Domenicali steps down after Ferrari’s poor start

2014 F1 season

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Ferrari confirmed Stefano Domenicali has resigned his position team principal following their uncompetitive performance in the first three races of 2014.

Ferrari has promoted Marco Mattiacci in his place in charge of the team’s racing activities.

Domenicali said: “There are special moments that come along in everyone’s professional life, when one needs courage to take difficult and very agonising decisions.”

“It is time for a significant change. As the boss, I take responsibility, as I have always done, for our current situation. This decision has been taken with the aim of doing something to shake things up and for the good of this group of people that I feel very close to.

“With all my heart, I thank all the men and women in the team, the drivers and the partners for the wonderful relationship we have enjoyed over all these years. I hope that very soon, Ferrari will be back where it deserves to be. My final words of thanks go to our president, for having always supported me and to all our fans. I only regret that we have been unable to harvest what we worked so hard to sow in recent years.”

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said he thanks Domenicali “for his constant dedication and effort, but also for the great sense of responsibility he has shown, even today, in always putting the interests of Ferrari above all else”.

“I hold Domenicali in esteem and I have watched him grow professionally over the twenty three years we have worked together, I now wish him every success for the future.

“I also want to wish all the best to Marco Mattiacci, whom I know to be a highly regarded manager and who knows the company well. He has accepted this challenge with enthusiasm.”

Domenicali joined Ferrari in 1991 after graduating from the University of Bologna. He succeeded Jean Todt as the team principal in 2008.

The team scored its most recent constructors’ championship victory that year and Felipe Massa narrowly lost the drivers’ title to McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.

Since then Fernando Alonso has come close to the drivers’ championship on two occasions. Domenicali is the most high-profile victim of Ferrari’s inability to regain championship-winning form in that time.

Alonso arrived at the final race of 2010 leading the points standings but lost the crown to Sebastian Vettel after a tactical error. Strategist Chris Dyer, who helped engineer the team’s success during the Michael Schumacher years, was moved aside over the winter.

A disappointing start to the 2011 season saw Aldo Costa replaced as technical director. The team ended the year with a single victory.

Ferrari bounced back from a poor start to 2012 and Alonso again arrived at the season finale with a chance of claiming the title, only to lose out to Vettel once more. The following year Domenicali invested their resources in upgrading and improving the technical facilities at Maranello, during which time they offered little resistance to Red Bull’s continued dominance.

The arrival of new power unit regulations gave the team hope that it would be able to play to its traditional strength of engine development in 2014. But it has started the season well off the pace of Mercedes.

President Luca di Montezemolo visited his first race of the season in Bahrain during which his team’s cars were repeatedly overtaken. He left before Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen crossed the line at the foot of the points positions.

Ferrari have fallen to fifth in the championship behind Mercedes, Force India, McLaren and Red Bull.

Montezemolo had voiced support for Domenicali as recently as September last year, when he told media it was not Domenicali’s fault the team had failed to win championships in 2010 and 2012.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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119 comments on “Domenicali steps down after Ferrari’s poor start”

  1. That will fix it…

    1. Exactly my thought. Stefano wasn’t the problem.

      1. Although I agree that he wasn’t the problem, I don’t think I’m in the minority when I say this comes as no surprise. I’m guessing that this will only be the first of several big moves Ferrari will make in the near future to get the team back on track.

    2. And who is Marco Mattiacci? Never heard of him …

      They should have hired Boullier … They can try to lure Ross Brawn back too.

      1. An unknown for me until I read the Autosport note. He sells Ferraris in America…

    3. Removing Domenicali? Yes. Hiring that Mattiaucci dude? No way.

      So many capable and experienced guys and they settle with this. Not necessarily from F1, you can look at WEC or other major series. Remember Ross Brawn came from the Jaguar LM team.

      1. He started long before that in F1 at March and then Williams.

  2. As I said in the forum, it doesn’t come as a complete shock, however, 3 races in, LDM is a very hard man. Good luck Domenicali.

    1. I don’t think it’s only down to 3 races but say 3 years or more. Behind the factory walls at Maranello, a lot of things goes on that we can’t see. Since Ferrari won the last championship (2008), Formula 1 has seen two giant rule changes (2009 and 2014) and Ferrari has failed to capitalise on both and then playing catch up.

      It would be true that Stefano would be only one of the links of this failure chain but he is the head and he has been given a lot of years to get Ferrari back to where it belongs.

      Ferrari has been gradually breaking down and its ego has been crushed by a few other top teams, whether on track or even off it.

      I don’t think that removing Stefano is THE solution for it as I feel Ferrari has some fundamental problems to deal with.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        14th April 2014, 15:05

        I have to say that this appears to be a knee-jerk reaction by LDM. I guess he was expecting that bringing in Raikonnen next to Alonso would have secured top spot for Ferrari from day 1 but that’s silly when you factor the 2014 regulation changes.

        This new guy better turn out to be “New”ey, otherwise Ferrari are screwed.

        I think Domenicali and Alonso did a great job over the past years – there was no way to hold off Red Bull and Vettel but they came very, very close on more than one occasion.

  3. Cant say it wasn’t coming. Something was going to give. Its sad because Stefano seems like a really nice guy but that doesn’t win you championships. Who’ll replace him on the pit wall this weekend? Surely LDM has got to put a phone call in to Ross Brawn.

  4. ‘Resigned’ is a nice way to put it, probably forced out. And rightly so, to be honest. Ferrari were one of two teams who could have really capitalised on the new regs and they delivered a car so useless that even two world champions are struggling to get it into the points. Shameful effort for a team with such a proud history.

  5. Bring on Ross Brawn! :)

    1. Exactly my thoughts! He must be getting bored of fishing by now. :)

      1. Indeed :)

      2. My thoughts were more like: please don’t!

    2. they have already announced his replacement. read the article.

      1. I did read the article thank you.
        “Ferrari has promoted Marco Mattiacci in his place in charge of the team’s racing activities.”
        In charge of the team’s racing activities does NOT imply he is Team Principle :p

    3. flavio briatore

    4. First thought after hearing this news.. Ross Brawn returns, Shumi wakes up, makes another come back in 2015 and wins the next 3 WDC’s with Ferrari. #wishfulthinking

      1. That would be just perfect, although I would settle for one WDC ;)

    5. funny that Ferrari fans call for Brawn now when he was removed so unceremoniously in 06.

  6. Sad news, Domenicali always came across as a really nice bloke, but I suppose with Ferrari’s uncompetitiveness this year it is no surprise.

    1. I always thought of him as an Italian Martin Whitmarsh – maybe the two of them are just too nice for F1?

    2. I agree.. Stefano seemed like a really nice and likeable chap… but he should have done a better job over the past few years in getting his team up the ranks.

      I don’t even know who this Mattiacci guy is, but I’m disappointed to see another Italian heading this team. I think they need to do everything possible in their might to get Ross Brawn on board.

  7. I’m not sure what to think of this to be honest. 1 constructors title since 2008 is hardly good enough for a team of Ferrari’s resources, however Ferrari’s problem seems to be at the very very top. Luca can get rid of Dyer, Costa and Domenicali but eventually he’s going to start running out of people to blame.

    Hopefully when we get to Monza the tifosi will make their voices heard and boo di Montezemolo instead of Vettel.

    1. @davef1 Blaming the team owner for the team’s lack of results? Seriously?

      1. maarten.f1 (@)
        14th April 2014, 12:35

        Depends on the role of the team owner, doesn’t it? If Luca di Montezemolo creates an unhealthy work environment for his people, by constantly breathing down their necks, people will not be able to function at their best.

        I think it’s best if he moves on to politics. He’s had many successful years with Ferrari, perhaps it’s time for a new president.

      2. What’s the difference from blaming the team director? There’s a power pyramid in place, after Dominicali, the only one left is Montezemolo.

        Who, btw, does not own the team.

      3. Montezemolo doesn’t own jack squat, he’s the president of the company. It’s pretty obvious Ferrari has a leadership problem and these issues start from the top. Its his problem and he has done a very poor job to correct it. Now he has a car salesman running the team, what a clown show. I like Ferrari and want them to be successful but this is reality and it looks like they’re going to sink lower before they rise again. Maybe the board will tell Montezemolo to leave the racers alone and focus on other stuff. That would be a good start.

    2. +1
      nuff said

    3. +1

      Agree entirely @davef1

  8. This has been coming for a while now. Domenicali was a pretty calm and collected person. Lets hope they dont put an eccentric italian in his place. Also…bring back Ross Brawn (out of retirement).

  9. Good for him. I’m sure he’s tired of being Luca’s puppet all this time.

    1. In my humble opinion the one who should resign is Montezuma.

      1. What’s a chocolatier got to do with anything? :-P

        1. They’re at fault of Ferrari’s lack of speed. Alonso and Kimi just can’t stop eating them causing them being overweight. :DD

  10. “Deseves to be”, they don’t deserve it, they have to earn it. Just because you’ve been there doensn’t mean you deserve it. Build a quick car that is worthy of your two world champions and results will come. Blaming Domenicalli however is just nonsense.

    1. Couldn’t say more …

    2. Agree. Ferrari’s self-entitlement has always put me off them.

  11. I hope that very soon, Ferrari will be back where it deserves to be.

    I think you’re missing the point about sport. As long as no-one is cheating, Ferrari – and every other team – are exactly where they deserve to be. Perhaps this sense of entitlement is the root of the problem?

    1. Welcome to the subtleties of the English language ;-)

      1. I would probably not have mentioned it, or even noticed, if I didn’t think Ferrari to truly believe they have a rightful place at the head of the field.

    2. Especially since others can beat them on much smaller budgets.

  12. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    14th April 2014, 12:10

    Even though this has been in the pipes for a while now, it is nothing more than a facade of action to veil the interior turmoil. Domenicali was not the faulty component, it is the emphatic loss of Ferrari’s technical momentum. 2014 should have played completely into their hands, they are a “works” outfit after all, and yet they have seemingly produced, for the fourth season in succession, little more than an average car. Stefano was doing a perfectly excellent job, and I vehemently reject a) that this exit was preference for him, and b) that he is anything other than a scapegoat for Ferrari’s inadequacies…

    As for Mattiacci, good luck sunny-Jim, you’ll need it…

    1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      14th April 2014, 12:22

      I would follow that rant with a subsidiary, namely one that puts Aldo Costa’s name in lights, with the Scuderia managing just six wins since his exit, only one more than was managed with the perfectly decent car that was the F10, a Costa creation. Yes, the 150° Italia did not live up to its testing form, but if you consider the form of the F2012, F138 and F14 T, the term “knee-jerk” comes to mind…

      1. Well the dismissal of Chris Dyer, the man who engineered MSC and Raikkonen to their titles, after the horror strategy call in Abu Dhabi 2010 was also knee-jerk, so it is true to form if nothing else.

        1. @geemac Consider also where Aldo Costa is now (Mercedes, I believe?). Given their recent dominance, it says a lot about how much he was to blame at Ferrari.

        2. @geemac Consider also where Aldo Costa is now (Mercedes, I believe?). Given their recent dominance, it says a lot about how much he was to blame at Ferrari.

          1. Yup. Getting rid of two talented people like that so quickly was a major blunder @pielighter.

          2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            14th April 2014, 15:55

            @pielighter – Well, shall we examine the nature of the cars Costa has produced in recent years?

            2010 – F10: The only decent Ferrari of the post-2009 aerodynamic era. Ferrari only loose the title through strategic incompetence.
            2011 – 150° Italia: A disappointment relative to its testing form.
            2012 – W03: Mercedes take their first win, but clearly divert resources to future programmes mid-season.
            2013 – W04: A huge step forward, with Mercedes taking three wins on the way to second in the WCC.
            2014 – W05: Mercedes dominate F1.

            Speaks volumes really…

        3. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
          14th April 2014, 15:46

          @geemac – Excellent point. After a terrible 2009 and the self-inflicted failure of 2010, Ferrari wrongly decided to change the formula, and frankly, they’ve been nowhere since. I am a Ferrari fan, but frankly, recent years have just been a litany of terrible decisions…

          1. mercs domination is mainly due to the powertrain design

          2. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            15th April 2014, 9:16

            And yet they are two seconds a lap faster than cars with an identical powertrain?

    2. Precisely. It’s just more Ferrari posturing, along with the predictable talk of ‘we are the prestige of f1 & we deserve to win blah blah blah’. At the end of the day it’s still a team, and so it would be highly unlikely any single person is to blame. OK fair enough; if nothing else is working why not shake up the team players, but pinning the blame on one person by forcing their resignation is childish. (Not that I would expect anything less from Ferrari though.)

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        14th April 2014, 16:06

        @mskii -Well, if you’re angry now, you’ll be livid once you’ve read this. I wonder if Luca gave him a script to read to the media?

    3. I think the main problem this year is the engine – it’s getting ironic if Ferrari can’t build engines..

      1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
        14th April 2014, 15:40

        @fastiesty – That’s a tad unfair, the Ferrari engine has the potential to be a thoroughly solid unit. They’ve done a better job, even than Mercedes, on engine cooling, hence the small sidepods on the F14 T, and appear to have a seamless downshift system, which, once Ferrari has debugged the rest of the car, could give the F14 T an advantage over the rest of the field under braking. The true root of the problem with the F14 T is dual.

        Firstly, the software that governs many of the onboard systems, including the brake-by-wire system, is nowhere near as advanced as that of Mercedes and Red Bull, with software engineering being a weakness of the Scuderia in recent years. So to has been aerodynamics, with Ferrari simply seeming unable to get to grips with aero since the 2009 change. In fact the only decent car, in an aerodynamic sense, that Ferrari have produced since 2008, was the F10, which, as we know, was an Aldo Costa car.

        Ferrari will be alright, they just need four or five key people to transform the way they treat software and aero…

        1. I thought Ferrari were one of the fast teams through Melbourne’s turns.

          1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
            14th April 2014, 16:13

            @austus – Ferrari maxed out the wing angle at Melbourne, hence their inability to overtake anyone…

        2. OK, that’s more re-assuring – so they are just piling on the wing to make up for other deficits. Give them a better BBW (chuckle) and flight through the air and all is not lost. Maybe enticing Aldo Costa back from Mercedes could be a good way forwards, or Bob Bell/Ross Brawn…

  13. This can be either Good or bad!!! lets c what happens!!!

    1. how bad could it get really? two world champions fighting with the backmarkers? surely that’s impossible?

  14. This is the correct decision. Ferrari was good in 2010 but since then have struggled too much for a team with such a large budget . Even in 2012, where against all the odds Alonso dragged his Ferrari into contention for a Championship, Ferrari’s in-season development fell short not just of Red-Bull but also McLaren and Lotus. Massa was nowhere near as bad as he looked in the Ferrari as he is now starting to prove. Whereas Kimi is now struggling more than he did at anytime since his return. And you know when Alonso started to struggle then there are serious problems with that car.

  15. So Ferrari have decided to get rid of their Head-Of-Appearing-On-Television, that’ll sort out the problem…

    1. @full-throttle-f1 Stefano has officially been promoted to Head-of-Not-Appearing-on-Television-Anymore.

      I hope he can fill in the position at Lotus, and reorganize that team to show off his worth.

  16. Sad to see him go but sacking him can’t change the team that much. If I were Haas I’d be looking at snapping him up, the experience he has wouldn’t be a bad thing in a new team.

  17. I’ll stick my neck out (stay away, Adrian) and say that Ferrari have taken a good decision. Better late than never. Firing Dyer and Costa and replacing them with Fry and Martin didn’t help, Tombazis as designer isn’t helping, their wind tunnels are failing, their new motor has power and electrical issues. Hamashima can’t understand tyres, Marmorini can’t build good engines, Alonso can’t qualify well….that’s just too many people to blame.

    Fact is, Domenicali’s reign has coincided with a dry period for Ferrari. With the car they had in 2008, they should have won the WDC. They fought for the championship in 2012 largely because of Alonso and mistakes for other teams. Fact is, Ferrari have been rather reactive as a whole in their overall policy towards everything. Bringing Kimi back to Ferrari instead of appointing Hulkenberg was Domenicali’s brainchild, and not something which I personally feel, was the right decision. Fact is, they can fire all the people they want, but the problem has been at the very top. And no, di Montezemolo can’t step aside because he owns Ferrari, he can’t simply sell it to someone or hand the reins to someone else, who is unproven. So the team boss had to go.

    As for people speaking out against Mattiacci’s appointment, I believe that this is a temporary replacement. We might see larger roles for Allison and Resta, until Ferrari get a full-time replacement.

    Bottomline is, I believe this was the step Ferrari needed to take. Chucking out mid-rung engineers and replacing them with supposedly better ones wasn’t working. It was time for a change in the way the team was being run, and the overall mindset.

    1. Luca di Montezemolo doesn’t own Ferrari. He is the chairman. Fiat and the Ferrari family own Ferrari.

      1. As I understand it FIAT own Ferrari 100% but they just act as a “parent company” and leave the company to manage its own affairs. Hence why the family is still involved.

      2. Exactly the Agnelli family the family that owns Juventus club and FIAT group owns Ferrari, they own 95% of the shares the other 5% are owned by Pierro Ferrari

    2. I’m pretty sure it was Luca di Montezemolo who chose Raikkonen over Hulkenberg – being only his signature that was said to be missing on the contract. It’s not too surprising Ferrari would choose a former World Champion to be the “2nd rooster”.

  18. Good guy who presented a likeable public face for Ferrari – on British TV he came across as much less desperate for attention than his rivals at McLaren and Red Bull. He should go and get an Ferrari LMP1 sportscar team started, he’d fit in well there…

    But in F1 I’d worry that they seem to be regressing towards the Prost-firing chaos of the early 90s.

  19. About time. Most of us having been saying that this day will come for a number of years now, so there is no surprises. Glad that Luca finally found it in him to move Stefano aside.

    Bringing this new chap from Car Sales is probably a good thing. A fresh pair of eyes might just be the thing required. As qualified as Ross Brawn maybe, I dont think bringing him in is the best way forward. The likes of James Allison and Pat Fry need to be given their space to work and allow their recent technical reshuffling to take shape and mature. By bringing in a seasoned campaigner like Brawn, the team runs a risk of another reshuffle to suit his proven methods.

    Being a non F1 person Marco Mattiaci could allow the team’s technical side to run itself, while he manages the politics of F1 and Ferrari. We could see James Allison’s position and stock in Ferrari rise with this. This could be the start of the Ferrari buying into the Mclaren model of 21st century F1 management.

    Lets hope this marks the beginning of a new ear at Maranello…hopefully a positive one.

  20. This is shocking, and yet at the same time I’m not that surprised. Since 2009 Ferrari has struggled to create a truly competitive car despite their massive resources and what looks like having intelligent people in the right positions (eg Pat Fry, James Allison). I liked Domenicali’s way of doing business. He seemed to be a calm, reasonable man and a good counterpoint to the pantomime ridiculousness of Luca Di Montezemolo. Hopefully the new man can keep the reason and calmness Domenicali brought while also helping to lift Ferrari’s competitiveness.

    I fear that I’m wrong and Ferrari will slowly descend into political in-fighting, headless behaviour and dropping standards that characterised the team before the Schumacher-Todt-Brawn era. Something needed to be done at Ferrari, I just hope firing Domenicali was that something.

  21. I think it’s a necessary step but certainly I don’t see it being that major a step in terms of bringing Ferrari back to being a frontrunning team.

    The fact is, it’s now a decade since Ferrari were dominant. The world, technology, politics, all have moved on, and Ferrari have failed to keep up. They have relied too much on the arrogant assumption that they are the best, and will continue to be the best simply because they are Ferrari. But they are now far from the best, and they have squandered the resources and opportunities available to them, and gradually slipped down the order. Their second place last year frankly flattered a dire season, and on the current strength of their effort this year, will be very lucky to even have a sniff of being the fastest losers. They have, for years, made excuses about F1 being too aero dependent and needing to get back to a focus on engines, and yet when they finally get their wish, they are comprehensively shown up by Mercedes.

    So yes, they are probably right to get rid of Domenicali, but he alone is not going to be the single point of failure. There is something systemically wrong with Ferrari which has become a major obstacle to their success. The best thing they can do now is look to other teams, like RBR, Mercedes, etc, see if there are key technical personnel they can poach (yes they are fond of putting Italians into senior jobs, but there is no place in F1 for groundless nationalism at the cost of performance), and gradually set about changing pretty much everything about the team. It’ll be a very long way back from where they are now.

  22. Ferrari is a team with virtually infinite resources, with great engineers, great drivers, a very long and succesful heritage in motorsport. Clearly something is not working right now, but I’m not sure that Domenicali is the only one to blame here.

    Still, I don’t know, it’s a very big change after only three races in 2014.. it feels like they’re already thinking about 2015.

    The Tifosi will be happy, though. Domenicali wasn’t exactly loved. He was probably a bit too calm, he always said “we have to work hard”, but in the end the results were the same.

  23. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    14th April 2014, 12:48

    I liked Domenicali. He seems like a genuinely nice person. Sad to see him go, however it’s justified as Ferrari have been severely underperforming for 4 or 5 years now. 4-5 years too many.

    F1 is a tough gig, especially if you’re team principal of the biggest team in the sport. I wish him nothing but the best in the future.

  24. Not entirely unexpected, but I had thought he would at least have until the mid-season break to try turn things around. Perhaps the team was allowing him to leave to avoid having him than suffer the shame of being fired. He seems like a lovely chap, but at the end of the day his record isn’t exactly stellar as team principal. 1 title since 2008 just isn’t good enough for Ferrari.

  25. For two years Ferrari diverted attention and blame to Massa. In a new team he is out performing Ferrari. Domenicali is one guy, supported by many experts who he must have listened to in making what ever decisions he is being blamed for today. Ferrari are you not diverting attention again. If the Aero guys come up with a design to beat redbull and the engineers an engine to beat Mercedes, would that not be the solution? Wake up Ferrari.

    1. For two years Ferrari diverted attention and blame to Massa

      The same Massa they kept supporting when everyone else would have got rid of him?

  26. There were rumours but I’d be lying if I said I thought this would actually happen

  27. I hope this will have a positive effect indeed, as intended and expected. But I’m kinda skeptical about this move as I see the problem evolving around those who designed the car and not around the team manager.

  28. Ferrari needs someone who can keep LDM in check. Todt handled it great – promoting SD from within Ferrari and now the new guy was/is imo the problem.
    If you let LDM breathe down their necks the whole time the team will be stuck where it is.

  29. Ferrari lost their dream team of Todt, Brawn and Byrne, then decided to go back to “All Italian or nothing”, reverting the language of the team back to Italian from the English which was normal under Byrne’s rule. When todt stepped down and Ross contacted then to express an interest, they chose to go with his less experienced understudy instead. They lucked into one championship thanks to McLaren’s mistakes, and since then have succeeded basically because of Alonso.

    In the same time, Ross turned the sport’s worst team into winners, showed them how to build a championship winning car, dealt with the complete collapse of all its backers in the middle of a huge recession, turned Mercedes into a constructor again, rebuilt the team again, guided them to another championship winning car, and despite attempts to publicly undermine him by some very high profile politicians, left on his own terms.

    Now Ferrari have a vacancy again, and despite Brawn being on sabbatical again, they’ve gone with an internal promotion of an Italian with no relevant experience and no engineering chops. Good luck with that, guys….

    1. I think it’s a bit unfair to describe Honda as ‘F1’s worst team’. They had, under the guise of BAR, come second in the constructors’ championship, and as Honda they won a race the year before Brawn joined them. It’s true their 2008 season was miserable, but that’s because they pretty much abandoned any development in favour of working on the 2009 car. They were never quite genuine frontrunners, but I would say they were more consistently successful than, say, Force India, or Torro Rosso.

    2. Not just you but a few on this and other sites are making out getting an Italian is an issue based on a negative national stereotype. Italy has millions of people and there are huge differences within this as in any country. As someone with Italian heritage I find this a little ignorant but I appreciate people do not necessarily realise. For example if a member of an f1 team were to be judged on a negative stereotype based on colour it would be a disgrace and is not far removed from this. Please judge the new man on what he does, transferable skills or lack of, from his current role but please do not make out he will not be good or Ferrari will fail just because they employee someone who is Italian.

      1. My point wasn’t that Italians can’t do the job, it’s that if any organisation decided, out of a list of 10 candidate for a job, to pick one person based on nationality, sex, race or some other arbitrary metric instead of ability, that company is stupid.

        Hence, Ferrari made a conscious decision to “italianise” the team once the three big men left. That was a mistake, as has proven.

    3. Mark in Florida
      15th April 2014, 2:45

      Great post I couldn’t agree more. I’ve said it before LDM has taken the team back to the pre Brawn era. Ferrari is now just a bunch of screaming Italians going nowhere and doing nothing right.

  30. I have a feeling that there may be more changes at the team. Montezemolo has led the team for many years, and who knows, there may be a change in leadership in a year’s time or something.
    I hope they can keep their star drivers for next year!

  31. Domenicali should leave it, that’s ok. But it will not fix the issuee. Anyway, not so fast.

  32. After all these bitter years I have wanted him to leave, but now I realise I’m sorry for him, and I especially liked his way of speaking which is also clear in this article. He always expressed union in Ferrari, and it’s not his fault if the cars haven’t been up to the challenge. But witht he narrow misses in 2008, 2010 and 2012 I think he probably wasn’t at the right place.

  33. Sad news, always liked him, but in the end I suppose he had to go, Brawn would be the obvious choice, but maybe the next generation will win over.

  34. This decision should have been made back in 2010.

    Now give us flavio briatore , we know he’ll do WHATEVER it takes to win. I this point , Ferrari needs to get back into business of winning. In words of Bill belichick ” if you’re not trying to cheat you’re not trying to win”

  35. While the news itself is not a big surprise given the tough situation Ferrari is in, I believe that the problems run much deeper than Domenicalli. I believe the biggest problem Ferrari is facing is the Talent attraction. Some of my thoughts.

    1) Italian economy : Italy is going through a very tough phase economically. While the people and the country has a very deep and sincere passion for motor racing , other issues are taking over the region. In this kind of a scenario it is very very difficult for Ferrari to attract good talent. It is a general impression that a Knight in a Shining armor is enough to uplift a team. I don’t fully buy into that. While Newey, Brawn, Allison et all have made a huge difference they needs a good level of engineering talent to implement their vision. Unfortunately I believe that such a talent is depleting in Italy due to the economic situation. Also because of the situation less and less people from outside are willing to take offers in Italy.

    2) England – The silicon valley of Racing : Needless to say when a region’s economy hits rough patch, people move to areas with higher & Safer employability. All said and done today England is the Silicon valley equivalent for F1 racing. All the talent is concentrated there. There is nothing wrong about it. When the recession hit hard in americas in 2009 the IT folks who had spread out to other regions started getting back to Bay Area to reduce the risk. In the same manner when the general European economy is going through tough times it is natural for the best of the best engineers to move closer to London to ensure that they have better Job opportunities.
    I strongly believe that Red Bull would not have dominated last 4 years if they were based out of Austria instead of Milton Keynes even if Adrian Newey was holding the same position there. Same case with Mercedes, It is not a surprise that they are based out of England instead of their hometown in Germany. Lets just say Force India was based out of India instead of Silverstone would they be where they are in the champ standings today ? No offence to people form India, Germany or Austria , it is just a matter of talent availability in a 360 format.

    It might sound ridiculous to people when i say this. I believe that Ferrari can make a lot of inroads by strategically setting up an operation in the UK along with Maranello. While it could be a matter of national pride but then Ferrari struggling to finish 9 and 10 is also not a pretty sight either.

    I could be proven wrong, A knight in a shining Armor might arrive and bring all the right talent with him/her to make a strong team like Ron Dennis, Frank Williams, Jean Todt or Christian Horner did but until then this could be a radically out of the box thinking that might save the Prancing Horses !!!!!!

    1. +
      V.interesting isights. I’ll add only this – pay careful attention to upcoming McLaren transformation this year. Hopefully we’ll see ‘Mika vs Michael’ repeat from 2015.

    2. there’s 50 years of experience in the uk with specialized manufacturing industry, no wonder why they dominate. basing a team in the uk is just common sense
      the germans were capable of building many great engines – current merc powertrain excluded, obviously
      but, let’s just take wrc, with the exception of subaru, no uk-based was dominant over the years
      wec: playground of german based teams
      wtcc: rml was great but nobody else took it seriously then

      i think if the german meant it, they could be successful even in f1

      1. didn’t the mercedes engines (at least in the hakkinen era) were made by illmor, on the UK? and the Subaru, on the wrc were made by prodrive uk, again… aaaand if i’m not wrong, the engines weren’t from the subarus

  36. Firing Aldo Costa was childish so was removal of Chris Dyer, but replacing of Stefano is perfectly reasonable. It’s been so long that Ferrari has looked like a team which has lost the edge… the team needs fresh minds, someone who can motivate the team to perform at the top level consistently. They have two fantastic drivers & they just need to get the power unit sorted… they can challenge Merc… don’t rule them out just yet.

  37. This season is going to hurt more than most for Ferrari, because it is all about engines. This story of this year is going to be that Mercedes did a far better job than Ferrari at making complicated, high-performance engines under the new technical regulations. And that is sure to hurt Ferrari’s image in the high-performance road car market.

    Clearly, replacing the team principal is not a solution in itself. I imagine the only real solution for Ferrari, barring a change in the technical regulations, is to lure a bunch of engineers over from Brixworth with the promise of enormous paycheques.

    1. lure a bunch of engineers over from Brixworth with the promise of enormous paycheques

      That’s assuming their aero is sorted.
      For which, they’ll need Newey.

  38. NOOOOOO. Stefano seems like such a nice guy in interviews, I’ll be sad to see him go. However, I’m also shocked at how long Montezemolo kept him in charge of the team after so many years of producing average cars

  39. The big problem that should be sacked is Luca di Montezemolo for his pathetic complaining all the time. ”Oh we hate the new rules because we can’t win!” and ”Oh this has turned into taxi driving!” Why can’t Montezemolo take action instead of complaining all the time because his tantrums won’t get him anywhere. I’d love to see him sacked but I don’t think it will happen.

  40. This is Formula 1, not football.

    Is Paulo Di Canio now going to be taking take over at Marinello ??

    Last time I checked he didn’t design the car or build the engine !!

  41. It is said that this man was one of the biggest threats to Luca’s position in Ferrari (because of his succesfull work on Ferrari sales). Well, you know who Luca will blame if things fail.

  42. Wow. didn´t ee this one comming, I guess is better to leave before they made you leave. So with Dominicali out and Mclaren going back to Ron Dennis is the heads the one that are changing.

  43. So how long will I need to wait before I can buy my 2015 Fernando Alonso McLaren merchandise?

  44. Guess the comment sections of some less reputable F1 sites will rejoice as if Caligula has fallen.

    Stefano is a nice guy, but that might exactly be why he decided to step down and why LdM was ok with it. Jean Todt might look like a wee gnome, but from what I’ve heard he’s very methodical and keeps his head down and works. Ferrari became a little too good at excuses under Stefano. Still, I’ll miss the guy and it’s a shame they didn’t just demote him to a commercial position.

    The new guy won’t last. Fernando is probably already calling Flavio, LdM is probably already faxing Ross Brawn with insane salary propositions. Ferrari need a leader, preferably someone who knows how to get results.

    Despite being a Ferrari fan, I’m getting close to giving up on this season. Changing staff in-season in never did any team good (Benetton between 1997-1999, much?) in my memory.

  45. Yuriy Kvartsyanyy
    14th April 2014, 18:34

    He and Bob Bell might join Haas team now. Don’t wanna see another team 10 sec off the pace.

  46. It’s Di Montezemolo who should be stepping down !!! The man is an embarassment !!

  47. Brawn, Bell and maybe from 2016 will see something interesting from Ferrari, till then disaster …

  48. I don’t know, doesn’t seems a clever move to me.
    Ok, the car is not really that good, but then again, all the others cars are well behind Mercedes. We had this year only three races, fercrissake. I don’t believe Ferrari will be able to catch up with Mercedes this season, as I don’t believe McLaren or the others will, so why put all the blame on Domenicalli?
    I put this bill on Alonso’s tab. He spent the last three seasons using the press briefings to put the blame on the team (the car is slow, we need to improve, we are not fast enough, I am not happy blah blah blah). I don’t remember Massa doing that again and again and again, or Kimi. They do their job well or not, and then they go to discuss things inside the team, because that’s what a professional do; Fernando uses the press briefings (and the Spanish press) to convey the message that the only reason why he is not 14-times world champion is because his team is not developing a good car.
    When Alonso signed for Ferrari, someone on this forum said that it was necessary to see how the team reacts, as Fernando “takes all the oxygen”. Now we now.
    On the other hand, what is that Ferrari thinks they will change now without Domenicalli? Maybe they will develop the current car to win a second here and there, but so are the other teams, and that will happen with or without Domenicalli.
    In any case, that comment from Domenicalli about the place where Ferrari “deserves” to be at, it’s laughable, really. They had ONE YEAR to develop the car for 2014; the fact that the car is pestered with problems is serious, but more serious is that the team looks completely lost to develop a car AND an engine that THEY projected. So, sorry, Domenicalli, Ferrari “deserves” to be where it is right now.

  49. Very interesting news. I wonder whats next for Dominicalli? Team-Principal at HAAS maybe? That would be great for both. The Haas team needs experience.

  50. Kinda makes sense since the F14T performs more like a road car :)

  51. Mark in Florida
    15th April 2014, 0:17

    Who is this guy that LDM is hiring to replace Domenicali? Is it because the guy is Italian? He would be better off hiring Chip Ganassi at least he has a great record of winning in motorsports and his name still sounds Italian.[just kidding guys] Why would Ross Brawn want to work for that pompous a$$ LDM again as some people are speculating? I don’t feel bad for Domenicali at all he had his shot at it and failed. Nice guy or not he couldn’t get it done. LDM should have waited until the end of the year. This will cause a lot of turmoil in the team doing this big a change this early in the season. I hope Ferrari can keep it together or they are going to lose their drivers. Alonso isn’t going to wait for ever and Raikkonen is looking for the fastest ride available.

  52. GB (@bgp001ruled)
    15th April 2014, 2:16

    Ive always been antiferrari, so if this makes the team a little worse, than that´s good! poor chap, seemed like a balanced guy…

  53. What a disaster.

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