Alonso says Domenicali made ‘responsible move’ in stepping down at Ferrari
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: Justin Hynes  |  17 Apr 2014   |  11:54 am GMT  |  99 comments

Fernando Alonso today said that Stefano Domenicali made a “very responsible move” in stepping down as Ferrari team principal, adding that the former team boss’ decision had been take in the interests of the team.

“I think we need to assess what Stefano decided,” said Alonso in Shanghai ahead of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix. “He was probably not in the mood to continue and with the feeling of taking the weight on his shoulders. He made a very responsible move. It’s not easy, when you have a very privileged position in a Formula One team to be able to step back and to say ‘maybe it’s better to move’. But he did it; just for Ferrari’s interest and improvement, so that’s something that we cannot forget and now we have to respect that decision.”

Domenicali’s place at the helm of the team will be taken by Marco Mattiaci, who until now had served as President of Ferrari North America and Alonso admitted that he has not yet spoken to the new team boss.

“I haven’t had the chance… [to speak to him]. I don’t know if he’s coming here, I guess so, so it would be a good time to welcome him,” said Alonso of Mattiaci, who arrives in Shanghai this evening. “I don’t really have much to say. I drive the car. He will be good enough to recognise what are the weak areas of the team, what are the strong areas of the team and hopefully improve them.”

The Spaniard admitted, however, that he does not expect improvements to arrive quickly.

“It’s not that in this race we will improve one second, because I don’t think Stefano was doing the front wing or the rear wing or whatever by his hands, so probably we need to wait a little bit of time and see what we can improve and try to help all the team with the new people coming to make us a little bit stronger and try to get back some of the success from the past.”

Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, said that he had been surprised by Domenicali’s decision.

“Everyone was a bit surprised but it was Stefano’s own decision,” said the Finn. “If that’s how he felt then that’s fair enough and life goes on. Personally, I find it sad, as he is a great guy and I worked with him for many years. But that’s how it goes and I’m sure the team can handle the current situation.”

Regarding his new team principal, Raikkonen agreed with Alonso that improvements will be hard won.

“I have met him before but I don’t really know him,” he said of Mattiaci. “He will find a great team of people around him here in the team who will help him to settle in quickly. I don’t foresee any problems and I am sure he will do a very good job for us. He will have everything he needs to push us forward.

But nothing will change immediately as there are no miracles and we know where we are at the moment. We know in which areas we must improve but it will not happen overnight.”

Finally, Alonso paid tribute to Domenicali’s contribution to Ferrari saying that the former team boss had made “good decisions” while at Maranello.

“As a team principal, I think he made good choices, [did] good things,” he said. “Obviously we missed opportunities in 2010, in 2012. They missed opportunities in 2008 with Felipe [Massa]. If not, he could probably have three championships in his pocket.

“I think he brought in Pat Fry, he brought James Allison, Raikkonen, so I think all the things that people ask from him he was giving to them. [However,] the results in sport are important and the pressure at Ferrari is also quite big, so he made his decision and we will try to move forward in different directions but try to move forward.”


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@ James Allen,

Do you think LDM made this move to replace SD to keep Fernando happy and secure?

Would Fernando have displayed strong frustrations or even cryptic talk of moving on?



But I think it was driven by influence from FIAT/Chrysler. Domenicali resigned, but he knew that the game was up soon anyway


I still don’t understand people when I read comments like “now Ferrari just have to come up with engine improvements”.

Gentlemen: they can’t.

That is, they could but they won’t be allowed to because engine development is frozen since February or something like that.

They can come up with some updates on the sole purpose that they improve reliability.

So either they find 1 full second per lap in aero or something else or this season is simply over.

And this gives me the creaps. Not because I’m a tiffosi but because this is not the F1 that I’ve learnt to love in the late 70’s early 80’s.

Last race in Bahrain was very interesting with close racing in the last 10 laps but if Jean Todt doesn’t come up with more spring/summer testing I will simply lose my interest and stop watching F1.


“I don’t really have much to say. I drive the car.”

Understatement of the year!!! so far…


Just shows you what an absolute mess the new formula has brought with it. Heads rolling at Ferrari, total domination by Mercedes. The only race for the front that’s going to take place this year is between Hamilton and Rosberg, on the same team, and Merdeces should have the title wrapped up just a short distance into the season.



This Mercedes domination is the most complete F1 has seen in more that 60 years. What a shame those new rules have brought upon F1.


Possibly, but if Renault can just give Sebastian and Daniel about 20 BHP, the excellent downforce of the Red Bull chassis could mean that at least Seb and Dan can keep the Mercs very honest.

PS I got a good feeling for the Bulls at Barcelona and Monaco – watch this space!


I heard the Merc chassis is on par with the RBR chassis. Meaning they will still have power advantage and win everything. You see 20 hp more is not enough, my friend. They may improve with the next homologation, though. But that will be in 2015 only.


Lotus on the other hand will be happy to take a 20bhp engine (provided it works) 😉


I meant 20 BHP more!

Damm, this auto-correction system………why I did by this new Ferrari system, eh?


I know what you mean.

It’s almost like 2011 and 2013 again except there’s a different team and driver dominating and there is actually a race at the front, not to mention all through the mid-field.

What were they thinking?!





I still think Stefano was the wrong guy to fire, let go or resign. The real problem at Ferrari – the sacred cow is the engine. The engine is, to put in mildly not performing to expectations. It is heavy, underpowered and drinks fuel as though its going out of style.

This key traditional competence of Ferrari has been puffball this time around. The guy who should’ve been let go is the head of the engine design and development program.

This is so obvious given the performance of Ferrari itself and its customers, specifically Sauber.

Yet the blame falls on SD when the real issues of under performing Ferraris lies with something outside his control- unless of course he had the option to get an AMGMB power unit but refused.

Hate to say it, but another bandage solution by LDM . Nothing will change until the real problems with the power unit- Ferrari’s traditional strength get resolved.


I really like Stefano, so not happy to see him go, but I realize sometimes the simple act of shaking things up creates improvement.

Sometimes I’ll be driving in my car, and I will notice rattling noises coming from the glove box. I reach over, open and re-slam the door, and the rattling stops.


I’m confused: Are you making a profound statement or looking for advice on how to fix your glove box?

If it’s the latter then I suggest you try blu-tac – it fixes everything 🙂


Random – I would suggest they didn’t say their prayers


Thanks for the advice!

Maybe Ferrari should look into this for their engine. I can’t imagine there’s anything wrong with it that a little blu-tac and duct tape can’t fix.


Always happy to help, but I might have been wrong when I said blu-tac fixes everything:

Wad of blu-tac + overheating engine = maybe not such a good idea 😉


Ah but Random, can blu-tac fix Ferrari’s problems eh?

This weekend is of course Easter……perhaps divine intervention will help the Scuderia. He did help the Scuderia in Germany 2000 with that little sprinkling of rain at the end!


“considering the Pope has visited and blessed the Maranello factory over the years”

I don’t want to offend anyone, but it doesn’t say much for the power of Catholicism does it?


Just to clarify, when I meant he, I was talking about the almighty. Well, considering the Pope has visited and blessed the Maranello factory over the years, I assume “He” is a tifoso?


Alonso give uncomplicated appraisal of situation. Usual fans respond with their interpretation of what he said ,ie polar opposite view. whats the point of even speaking.


Joke of the day:

What’s Pastor’s favourite meal?

T-boned steak.


Tortilla flips ! : )


Bangers and mash 🙂


Random, from the late 70s onwards there has been a processed mashed potato product in Britain called Smash (made by Cadbury weirdly enough).

So maybe for Pastor it is Bangers and Smash?

Incidentally Smash was advertised on British TV by some Martians robots – so just like the Smash Martians Pastor is from another planet.


I didn’t know that.

It’s not even lunch time and I’ve learned something new 🙂

Maybe poor Pastor just got a little confused in the Venezuelan translation:

“Wouldn’t it be nice if the world was made of Smash?” 🙂


. . . alternately Carbonara Fibre.


Alonso would have wished a new leader a few yrs ago


Raikkonen: “I have met him before but I don’t really know him,” he said of Mattiaci.

Did Raikkonen know that many other team-mates say the same thing about himself even if he was with them for a couple of years (especially Massa, Grosjean etc.)?

So why was no one fired from the engineering team? Their updates last year were dud and this year car is also dud. How could you under-perform for 2 full years? And Fry has the audacity to tell everyone that they are aiming for being second-best team: defeatist attitude.


I’d call that an optimist attitude 🙂


Trying to decode what Alonso is saying about Domencali, it would appear Domencali lacked in the leadership department as the reason Ferrari have struggled in recent times.

Yes Domencali didn’t build front wings with his own hands but according to Alonso, he wasn’t a charismatic figure that could galvanize the troops.

As for Marco, we don’t know much about his personality and if he will get along with Alonso or Kimi.

I think the driver that gets in the new team principal’s good graces will have the upper hand in the team and possibly the better strategy calls and so on.

Regards Ferrari as a whole, they need a complete haul of the staff before the can get back to winning ways just like what Schumi did in 1996.

First off they need a younger driver (Schumi was 27 in 1996) and then they also need completely new engineers.

I think the current bunch of Ferrari engineers such as Allison have used up their Ferrari reserves as they need a new challenge in a different environment just like Newey has been doing i.e. Newey has never gone back to an ex.


Allison only arrived in july last year, not soon enough to have much influence on there current car. give him time, he did a good job at lotus


With regards to a younger driver……..that’s a good idea.

Apparently there is a chap called Mr Hulk who is a young, supremely talented, motivated and hungry young buck just aching for a top team to ask him to drive his balls off in their cars.

Luca, the Incredible Hulk awaits!


“Hungry” is an apt description on several levels.


I was wondering the other day why they chose Kimi over Nico in the first place.


It was Domenicali’s decision.

Montezemolo needed some persuading


@ Gaz Boy

And as a bonus the Hulk would bring with him the Ferrari number 27 with him.


Indeed, that number is very emotive for Italians.

Hang on, I forget – Hulk is a German driver. Am I correct in saying the last time Ferrari employed a very talented and motivated driver from the Federal Republic they enjoyed huge success?????

Luca – get that Hulk boy’s signature on a Ferrari contract pronto!


I disagree with Alonso, I personally think Domenicalli made an irresponsible decision…. He should have resigned (or should have been replaced or overthrown) 3 or 4 years earlier! Under his watch, Ferrari have either botched championships that were theirs for the taking or were consistently uncompetitive: in 2008 The WDC was closely and agonisingly lost, but perhaps the pain was cushioned by winning the WCC. The uncompetitiveness of 2009 was tolerable – just. But the slipping of the 2010 WDC was unacceptable, and the poor season of 2011 should have been the final straw… and yet LDM continued to give his blessings for his boy to carry on. And so, Ferrari again had a close loss in 2012 and an underwhelming 2013, and so far 2014.

Next one who should go is Luca di Montezemolo himself. The ’70s and the ’80s are over, this dude was lucky to survive in the ’90s and was fortunate enough the real architects (Todt/Schumacher/Brawn/Byrne) of the success in the 2000s allowed him a free ride. Time’s up.


Agree 100% with your comment other then your lsst paragraph.Bear in mind that Domenicali matriculate in accountancy and went to Maranello for a job as such.The 2010 was an monumental butchery of WDC by Ferrari pit wall and the “buck” stoped at Domenicali(period). Italian mentality is, you foregive but you don’t forget,I should know I like my pasta every day! My beef?,some know all contributors to J.A site,saying the new TP Marco Mattiacci has no F1 experience and is bound to fail.Quote

yesterday to La Repubblica by Flavio Briatore when I went to Benetton I was selling T-shirts and Mattiacci was selling Ferrari’s!

Your bottom paragraph is out of line.

LdM is entitled to full credit for what is Ferrari today, a brand name that is a envy a world over,but above it all my dear man, never forget “He who pays the piper plays it tune” and at Maranello they get paid on time and in full.


F1 is much more complex than in Briatore’s time.


2008 was unlucky, Massa lost certain race win in Hungary after arguably his best drive ever. And then the Singapore fiasco with Flavio and Alonso. But 2010 was a big own goal.


Where would be F1 be without Ferrari eh?

Whether you like them or not (I’m fairly ambivalent about the Scuderia) they bring a bit of colour, noise, lunacy, intrigue and sheer Italian pantomime to what would be otherwise a fairly orderly yet slightly grey F1 pit and paddock.

I was going to make comparisons about Ferrari with Ceasar and Brutus………….nah, come off it, that sort of back stabbing doesn’t happen at Maranello, does it?


I’ll just add (this is becoming a bit of a habit of an “unscheduled pit stop!”) that I personally think Fernando will stick with Maranello and see out his contractual obligation with Ferrari, which I believe runs out at the end of 2016. I think Fernando would rather remove his liver with a teaspoon than work for good old Ron. Just an opinion.


Ferrari driver pairing will stay in 2015. 2016 Kimi will retire and Sebastian will take his seat. Alonso will stay on for one more year. 2017 a new driver will come to replace Alonso. Vettel will stay.


I just can’t imagine how each team member feel going into this race without a figure head / team leader present. It would have helped things a lot if Marco arrived early to meet team members and assure them of stability. So far it just feels really awkward.

Hope it all goes well for them this weekend.


True, but then again while the cat’s away… 😀


Raikkonen’s comment about Domenicali says it all: ““I think he brought in Pat Fry”. That was his biggest mistake.

Pat Fry is the number one reason that Ferrari is lagging behind!! How can they not see this? Although something had to give and Domenicali’s resignation was inevitable, they should’ve shoved Fry out of the way too. Most overrated engineer in F1 in my opinion.


Totally agree with you on this point Klaas.


Pat hasn’t designed a single car at Maranello. It’s Tombazis’s job. Aldo Costa, Ferrari’s ex tech director, complained about Tombazis being too conservative and not enough creative


One thing for sure ….Pat fry is no Newey 🙂


Perhaps its a clash of cultures with Pat’s very Anglo-Saxon, very methodical approach being at odds with the very Italian, very hysterical approach?

Ah, that’s just a load of old cliched nonsense about crazy Italians Gaz Boy, you’ll say. OK, perhaps it is – but perhaps sometimes there is a hint of truth in the rumour?

It’s worth pointing out that Ferrari has employed Inglese “mercenaries” in the past such as Dr. Harvey Posltethwaite and John Barnard, and although those two Inglese enjoyed some success, after a while they were driven to distraction by the chaos and intrigue of Ferrari and said “ciao” and left for other pastures.


I miss Barnard’s cars.

Senna’s kamikaze 1st corner in Japan took Barnard the opportunity to claim Ferrari’s 1st WDC in ~10 years. Hence we had to wait for Byrne/Schuey.


And they even extended Fry’s contract.


we don’t know until they tell us.


Pat Fry led our restructuring projects, especially on the aero side. He also turned our pit crew into the best and most reliable on the grid.


Haha why do you feel that way about Pat Fry? He hasn’t improved anything so far apparently…





That was actually Alonso’s comment. Not Raikkonen’s.


hey Klaas, you mean Alonso’s comment..


Pat Fry did not design the engine so is not the sole source of the teams problems.


It really does bum me out as a Ferrari fan that we’ve arguably had the best driver of recent times in our cars yet we haven’t been able to give him a good enough car to challenge for the title. Consistent, fast and intelligent..that’s Alonso. Unfortunately the cars don’t tend to be too fast..

I don’t expect any immediate changes in Ferrari’s position relative to Mercedes, but if the software updates we bring work then I hope we can fight for podiums. Hopefully the aero side of the company will actually deliver the right results too.

Best of luck to them.


anil do you work for Ferrari …pl enlighten US


It is so funny to read your comment. Your always say “our” when you mention Ferrari as if you were part of the team and could influence the direction or change something. And then at the end you say good lukc to them, why not good luck to us?


Heh Heh


“if the software updates we bring work then I hope we can fight for podiums” was a particular highlight for me 😉

Credit to Anil though – it’s good to see him still supporting the team he loves, even during the hard times 🙂


Please Donate to Venezuelan Supporters Anonymous?


That’s the mark of a true supporter – support through thick and thin, and for Ferrari it is very, very thin indeed this moment in time.

Mind you, imagine being a Venezuelan supporter eh?


‘Our’ refers to the fact that I support them, but I wouldn’t say ‘good luck to us’ as the team members need it…not me!


I agree. I’m not a Ferrari or an Alonso fan but I shudder to think where the red team would have been over the last few seasons without Alonso at the wheel. No disrespect to Vettel or any of the other drivers but Alonso is still the most ‘complete’ driver out there in my opinion.


I just find it all a bit contrived as if Domenical handed in his notice then you would expect there to be a pause whilst Ferrari sorted out a replacement?

The fact that his replacement was immediately announced makes me think that there was an element of “pushing”?


Maybe it was a case of ” you can’t fire me, I quit!”


There were some reports indicating that LDM had given SD till Spain to improve performance and bring Ferrari back to competitiveness.

Obviously, Ferrari can’t start competing with Mercedes by Spain, their updates are planned as gradual from China to Austria, but Mercedes can improve too. Also, you can’t just improve car which is nearly 2 secs down on competition in a mere 2-3 races. So writing was on the wall, he chose to go gracefully, rather than being sacked unceremoniously.


I think Ferrari’s biggest problem right now is the power unit. I’m sure the engine department is working flat out to overcome the performance deficit, but it will be how quickly the engine can improve that will mostly determine how quickly the team can become competitive, and I don’t think Stefano has much influence on that. So to give him a deadline for returning to competitiveness is a bit unfair.


i believe them. i think domilicarli handed in his notice and monte decided who would replace him. don’t forget that ferrari is a huge company with many employees at different levels. monte therefore chose the best performing manager hoping he can do his magic in f1. they have nothing to hide.


Yes, and Hamilton is the best driver ever. – No offence, your signature is missing.


i’m glad you know that hamilton is the best driver to have stepped foot in history of f1 and the sooner you appreciate that the better because we will not see another as good in our lifetime.

i’m not offended by the truth. as far as i’m aware there has never been a driver able to do any of these and don’t even mention the bahrain race.


It’s simple on the surface of it, but look a little deeper:

First, sure LDM announced Stefano’s replacement fast, but then maybe Stefano had a few quiet words with him about what he was thinking or maybe LDM just saw the signs), but either way I think LDM would have had some idea this was coming so it would have been at the back of his mind who he wanted to step in if needed.

Second, it’s easy to say Stefano was pushed out and no doubt many believe that, but why then would LDM say he made the decision to step down himself?

I’ve never had the impression that LDM was worried about having a nice guy reputation, so when he’s trying to pull his team up by the bootstraps why would he pass up a golden opportunity to say pick up your performance or you’ll be out the door like Stefano?

All the quotes I’ve read lead me to believe that LDM had a lot of respect for Stefano – they’re not the kind of things you say about someone who you think has let you down.


May be LdM gave Stefano an offer to leave that he could not refuse. He played it as resignation for all of us.


Or perhaps Domenicali didn’t publicly announce his step down until a succession plan had been put in place?


I think the decision was taken *not* before Bahrain. Ferrari had expected to be able to get RB on better fuel consumption. Instead, they failed miserably, below their expectations. Montezemolo was furious, he abandoned the ship before the end of the race and said a couple of days later that some important decisions were to be taken “soon”.


To me I sounds almost as if they were saying (between the lines) that the real problem is LDM


I am sure you are correct. Domenicali got fed up with the tirades and the leaving before the end of the race was the last straw. LDM woke up to a crisis and appointed the first yes man he could find as a replacement. Ross Brawn was called and asked for so much that the tirade about “Mercenaries” followed. The issues are totally the temperament of LDM right now. They need the best people and allow them the space to innovate and grow, not be yelled at and brow beaten when short term results are not good.


I think the problem is that it is no longer a short term problem.


Exactly. I can’t see Ferrari back at the front at all this year, barring some Spa heroics from Raikkonen. 2015 they have to be close. 2016 they have to be at the front. The only way of doing it? Get Brawn back at any cost


Very well said!


The ‘mercenaries’ thing is odd, isn’t it ? In F1 everyone is a mercenary. And Luca must know by now that hiring only Italians because only they care doesn’t always make the car go faster. Maybe it refers to Fry rather than Brawn ?


I’m surprised at everybody’s definition of mercenaries in this context. Why do people assume LdM refers to Italians only as Ferrari men? As far as I understand, the Laudas, the Brawns, the Todds, the Schumachers, the Massas, the Barichellos, etc are (or were) all Ferrari men even though they are non Italians, having risen through the ranks or worked at Maranello for years. Jules Bianchi is French but it is an open secret that he is a Ferrari man.

Just my opinion.


Why is it that everyone point their fingers at LdM?

During Ferrari’s glory years in the 2000s, nobody gave him credit for getting MsC, Brawn, Todt and Bryne on board. When things go back, everyone act like spoilt brats calling him her they to step down.

LdM’s role is to oversee every aspect of Ferrari, whether it be the Scuderia Ferrari racing team, Endurance Racing, road car divisions, etc. He doesn’t has a hand-on job with the Racing Team. The Team Principal is responsible for that and reports directly to LdM, the same goes to the heads of other divisions.

Cut him some slack! Jeez!


Responding to: “justafan” above – the Maurice Hamilton article was posted on the ESPN F-1 website.


I think it’s partly because of the way the LdM conducts himself in the media. He comes across as a political prima donna. People don’t like him.


LDM’s Bahrain reaction was very public, and sent a very clear signal. All eyes would have been on Stefano.

Faced with that level of public support from your boss, would you stay in your job?


Have you seen the Maurice Hamilton article from a few days ago? More of ‘the buck stops here” thinking, among a number of other observations in the piece:

“Having Domenicali take the rap for the current mess is not worthy of a B-movie.”


His article is a disaster…


source please


Reading this, I get the sense there was a breakdown in the Alonso / Domenicali relationship!!


“I don’t think Stefano was doing the front wing or the rear wing or whatever by his hands”

Quote of the year (so far) 😉

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