Year Of Change At Ferrari Continues, President Announces Departure

A number of days after he had denied rumours that he was to leave the Scuderia Ferrari Formula One team, Luca Di Montezemolo stated his intent to step down from his position of CEO at Ferrari. After 23 years at the position of company president, and a member of the team since the early 1970s,  the 67-year old Italian said he was departing due to parent company Fiat’s flotation on the stock market, but it is no coincidence that it comes at a time where the F1 team has seen a barren spell of championship failure since 2007.

It is not the first major departure of the season. Former team principal Stefano Domenicali resigned in April as it became clear that another year of not being at the front of the grid was inevitable. Marco Mattiacci was brought in as a replacement which is seen as short-term.

“Ferrari will have an important role to play within the FCA Group in the upcoming flotation on Wall Street,” he said. “This will open up a new and different phase which I feel should be spearheaded by the CEO of the Group.

“This is the end of an era and so I have decided to leave my position as chairman after almost 23 marvellous and unforgettable years in addition to those spent at Enzo Ferrari’s side in the 1970s.”

Di Montezemolo was often a controversial figure in the paddock, being the first to critise the sport when he felt it was headed in a wrong direction and was heavily critical of the sport’s new-found emphasis on more eco-friendly technologies, labelling F1 as for taxi drivers earlier this year. He was a strong voice within the sport and led the Italian team through it’s dominant period between 2000 and 2004, when it conquered all before it. However, no championship has been won by Ferrari since 2007 and it cannot continue in its current guise.

Ferrari have not won a Driver's or Constructor's world championship in the five years their star driver Fernando Alonso has been with them

Ferrari have not won a Driver’s or Constructor’s world championship in the five years their star driver Fernando Alonso has been with them

Fiat is the parent company of Ferrari and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne met with Di Montezemolo yesterday at a company board meeting where it is likely that terms were agreed. It was not just on the F1 front where the company often shone but on the road car side of the company, Di Montezemolo’s tenure saw record profits in road car sales, year after year. A difference of opinion on the the Ferrari brand should be seen. Marchionne had pushed for producing more Ferrari road cars at a lower price, whereas Di Montezemolo wanted to keep the current low production number and cost, in order to keep the Ferrari name at a premium.

It is another step taken down the road for change that is needed for Ferrari to return to fighting at the front of the sport. In parting with one of its most iconic figures, it has shown that it is serious about those intentions.


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