New team boss at Ferrari as Stefano Domenicali pays the price for failure
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Apr 2014   |  11:26 am GMT  |  290 comments

Stefano Domenicali has resigned as Team Principal of Ferrari in the wake of the team’s poor start to the 2014 season. He will be replaced by Marco Mattiacci, the former head of Ferrari USA.

But the background to the story is not quite as many will imagine.

A furious Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo left the Bahrain Grand Prix early after seeing his cars overtaken on the straights as the new hybrid turbo engine lacked performance compared to its rivals.

Speaking at an event in Maranello the president said that Ferrari would take what ever decisions were necessary to get the team back on track.

However the decision to quit was Domenicali’s and he was not pushed out by Montezemolo, who wanted the 48 year old to continue, according to well placed sources in Italy.

Domenicali was part of the Dream Team around Michael Schumacher in the late 1990s and early 2000s and was always earmarked for the Team Principal role in a well organised succession plan.

He took over from Jean Todt in 2008 and won the Constructors’ championship that year, narrowly missing out on the Drivers’ title with Felipe Massa.

Since then the team came close with Fernando Alonso in 2010 and 2012, but a series of cars unable to compete with Red Bull and more recently Mercedes have left Ferrari in a frustrating position, especially with two world champion drivers in the cars.

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1

Am I the only one who thinks letting Ross Brown go in 2007 was a mistake? Ironically it’s the team that he recently built is leaving Ferrari in the dust. Wait, twice already.

2

I hate to see this decision come down. Whether from Domenicali or Montezemolo, this is the absolute worst move I feel the team could make at this point. (For the record, regardless of what the “well placed” Italian sources say, I believe it WAS the decision of the latter without a doubt. I personally think he is quite ruthless and would give the ax to ANYONE who he felt should be blamed for any situation) I digress. Right now, with the car having such poor performance, they need STABILITY! Calmer heads prevail!

3

Shame for Stefano, but someone’s head was going on the block. The new car is looking like a complete disaster, from the hideous nose to the terrible sponsorship placement. The car is awful looking and no better to watch.

I don’t think we will see very many smiles from Alonso this season.

The only smiles we may see are from Kimi because at least he is now being paid!

4

Even though they have come close a couple of times, it seems Ferrari have been on the back foot since 2009. In hindsight, it looks like the formula in f1 is moving further and further form their strengths.

5

“Stefano Domenicali has resigned as Team Principal of Ferrari”

James,

Does this mean he has left Ferrari or just the F1 team?

6

It seems to me that Ferrari has gone through a phase that combines complacency with repeatedly failing to cope with the testing restrictions. They were completely dependent on using their test facilities in their dominant years and – as the wind tunnel fiasco proved – they have never changed their operations to make up for this loss. Inexcusable really.

I have great respect for Domenicali – he’s clearly a very pleasant and honest character, but that might not qualify him to run a F1 team

7

Maybe Pat Fry should learn from Domenicali and step down on his own before he gets fired!!

8

Always good to make your own mind up and I imagine he was let down by the teams developing the car and didn’t fancy a whole season of taking the blame .

Sometimes its nice to step out of the fire and enjoy life and F1.

Ferrari haven’t done that bad with mr sunday and have been challengers for most seasons since the schumi/brawn years.

too say is not good enough and the fans wont stand for it is rubbish as they are loyal and will cheer the team on till the end. they just like a grumble .

9

OK, let’s see. Martin Whittmarsh, Stefano, and Bob Bell out of work, and Gene Haas who will obviously be looking for people with F1 experience. Hmmm.

10

Haas: “Okay guys, I’m building a new F1 team and I need some experienced guys. Bob, you’re obviously the only technical guy so you’re my Technical Guy. You other two are both ex team leader guys, but I only need one Team Leader Guy so you’re going to have to fight to the death in this cobra pit I just designed.”

Whitmarsh: “Er…I’d love to help you out but I can’t right now because I have to put the kettle on…”

Haas: “Okay then, it looks like it’s down to you Stefano. Stefano?”

11

I wonder if Ferrari are taking a page from Mercedes book and splitting the traditional team principle roll in two, with Toto handling the business side, and Paddy the technical. Maybe with Marco as the business manager, and maybe someone like James Allison as the technical manager.

12

It’s a pity Domenicali is to be blamed, I thought it’s a team effort. Ferrari has a long history in F1 and 21 years of dry spell too, well branded and marketed but not necessarily the best team or best sportscar manufacturer IMHO.

Domenicali would’ve have been a good spokesman for F1, friendly, very approachable and carrying a genuine smile.

And the new guy has no motorsport experience, there you go, the Italian family style of running a team and it’s definitely not a step forward. Let’s see how further back they will be, not a good feeling. Even I don’t like Flavio but I think he will be more suitable though.

Maybe they should sack Alonso and Kimi too, I don’t mind getting a fat paycheck to sit out this year and watch a few races with a few magnum ice cream.

13

Personally I think Domenicali cops a bit more than he really deserves. To be fair, he had been team principal during a period mostly ruled by Red Bull. It’s not like every year a different team was winning and Ferrari were never one of those teams. Four years running, both titles every year. It hasn’t just been Domenicali and Ferrari not able to keep up with Red Bull.

What makes it look particularly bad now though is that this was supposed to be the year when they had a shot. Aero regs changed significantly, exhaust regs (an area of significance for Red Bull over the years) changed significantly, the new power units (with Red Bull’s Renault getting off to a terrible start), etc. And of course, with Ferrari supposedly being engine specialists, 2014 was their big chance to basically do what Mercedes are looking like doing now. Running so far away with the titles in the first half of the year that no amount of development from the other teams and engine manufacturers will allow them to catch up. But is it Domenicali’s fault the power unit isn’t up to scratch? I would imagine that’s a separate team of people entirely.

14

Damon Hill was on the late Sunday flight from Heathrow to Bologna last night.

Coincidence…. ?

15

Haha good one! Probably why they made the replacement announcement so quickly. Didn’t want Ted Kravitz surrounded by pockets of passionate tifosi outside the gates of Gestione Sportiva (Ferrari’s HQ) all day reporting! Maybe the madness of football’s Transfer Deadline Day has had further-reaching implications than we thought:P

16

Very very sad development. Such a nice guy and a gentleman but it had to be done. And no, Domenicali did not walk out himself. He was given the gentlemans way out.

But you have to say Ferrari has lost out on so many fronts something had to be done.

17

Surprised that SD (like Massa) actually lasted so long as he did…

18

Ferrari should start planting hundreds of sea bass wherever the heck Ross Brawn goes fishing, so he’d be fed up by the lack of a good challenge and would maybe consider a return to F1 (after rigging it so the only rental cars he ever gets are Ferraris, of course)

20

Domenicali’s announcement is pretty big news in itself, but the more I think about it the more I find his replacement really intriguing.

I find it quite fascinating they’ve picked someone from outside motor racing, and parachuted him straight into the top job running the team. That’s very rare in Formula 1, where most guys work their way up the greasy pole in F1/motor sport, or – if they have come from outside the sport – they spend a few years learning the ropes. Martin Whitmarsh had a twenty year apprenticeship before he became McLaren team principal, having joined from what was then British Aerospace!

The obvious comparison to be made here, ostensibly, is Flavio Briatore. He openly knew little about the non-commercial intricacies of F1, but made sure he employed people who did know these things, and gave them the resources to the job without lavishly spending money willy-nilly. Maybe this is the role Luca has in mind for Mr Matiacci; a guy coming in to manage the individuals and make sure that they are put in the right places to do the right job (if that is not currently the case).

Maybe they are also counting on any wider motivational skills he has acquired from business to help the team go the extra mile in difficult times, and to help inspire Alonso to stay? In this sense he would be even better than Briatore; for every individual who did well under Flav, there were others whose lives were made a real misery by him (Trulli, Wurz, Johnny Herbert). These, along with the unforgivable saga of Singapore 2008, often go some way to undermining Briatore’s achievements – leading a team to four drivers’ and three constructors’ titles with a middle-of-the-road budget.

Either way, it’s a fascinating appointment and it’ll be interesting to see how things pan out.

21

The Ferrari engine and Alonso’s speed & determination have gone some way to keeping Ferrari in the frame but with the engine now weak Alonso alone isn’t enough. Is it possible to build a winning car outside of England? The only significant piece of F1 equipment built elsewhere is the previously brilliant Renault engine. Toyota paid the price for setting up in Germany and BMW did not cover themselves in F1 glory. Of course Ferrari aren’t going to move away from Modena so they will either have to accept 2nd or 3rd best or tempt some top people from other UK based teams.

22

I hope the next volunteer in resignation, I hope it would be the emperor himself, the LDM ? Then we could talk business at Scuderia.

23

Ross Brawn is proven commodity in rebuilding and winning for Ferrari, Honda / Brawn GP and laying it out for Merc.

Cannot think of anyone more qualified.

Will know after the fishing vacation if they come together.

24

Why is there so much finger pointing at Stefano this season.

The obvious culprit is the power unit. Whoever designed that overweight, fuel slurping, underpowered piece of cr*p should be the one shown the door.

Strangely, the other Ferrari powered teams are not setting the world on fire either, so there is ample evidence to show the power unit is under performing.

It’s a sorry day when Ferrari can’t design a decent motor anymore. Their chassis and aero were always marginal, but the motors could be relied on to be close to the best, if not THE best.

25

The result at Bahrain was expected by the team. Other tracks will suit the Ferrari Powertrain better

26

Luca Marmorini

27
Valentino from montreal

Through out history , every empire has fallen and eventually ends .. The Egyptians , the Romans , the American empire will eventually fall too ..

Ferrari has fallen ! As an Italian , I knew that day would come … Luca had enough of the ” Todt-Schumacher” alliance back in 2005 .. He felt like a second skipper , saw his role within the company in jeapordy , never imagined in his wildest dreams the success Ferrari would have achieved under Todt’s leadership … Jealous little man …

So what does he do ? Shatters Ferrari into a million pieces because if his EGO … He could have given the Team Principal role to Ross Brawn .. Big mistake for Ferrari …

He could of left well enough alone … This is all his fault …

In other sports , when a team loses , they always fire the coach … I don’t agree … First to go should be those over-paid pre-Madonnas spoiled athletes … If there’s one who deserves the Axe it should be ‘Nando .. He lost out twice … Maybe the technical director would’nt needed to step down … Ferrari is a mess , Ferrari is finished .., Finito !!

Maybe someday , Vettel can bring Ferrari back to the top !

( End of rant )

28

Take two aspirin and call me in the morning.

29

Alonso deserves the axe?? Are you serious mate? Fernando is the reason Ferrari have been competitive this long. And as far as Vettel is concerned, he can race only if the car is good. This year he is getting beaten by Dan big time. If he was in the Ferrari in 2012 I can assure you they would not have challenged for the WDC

30

Maybe Vettel has the ability to lead the team in the way Schumi did so that they can win titles again.

31

Lol getting beaten big time? what are you watching. In australia vettel had a problem in quali and race. In malysia he beat Dan soundly and in bahrain vettel hada problem with his power unit.. Maybe i should remind you of the 2004 season when fernando got handely beaten by trulli so much that flavio had to step in in the end..

32

Daniel had a botched pit stop in Malaysia. Otherwise he would have been in the points. And why is it that Vettel fans forget the poor pitstop in Malaysia and talk of Pu problems for Vettel when Vet is beaten by Dan?

33

Well put Anirudh

Vettel is the most vaunted pilot in the history of F1 ever since 1950. He simply even could not get the better of daniel ricciardo.

We all know how vettel and Newey co were able to win the WDC’S, now once the tables are turned newey and HOrner loathe about regulation changes all day long whereas the so called 4X WDC was warned by TOdt and ROn.

A average pilot who was flattered by the quickest package, now easily gets beaten by another aussie in the form Daniel

34

Vettel 23 points

Ricciardo 12 points

35

Well according to Merc Richiardo gained .4s a lap due to fuel advantage. Vettel has had technical problems in Melbourne n Bahrain. He had a smooth weekend in Sepang n he blew the wide smile off of richiardo by a second in quali n beat him in the race

36

shocker… but in the end no shocker… sad to see him go. Stefano is a nice likeable guy but without results to show… it’s practically a suicide job.

I wonder what the new guy makes of Kimi…

37

Ah well; that’s the way it goes.

Stephano did the right thing, this time.

I wonder who is going to fill this role?

Good luck Stephano.

38

I believe it is called Formula… because everything needs to be balance, the engine the aero, tyres, etc… everything, and for that you need someone who will be able to make people talk and understand each other, working as a team toward Excellency. Stefano was not the one, and Luca DM is not either… he is more worry about his personal politics than Ferrari.

SO even if they had the best engine, the rest is missing, aero, electronics, etc…. reminds me of Williams when they had the BMW engine, most powerful engine at the time, but no world champions… ferrari needs a real leader.

39

One should never underestimate L.d Montezemolo he was not choosen as EU business manager of the year for nothing.His old friend Ronn Deniss

fired the ” Gun” first,and as Ronn motto says. No substitute for failures.

At Maranello, beside Domenicali three more are walking on the very thin ice, namely Pat Fry Tombazis and Luca Marmorini, what may save Marmorini his engines are bullet proof in reliability,as for some contributors to J.A site who beat the drum for Ross Brawn return Ross Brawn is a very smart Engineer/businiss man, he done well and he knows it,he’s also awere the Neon lights of yesteryear are no longer on the menu and to be a yesterday bred is not the option for Ross Brawn.

40

Man very well said. Listed all 3 on thin ice

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