Ferrari management reshuffle as company boss expects instant Formula 1 success
Scuderia Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel
Posted By: Alex Kalinauckas  |  21 Jan 2016   |  4:11 pm GMT  |  71 comments

As Ferrari gears up for the 2016 F1 challenge, the team’s sporting director Massimo Rivola has confirmed that he has left the Scuderia’s Formula 1 team to become the boss of its young driver programme.

Rivola, who joined Ferrari in 2009 after 11 years working for Minardi and then Toro Rosso, will replace Luca Baldisserri at the Ferrari Driver Academy as one of a number of changes at the Italian team.

Massimo Rivola

Jock Clear, Lewis Hamilton’s former performance engineer at Mercedes, who has been on gardening leave from the German team since late 2014, has joined Ferrari has head of track operations. That appointment is expected to allow technical director James Allison to spend more time overseeing work at the factory rather than attending every race.

Baldisserri was once Michael Schumacher’s race engineer and had been running Ferrari’s academy since 2010. He is moving on to mentor and manage the career of Lance Stroll, the European Formula 3 racer and Williams’ development driver who was once part of the Scuderia’s young driver programme.

Luca Baldisserri

Rivola was the subject of a mysterious ‘suspension’ last May, when Ferrari prevented him from attending the Spanish Grand Prix, due to unspecified activities behind the scenes at the team. His future with the Scuderia was questioned at the time, but he returned to complete the season. His position was supported by Sebastian Vettel, who developed a bond with the Italian when they were at Toro Rosso together in 2008.

In a letter sent to the fans, Rivola wrote: “The rumours which have been circulating for a while are true, but I wanted you to be the first to know officially from me what Ferrari has decided: after 18 years of F1, of which 12 have been on the pitwall, it’s time to make a pitstop.

“Motivated by a great professional challenge, along with the company, I have decided to take care of the renewal of the Ferrari Driver Academy. The farewell of a driver as symbolic as Jules [Bianchi] is the spark which means that today it is a real ‘mission’.

“Also thanks to my previous experience, I was fortunate to work with many drivers and to do so when they were young, like Sebastian [Vettel] and Fernando [Alonso] to name a few. To think that the champions of tomorrow for Ferrari will grow in the Academy is just amazing.

“I have always supported thinking of the young, the Ferrarista of the future, and now we have one more tool to do it together.”

Kimi Raikkonen

The Academy may have lost Stroll, but there are suggestions that one of Nicolas Todt’s most exciting young drivers Charles Leclerc, could join the programme soon. He would be following a well trodden path; the much loved and missed Frenchman Jules Bianchi was another of Todt Jr’s Ferrari junior proteges.

The adjustments to Ferrari’s staff structure comes a year after the team made numerous changes to its management structure as a result of its disappointing 2014 season. Maurizio Arrivabene became team principal and Allison was given full control of the engineering department, while Sebastian Vettel replaced Fernando Alonso in the squad’s driver line up.

That reshuffle was followed by almost instant success as Vettel won the second race of 2015 and Ferrari’s chairman, Sergio Marchionne, has already declared that he expects the team to be capable of challenging for the 2016 title from the first race of the new season.

“The year of our return to the top has begun,” he said early this month. “The team is there and we’re not far from reaching the level of our competitors.

“The investments won’t be lacking. We have invested a lot of financial resources – the work done in 2015 has laid an exceptional basis for a season of success in 2016.

“We must win right away. We must get back in the saddle immediately and reset to zero the difficulties of the past.” Sergio Marchionne

Do you think Ferrari will be able to challenge Mercedes for the win in Melbourne? How will the team changes influence the Scuderia’s fortunes? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Three forty minute races with a reversed grid in race 2 and race 3 grid position from race 2.

Whats? so difficult about that?


Jock clear replaces pat fry who had a short stint with ferrari


Ferrari will be well up this year compared to last year, as they should be. They did not only benefit in the wind tunne,l but also on the engine side due to their involvement with Haas. Haas was able to test without restraint various solutions without oversight and that is why recent comments from Ferrari is so confident. So they have reason to be bullish. Even the big boss bragging is an ominous sign. Let’s hope the other teams including Mercedes lifted their game the being on the challenge. Vettel is a very good racer, but he is not the best. He can’t handle the pressure of a team mate being as good as him or that can even challenge him. Look what Daniel did to him and he threw a hissy fit.


Actually he hardly threy a “hissy fit”, as he took his poor (by his standards) 2014 season quite well. Let’s not forget the reliability he suffered which made his season look worse than it was.


When a company is listed publically it is important to keep the new shareholders happy by hearing all the positivity emanating from the management team. nothing new there. marchionne is a manipulator of some magnitude. you don’t achieve his status without being able to manoeuvre with style and panache and at the same time leave no one in doubt about what is expected of them. edgy stuff but i like it.


If there’s one thing said about Marchionne, it is that he has made some shrewd personnel decisions. In F1 the mantra is usually all about stability leading to success, but over the past few years, Marchionne got rid of the ‘stable’ Massa, Domenicale, di Montezemolo, Alonso, Marmorini and Fry and put a new puzzle in place that started to unlock the team’s potential last year. If these new changes are similarly successful I think Ferrari is very likely to be at the very sharp end at the beginning of the new season.


I’m pretty sure that all driver decisions were made by LdM until his departure, “Massa out, Kimi in” had nothing to do with Marchionne.


Two points:

(1) Domenicali and Marmorini left during the LdM era in mid 2014, and Montezemolo himself left in September of that year. The clearout under Marchionne was at the end of the 2014 season, when Fry and Tombazis left. Whether FA was pushed or jumped is still a matter of speculation I think?

(2) Marchionne is the chairman. Unlikely to be involved in staffing issues, apart from ousting LdM and installing himself in the hot seat. I suspect much of the restructuring is managed by Arrivabene and his men.


@tincan – apologies, I didn’t mean to come across as pedantic 🙂

In essence I agree with you, and in all honesty I am surprised at just how present Marchionne has been, given that he’s “also” busy running the whole FCA empire.

He is hardly naive and inexperienced, and I wonder why he’s busy sounding off about Ferrari being competitive from the get-go. Its not like the team need reminding of the pressure, and he’s too smart to be setting himself up for an egg on face moment if Mercedes disappear over the horizon in Australia….


It’s a fair point – I can’t possibly know who instigated, mandated or decided what and when. I guess I was just trying to say that we have a massive reshuffle at Ferrari, the bulk of which happened in 2014 at various points, and they had a surprisingly good 2015. Maybe this was all due to the work of the old team, or maybe the reshuffle unblocked a few bottle necks. Again, I can’t know from the outside.

Ultimately pressure tends to start at the top (see this very story), so I suspect that Marchionne isn’t without influence on these fairly big decisions, even if some of this happened it was before di Montezemolo put his pot plants into a box. Marchionne may not generally be concerned with staffing, but we’re not taking about swapping a few junior mechanics either.


My personal view is that over the last two decades, winning has *generally* been a function of resources. Whoever has the most resources has the highest chances of winning. Occasionally having the best resources will allow you to win, but those with more resources will catch up quickly (Brawn 2009). If you have both the best and most resources, you dominate.

I can’t see Ferrari dominate this year, as the status quo hasn’t changed THAT much. My feeling is that they are possibly on par in terms of quality and depth of resources. But I think that Merc have the edge in rate of development. So I personally see three scenario’s:

(1) If Ferrari are on par with Merc at the start of the season, i’d still expect Mercedes to out develop them, and have a quicker car at the end of the season.

(2) If Ferrari are quicker at the start of the season, they better make hay while the sun shines, as Mercedes will likely close the gap. If this is the case it will be a driver led championship.

(3) If on the other hand Ferrari are slower at the start of the season …. hopefully we’ll have another vintage MotoGP season to distract us 🙂

Scenario (2) is why I think Marchionne is crossing fingers and toes for a sprint start – to start on par with Mercedes would mean another season down the drain.


My Goodness, they do like to endlessly heap the pressure on themselves…

Marchionne will have to lynch everyone if they fail to win regularly now.

We dont see Merc being to concerned do we?

Time will tell.


I know very few will agree with me, I feel this year Ferrari will be dominent rather Mercedes cause i knw all of us are looking towards the engine aspect but this is the very first car of Allison I remember his skill when lotus with a budget of lower midfield team fighting hard with Neway’s car. I do know they have used Haas to get the great knowledge of aero so now money n wind tunnel wouldn’t be an issue for Ferrari coming back to engine the engine of last year wasn’t bad either they have might be 40 sec behind in last race however we should remember that there was a mistake from pitlane n after that kimi slow down a bit n Mercedes areo were best in the business n Ferrari was 3/4 best car in the grid so initially putting the pressure is not a bad thing, Marchionne didn’t try to control the team last year i hope it would be the same this year. I am Ferrari fan and will chear for them but the have a great chance to win this time


In the past every dominating team was expected to dominate again, until the didn’t. When you think about it many of those who predict the continued domination are just being pessimists. .


This is true, though when in the past has a dominant car been beaten the following year, with stable regulations? I think never. Certainly not a car claimed to be as dominant as the Mercedes is. So if they are beaten, it would mean the car wasn’t as dominant as claimed in previous years.


Perhaps an ignorant question but, for 8hours per day five days per week, what does one actually do as the boss of a “Young Driver Academy” ?

Let’s say that they have two or three drivers on their books as their designated “Young Drivers”.

These drivers are placed into lower-level teams and mentored/groomed to become better drivers.

So, the “boss” does what exactly ?

Or is this just a way of putting him somewhere where he can continue to get a salary until they decide what to do with him ?


Spends the rest of the time drafting contracts and trying to sign up every one of Max Verstappen’s sperm just incase it produces a Verstappen Mk3 offspring who can really race! 😉


I guess he counts the cash that rich daddy’s pay to get their golden boy into the academy… That should fill his days


marchionne is applying the ‘spread the stress’ method of management. he has spent very large sums and he now needs to be able justify that spend. nothing unusual but sometimes, just sometimes, the fear of losing spurs people on to bigger and better things. true, it is a gamble, but then again lots of things fall into this category. marchionne’s future is finite and he needs to get success very quickly if he is to leave his mark. should be entertaining at the very least.


Ferrari mean business. Marchionne does not mess about. They will challenge and beat Mercedes under Arrivabene and Marchionne.


Ferrari can say all they want but F1 is ruined.

Merc will dominate even harder, 2014, 2015, 2016…. Till 2020 when finally we can get rid of this hybrid rubbish.


Lewis will have equaled Schumi by then, good stuff 🙂


Wonderful comment! Full of poise and positivity. Always nice to hear the opinions of the luddites though 🙂


For all the praise heaped on Ferrari/Vettel for 2015, they got no closer to winning the title than they were in any of the Alonso years. They probably need to improve relative to Mercedes about as much again from 2015/16 than they did 2014/15, without being able to grasp the low hanging fruit on the engine side. I’ll be interested to see if they manage it, but I just think it’s a bridge too far.


Agree, Seb drove as well, except Mexico, but he was seriously flattered due to things like:

Improvement from his 2014 Dan Ric pasting

Ferrari improving from their dire 2014

Renault MIA again

Honda really MIA

Not really having anyone else in Category 2 F1 to overtake or race against

Kimi unfortunately still being as far off his pace as he was with Alonso

and Merc works team sandbagging


…and I forgot, Merc customer cars not even getting the latest spec Merc engine for say Williams to challenge Ferrari from Monza on…


Well 2010 and 2012 were not bad for FA… For the rest, only 2014 was a shocker.

Anyway, what’s the metric to judge “no closer”: Qualifying speed? Race Speed? Rate of development in season? Points per season? Or driver positions at the end of the season?

Of the top of my head, only the last one supports your assertion. IMHO you need to take a broader view to be objective.


@Andrew… I agree with your point actually. The 2015 performance was “magnified” by the aberration that was 2014.

I personally don’t believe that Ferrari are particularly close to Mercedes in performance, and as I’ve said elsewhere, even if they are on par in Australia, I think Merc will out develop them during the season.


2014 was an oversight, I meant the Ferrari vs Red Bull in its championship winning years, clearly Ferrari are closer in 2015 than 2014.

I judge how close they are on several factors, it’s not as dry and objective a formula as you’re making out. If one metric has to be chosen above all others though it would be the points differential, but even then it’s not a straight correlation (does it really matter if you’re 100 or 120 points behind the winning car?)

I think we can both (hopefully) agree Ferrari are further away in 2015 than they were in either 2010 or 2012 on virtually any metric. 2013 is probably a wash, both Alonso/Vettel finished a long way behind a dominant car. You can make an argument they were closer in 2015 than 2011 because Alonso finished behind Button as well as the two Red Bulls, although not by much especially in Webber’s case.

My overarching point is that Ferrari’s rise from the ashes is exaggerated because of their dismal 2014, and they’ll need a relative gain at least as large as that again to bridge the gap to Mercedes. It’s not impossible by any means, but I think given the stability of all the regulations I think it’s unlikely.


A lot of people voice this, by comparing the data but ignoring what they are watching.

The only similarity between the Alonso era and Vettel right now is both finishing behind the dominant car.

Alonso was finishing 2nd behind Vettel due to reliability and not on actual pace!

Vettel is actually pushing the mercs and at times forcing them to change strategy case in point Brazil.


Ignoring the fact it’s a debatable point, so what if it was solely down to reliability? You say Vettel was pushing the Mercs at points last year, in 2010-12 especially Ferrari was pushing the Red Bull to almost breaking point.


After such a bad 2014. There was a big step forward. But your right Alonso got a lot closer to winning the title when they were battling Red Bull.


Personally, I was thinking of a theory that the change Ferrari need to make is at the FIA.

I mean since former employee Todt took over the organization in 2009, the team has been struggling with unfavourable rules

Yes this being the same Todt who won the team’s last title in 2008 with the constructor’s


“Todt, Ferrari have made a breakthrough that may see them beat your five championships!”

“Quick, change the rules!”


And with Bernie sitting in his lap so he can stroke his hair 🙂


Disgraceful Random, he would never do something like that! Reckon he’s more likely to let them win four titles, then change the rules to destroy their chances, whilst holding an inverted pinkie finger to his mouth and cackling a long evil laugh 😉


@ Random 79

Hahaha maybe it’s just a coincidence


Not a fan of the constant chop and change of management. It reminds me of the chaos of the 80s.


Oh please.

Lets be objective, shall we? This is hardly chop & change, and a long way from chaos. This is the kind of organizational tweaking that all F1 teams do in the off season, as well companies in the real world.


Just one problem Signor Marchionne…………….Mercedes still have the fastest performer in the business, and, having just turned 31 is approaching something like his peak (much like Schumi did 15 odd years ago). And even the other Merc driver has found excellent form which will given him a boost no end.

Kimi Raikkonen could be the weakest link. Unlike LH he is somewhat past his peak and has lost a tenth or two after 15 odd years is the racing business. And that’s not a criticism either – it’s to be expected that a slightly jaded 36 year old will never have the ultimate motivation, hunger and desire of an 18 year old hot shoe (ala Max). It’s called the ageing process and it catches up with everyone, even racing drivers. On the flip side, he is a consistent points scorer and reliable – but he drives to the level of his machine now, not slightly beyond it.


@Gaz Boy-I dont really think there is that much between Lewis & Seb and I actually believe Seb was exceptional in 2015. If he drives at a similar level in lets say an equivalent car he can easily win the championship.

The other thing I really never want to see again is this ridiculous statement “but he drives to the level of the machine.not slightly beyond it”.. No driver drives beyond the level of their machine in fact no driver has ever or will ever be at the level of the machine continuously.Perhaps for brief moments in time like parts of Senna’s Quali lap in Monaco 88..Im certain every single driver would tell their was a few thousands/hundredths or tenths left at a few corners and perhaps a few tenths more that he is not even aware of.. Nobodys perfect.!


“.Mercedes still have the fastest performer in the business”

On what grounds is he the fastest performer?


Zero evidence of Lewis driving beyond his machine last year. Just saying.


There’s never any evidence of anyone driving beyond his machine, because it’s impossible.


Agree 100% GazBoy !


Are there any other pictures of Marchionne you could use James? That one just makes me want to hate him, surely there’s one of him smiling out there?


The guy won’t be smiling till Seb lifts a championship trophy.

Might be a while yet.


They’ll be close but Mercedes have too much speed for Ferrari to make a real dent in their performance.

Mercedes won’t be sitting on their Laurels collecting cob webs. They’ll be improving their engines &;new car. As Mercedes head stated it’s a new car with a new configuration. So last year’s car will not be similar to this year’s. Still be nice to see another team trying to race with the Mercedes. I hope Mclaren get in the mix too.


Ferrari were, on average, about 0.8% slower than Mercedes in qualifying this season. From 2014 into 2015 Ferrari made a gain of 0.45% relative to Mercedes (1.1% over themselves in 2014, while Merc made 0.65%). Even if Ferrari make a similarly large gain relative to Mercedes as they did heading into 2015 they will still be ~0.35% off.

0.35% is small enough for the driver to make a difference, but only if the faster team has much weaker drivers. Vettel was on average ~0.4% faster than Raikkonen in qualifying, but I highly doubt any driver could pull out that much over Hamilton so Mercedes would still dominate.


Mathematics and calculation means nothing to F1 if it is so than as the 2014 Renault started and closed the season we were thinking RBR could give hard times to Mercedes result we know in 2014 Williams were the second best Car however were overtaken by Ferrari I am optimistic because I see the gap at Abu dhabi was not too big and I am pretty sure Hamilton did not leave anything to catch Rosberg so the gap was not too big to catch up however I do know even Mr. James does not they they can but I stay optimistic 🙂


“They’ll be close but Mercedes have too much speed for Ferrari to make a real dent in their performance.”

I see you already have access to very privileged performance data from the new 2016 Mercedes and Ferrari cars!

“As Mercedes head stated it’s a new car with a new configuration. So last year’s car will not be similar to this year’s.”

Neither will the Ferrari.


Is Marchione not putting to much pressure on the team already?Should they not start winning from Melbourne,how is the team going to handle the pressure from then on?


They’re Ferrari. The pressure is on regardless.


I really hope Ferrari prove more a challenge this year, and all things considered, I believe they are in a much better position pre season than they have been for years. But although Marchionne has played his part in galvanising the team, I wonder if he is heaping unneeded pressure on the team already. By his own admission, the team fell behind with their development on this year’s car (the one thing all Ferrari fans didn’t want to hear), and yet he expects to be winning right off the bat? High expectations indeed, but perhaps a little unfounded, I fear.

Part of the reason the Schumacher-Brawn-Todt era was so successful, was that Todt acted as a shield to protect the race team against politics from above, and it seems Marchionne seems a bit too ‘big’ and heavy fisted to be sitting at the back of the bus unobtrusively. He’s certainly made a big splash in his first year in the sport regarding the cost cap veto, and going toe to toe with Bernie and the FIA. Arrivibene has had a fantastic start as team principal, but he hasn’t proved himself under immense pressure, like Todt had to 1996 – 2000…people like Regazzoni were insisting he and Schumacher resign after failing to deliver the title. All things considered, although Marchionne seems to have kicked his team into action, he hasn’t really shown he is anymore capable than Luca was, and Luca was battle tested.

I think Ferrari’s recent floatation on the stock exchange is going to amplify the pressure on the Scuderia to perform as well on track as they do with their road cars. On a side note, I think the whole floatation was a mistake, and was only done to raise capital for the parent company. My dream would be for Pierro the Ferrari family to gain majority control of the company again, and keep Ferrari as what it is – a mystical brand imbued with culture and racing heritage; not get quick rich stock for speculators to take control of the company.


Excellent post.

I fear Mr.Marchionne is setting himself and Ferrari up for a big fall. I don’t expect them to be challenging Mercedes this year any more than they did last year. And all they did last year was win a few races who’s conditions were very specific.

They essentially took up RB’s position from the year before – best of the rest. They’ll continue in the same spot this year.


Very well put indeed Raz.

I truly hope Ferrari are up to par this year and challenge Mercedes but Marchionne seems to be really placing unreasonable expectations on the team.

Regrettably, with the exception of the di Montezemolo/Todt/Byrne/Schumacher era, the scuderia has a rich history of huge pressure top down and then failing to deliver.

I do hope that history is not about to repeat itself.


To make F1 competitive the teams need to innovate and test during the year. To stop costs from skyrocketing there should be limits to testing – but to lock the car down to future developments during the year is just hurting the sport.I stopped watching races because I know who is going to win before the weekend even begins. The team that starts out the fastest at the first race is going to run away with the championship as the other teams and hand-strung to make any significant changes to compete. Stop the insanity – if teams can’t compete because the budgets are too big then fold up and leave. I rather have 10 competitive cars where all have a chance to win then 22 cars on the grid with only 2 cars that are capable of winning. Sports are more about entertainment these days then anything else. Right now there is little to no entertainment in F1 – predictability in the races = BORING.


If you think F1 races are “boring” now, then I’m sure you’d love the days back in the ’90s and ’00s where the gabs between the cars on the grid, during a race, were one and half/two minutes…. And those were just the top six. You must have stopped watching races a very long time ago.


…aborted starts…dyslexia kicking in!


is now stuff of legends.


Yet the sport was growing in popularity like gangbusters and is not stuff of legends. Tracks were packed, and F1 was undergoing an amazing expansion in success and fans during that time. We had all the races we ever wanted. We had V10s. And even those dominant wins, well, they looked epic and with TV ratings and track attendance clearly people loved it. It was fun to watch the 4 pit stop class in France 2004 and see a man deliver full GP of quality laps – at least you couldn’t say the were sandbagging and slowing down for any reason. And awesome last minute drama like 1998 British GP, which is an epic closing strategy move as you will ever see for a win in F1. That one won’t be topped ever. Even just the fact that there were aborted stops and drivers could jump into spare cars and take their position – that was awesome.

Opposite now, isn’t it? You have the domination without many of the tracks we liked are gone like Imola and old Ring, more sterile Tilke tracks, no engine note to excite the masses, and there is still that predictability. And all of it done in the name of cost savings, while engines cost more than ever in history, F1 costs more than never before and with each year loses more and more of it’s soul and what made it special.


Wayne, you have hit the nail on the head, people think back to “the good old days” and remember the great races while forgetting all the boring ones. People should remember that when you hark back to how great things were, you are comparing one season of F1 with an entire decade of racing!


You’ve stopped watching the races and yet you still take time to read and contribute to F1 blogs?


I said I stopped watching the races… never said I stopped being an F1 fan. I think a lot can be done to improve the racing. Fans need to voice their opinions so that the powers that be start listening to the very people that fill the grandstands.




It’s a shame you feel that way about the races. I don’t think it’s entirely true, and it suggests a certain lack of understanding of the sport.

F1 has often in its history had teams that run away with success. So nothing new about the last 2 seasons. But it’s also often the case that there is good racing to be had in the midfield.

If your watching F1 purely to see who stands on the top step then it’s probably not the sport for you. Try taking a more rounded view. A good pass (and Max had a few), is still a good pass, even if it’s not for the win.


@ dean….from an historic POV yes, you have a point, but from my perspective F1 doesn’t have to be this way at all. the fans/followers have for some time now voiced their dissatisfaction with certain elements of the show but nothing ever gets done. it;’s as if one inhabits a wilderness, you can shout as loud as you like but no one hears. if they do they ignore it!!! the answers can be distilled quite simply, open the competition up, let teams express their excellence by way of innovation and desire to win, not be handicapped by ‘faux’ rules and regs that hinder any chance of real competition.


Seasons where Sebastien won in the final race in Abu Dhabi and Lewis in 2008 in Brazil… those were exciting seasons. Right down to the wire…

Blow out seasons are boring. Who cares in car #18 overtook car #17 – Whoop – di – do.


I’m not sure that necessarily you should assume he has a lack of understanding of the sport.

I think many of us are cheesed off at the way the sport is going at the moment.

The latest stuff about Pirelli for instance, stating that they can’t build tyres to allow for the cars to go 5 secs faster.

Lack of testing is one thing. This is another. We as fans can only take so much of it.


I Completely agree KramGP!

I think that the doom mongers are having a detrimental effect on F1 at the moment. I understand people have the right to speak out if unhappy etc etc but it is just feeding on itself now. F1 is not very different to how it was 20 years ago (Different tech aside) its just people have this nostalgic take on the past when things were rosy and everything was fantastic, yadda yadda. I appreciate that F`1 isn’t perfect and improvements need to be made but please… Can we have some POSITIVE feedback cause this negativity is hurting F1.



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