formula 1. As an example, it is much easier for someone from a non-F1 country(read Asia and USA) to watch a head to head between Ferrari, Mercedes, Honda and Ford – names they’ve heard and cars they could hope to buy – than core UK based Formula 1 names.

    In such an environment, Marco Mattiacci , a person who has known these markets and people very well, could prove to be a game-changer. Not only does his proximity to road car development and closeness to the management, but also as someone who can drive Ferrari’s business interests within the paddock. Also, it is quite important for Ferrari to be able to sell their technology to other teams (Gene Haas,I’m looking at you) and find partner teams (Forza Rossa?) to succeed.

    Typically, that is not the way Formula 1 works or has worked, and the decision has potential to be a huge near-term disaster(names like BMW,Honda, Toyota came and went). What has been the “winning mentality” for Redbull and Mercedes in the past few years has been a bunch of seasoned campaigners who keep moving around within the teams.

    Alternatively, and somewhat optimistically, Formula 1 is changing, and becoming much more global from it’s modest European roots(the fact that I am typing this from India). In such an environment, it will be critical for an organization like Ferrari to not only stay in the game, but drive it. And Montezemolo seems to think Mattiacci is the man. It is a gamble, and one of the biggest gambles ever to come out of Maranello (usually happy to throw obscene amounts at successful people), but it might just work in the long run, if not the next race.

  59. DragonF says:

    Just a thought on Mattiacci- If supposedly he was appointed by Marchionne, then this is a hypothesis- He is being tested as ultimately the successor to Luca. F1 is just a stepping stone- just like Luca in the past?

    Luca is 60′s and Marco is 43 and very successful in China and USA, the largest markets for Ferrari. He may get help from Luca and who knows what other mercenaries (Brawn?), but the ultimate play is to replace the Top guy at Ferrari in 3-4 years…what better way than to test him in F1?

    In any case, it is great they got rid of Stephano!!:)

  60. Phil Tiberio says:

    Geez…the guy has been in the position for less than a week and the wolfs are out.

    Bottom line Domenicalli didn’t motivate the team and did not deliver the goods after 5-6 years. You can be a nice guy and everyone can love you however as a manager, motivator and team leader he did not deliver period. He was given a team that was the best the in F1 and during his rein it has become upper mid tier.

    You don’t have to be an engineer to become Team Principal you have to be a leader and motivator. Ferrari has an extrememly talented group of engineers that can do the job as well as the drivers.

    What they lack is a leader and the new man could be the man. A fresh set of eyes. Let’s see where the team is after 3, 6 and end of year. He may surprise everyone.

    Give the guy a chance before the witch hunt starts. He is an experienced leader and is not known with the organization. Will he bring in a technical leader from the outside? What about Fry? What about Allison? The people are there and now they may just have a Team Prinicpal that will lead and motivate versus being someone ping pong buddy.

    If he brings back Ferrari to the top and/or challenging for poles and wins this year I can see everyone sending kudos to the Chairman for the move. We all know that Domenicalli was given the choice of resigning (with a nice retainer) or get fired (with zippo coinage)

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