Montezemolo confirms Ferrari departure

2014 F1 season

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Luca di Montezemolo has confirmed he is stepping down as chairman of Ferrari.

In a statement released on Wednesday he said: “Ferrari will have an important role to play within the FCA Group in the upcoming flotation on Wall Street. This will open up a new and different phase which I feel should be spearheaded by the CEO of the group [Sergio Marchionne].

“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.

“My thanks, first and foremost, to the exceptional Ferrari women and men from the factory, the offices, the race tracks and the markets across the world. They were the real architects of the company’s spectacular growth, its many unforgettable victories and its transformation into one of the world’s strongest brands.

“A warm farewell and my thanks also to all of our technical and commercial partners, our dealers across the globe and, most particularly, the clients and collectors whose passion I so wholeheartedly share.

“But my thoughts go also to our fans who have always supported us with great enthusiasm especially through the Scuderia’s most difficult moments.

“Ferrari is the most wonderful company in the world. It has been a great privilege and honour to have been its leader. I devoted all of my enthusiasm and commitment to it over the years. Together with my family, it was, and continues to be, the most important thing in my life.

“I wish the shareholders, particularly Piero Ferrari who has always been by my side, and everyone in the company the many more years of success that Ferrari deserves.”

Montezemolo’s association with Ferrari began in the mid-seventies, when he masterminded the team’s return to championship success with Niki Lauda designer Mauro Forghieri.

He moved on to other projects in the eighties, and in 1990 was responsible for Italy’s organisation of the FIFA World Cup football tournament.

The following year he was recalled to Ferrari’s F1 team, who had gone eight years without winning a world championship. He hired Jean Todt from Peugeot’s successful endurance racing team to lead them, and the subsequent arrival of Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn from Benetton laid the foundations for a period of unprecedented success in the early 2000s.

That success continued in the immediate post-Schumacher years: Ferrari won two more constructors’ championships and Kimi Raikkonen clinched the drivers’ title with them after taking Schumacher’s place in 2007.

But the rise of Red Bull in recent seasons has left Ferrari, and Raikkonen’s replacement Fernando Alonso, with no further championship success in the last six years. That point was made by Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne in response to Montezemolo’s denials during the Italian Grand Prix weekend that his future at Ferrari was in doubt.

F1’s introduction of new engine technology in 2014 was seen as an opportunity to regain the initiative as the sport opened up new developments opportunities in an area traditionally seen as a Ferrari strength. But following a poor start to the season Stefano Domenicali, Todt’s successor, became the latest senior member of Ferrari staff to step down over their lack of recent success. They remain the only one of F1’s three engine manufacturers yet to win a race under the new rules.

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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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56 comments on “Montezemolo confirms Ferrari departure”

  1. end of an era, hope they put another “character” in, rather than a board or a puppet. Ferrari always felt abit like a big crazy family to me.

  2. Hope this has nothing to do with Ferraris failure in F1 recently. He has tried to give Ferrari best drivers and staff. It’s not always you will have a Michael Schumacher era of titles. Hope he gets a farewell he deserves.

    1. Yes, But it was his decision not to implement a wind tunnel which was the root cause of the last several years of under performance.

    2. A nice glorious farewell would have been great, but
      I guess the millions of euro’s will do the trick as well. Still, Luca deserved better, like a more ceremonial position at the sideline.
      I hope a true Italian gentleman will eventually continue his efforts for the sake of the image of the Ferrari brand.

    3. Na, it probably had far more to do with company politics (FIAT that is) and the planned IPO.

      That said, Montezemelo was the one in charge when the wrong desicions for 2014 were made and by hitting out at the rules as well as keeping the blame culture in place (asking for their engine guy’s head after losing badly in Bahrain but others before and after as well) certainly showed that he was no longer the right man on top for the coming years.

      1. @bascb – Agree about FIAT politics and economics. Seemed like a sure thing that he would go. More when than if.

        The bigger question for Ferrari going forward in F1, is Ross Brawn coming back?

  3. We will certainly miss this Man who led Ferrari to great heights in specially trying times during his tenure. Grazie Luca!

  4. Should have got rid of him BEFORE he gutted the F1 team. Does little good now aside from saving us listening to his guff.

    1. Should have got rid of him BEFORE he gutted the F1 team.

      So when exactly? After winning 5 consecutive titles with Schumacher? After winning the WDC with Raikkonen? After winning the WCC in 2008? “Hey, you’ve done great up until now but we have a feeling that it will go downhill now so bye-bye”?

      1. I was thinking more of the 2010 to 2012 period when he started lashing out at people in the team instead of realising that Ferrari have no entitlement to success.

        Great tech people now doing the business for other teams and Domenicalli replaced by a man with the personality of a dishcloth.

        Folks at FIAT should have realised what was happening and at least put him on a leash.

        1. He also broke up the Todt, MSC, Brawn team as he had grown tired of the running the show. 07 and 08 would have been shumi’s 8th and 9th titles for sure but LdM disbanded the very thing making Ferrari great.

          1. Mark in Florida
            11th September 2014, 0:46

            My thoughts exactly. This genius decided to gut a championship winning team. He forced Schumacher off of the team when he was still a proven winner. Ross Braun left and won another championship on his own. Ross has managed to win a championship with Mercedes with the foundation he laid by going ahead and developing the engine early on to put Mercedes ahead of everyone else. Though I doubt he’ll get the credit he deserves for his foresight and wisdom. Yes Lucas the Man, the Man who destroyed Ferrari F1 with his arrogant decisions.

        2. It’s easy to be a Monday-morning quarterback and say all these things with hindsight.

  5. My ‘likes’ of the guy has gone up and down over the years.

    But most importantly, somebody high up had to take responsibility for the poor results of the F1 team. Ferrari itself always said how important F1 is to them; LdM showed his face constantly; and he should have cleaned-up day-to-day management much earlier.

    Bye bye.

    The question now is what will happen with the F1 team management. I doubt that Sergio Marchionne will take an active or visible role.

  6. It’s been a while since I’ve logged on to f1fanatic and actually seen a part of news that made me smile.

    Caio Luca

  7. Wow,
    I could sense it coming , but still,
    its a big headline.
    No matter how much a company has heart, faith ,tradition and fancy Red Tractors, The Mothership (Fiat) will always want performance, be it profits and/or glory,

    For all I know, Luca may have got Jack of it all and decided to do some other stuff, like politics ? or hang out with Ross :)

    1. I think the problem is that LdM spent too much time being bothered with politics and other non-Ferrari related things hence the fact their production facility is still in the dark-ages when compared to the McLaren road car production area. I believe the FCA board want more from their flagship brand and LdM has been out grown by his own vision.

  8. Great news! No more whinging!

    1. Oh, he’ll keep whinging, don’t worry about that. He just won’t get as much airtime :)

  9. And Emilio Botin (Santander) dies in the same day.

  10. He played a big role in the 90s to shape Ferrari back into a championship winning team. And nobody can take this achievement away from him. Though, certain times require certain management styles and now LDM helps Ferrari once more by making room for somebody else.

  11. From 1991 to 2014, Ferrari won 8 WCC and 6 WDC. N one can take those massive achievements away from him. He played a big role in the 1990’s to make Ferrari into a dominant force.

    He might have occasionally whined a bit too much, but I will miss his character in the paddock.

    1. The way I see it, is that it was time for a change for Ferrari. Both for the F1 team and for the company as such @kingshark.

      But yes, Montezemelo certainly did a lot for the company in sports and in business and deserves a lot of respect for it.

    2. Agreed, will miss Luca di Monty for the comedic factor if nothing else. He had great successes over the years and really was pivotal in Ferrari becoming the globally recognised powerhouse it is today. Perhaps he should have done a Webber & leave whilst he was at the top of his game but that doesn’t take away from his acheivements.

  12. so This is it. Ferrari chaos continues. Alonso wouldn’t get another champ trophy with a couple of years.

  13. So F1 keeps turning every “rumor” onto facts…

    Good luck Luca. Now take your family to Safari in Southern Africa (RSA+Botswana), dine with your friends and write a book.

    The same day Mr Emilio Botin (CEO of Banco Santander) died, Luca anounces his departure. Too much going on in Maranello.

  14. While I don’t think I’ve ever like the man, his achievements from 1999 to 2008 should not go unnoticed. He was also a formidable president for the road car department, as the brand is stronger than ever and Ferrari has a presence in all the right markets (for selling exclusive cars, not necessarily the morally right ones).

    However, his convictions, his refusal to change after the successes did eventually lead to Ferrari’s current state. In such, he failed to go with the flow of F1 and nailed Ferrari a couple of years behind the competition. But perhaps the thing I feel taints his final years as president most, is how he keeps thinking drivers should bend over backwards for Ferrari. Not just Felipe Massa, but Barrichello, forcing Schumacher’s retirement in 2006 (allegedly), replacing Raikkonen with Alonso, only to re-hire him years later..

    I just hope this thing doesn’t turn into a mess. If anything, now is the time Ferrari needs people to oversee the changes being made to the team, not the team having to deal with a constant flux in leadership…

    1. Meanwhile, I’m looking for a job.. Maybe I should send my résumé to FIAT?

  15. Despite his recent comments being usually met with disbelief by F1 fans, he has worked with Ferrari his whole life. It’s easy to remember the years Ferrari hasn’t won anything, but the most dominant era of Ferrari was under his control. Schumacher, Brawn, Todt were all his employees. In a sad turn of events even with stellar personnel like Alonso things aren’t going his way, and despite the sackings of Marmorini and Domenicali I hope this isn’t the start of a period where your time to prove yourself is too limited and being fired is a concrete threat, because I think that would hurt the morale and the performance of the team. I hope Marchionne gives new input to the team but without getting rid of poor old Mattiacci, who I’ve started liking more than I ever did with Domenicali.
    Hopefully Montezemolo can now come to Monza to watch his team as a fan without the pressure of leading the world’s most famous brand.

  16. Well I guess there comes a time when there is just no one else to blame/sack.

  17. Sergio Marchionne the renegade that launched the failing Dodge Dart to America . I don’t think this is the answer to Ferrari’s issues.

  18. Montezemolo shot his mouth off over the weekend and Marchionne closed it properly. I wonder if Montezemolo will go to AlItalia as others have written…

  19. Well that was a quick three years!

    Still, even though I don’t especially like him you can’t deny what a huge impact he’s had on Ferrari over the past few decades, both the racing team and road car business

    1. Yeah pretty much how I feel…. Does feel like it’s the right time for him to move on now though. Ferrari are going backwards.

  20. he masterminded the team’s return to championship success with Niki Lauda designer Mauro Forghieri.

    I love it when a small typo gives a sentence a whole new and amusing meaning!

  21. interesting news.
    ‘championship success with Niki Lauda designer Mauro Forghieri’
    I’m sure he didnt design Niki himself!

  22. I’m Italian, I’m very disappointed.. LCDM didn’t want to include Ferrari in the FCA company.
    Marchionne want to be new Ferrari CEO because of FIAT’s plan to valorize FCA in Wall Street..
    This is the motivation, not the bad F1 results.
    Marchionne said: “Ferrari must win”.. yes, obviously.. But Ferrari is the history of F1, as F1 is part of Ferrari history, not like Toyota or BMW that partecipate to win and given that they didn’t win, they quit F1.
    So, I’m very sad..

    1. Pretty certain that it is mostly because of the IPO (although its likely for Ferrari to get a seperate listing so that FIAT can stock up and pay back loans)

  23. “The end of an era” pretty much sums it up.

    It is a sad day.
    One cannot help but feel, rightly or wrongly, that F1 is becoming increasingly corporate.

    The Scuderia Ferrari has existed to race – the road car company Ferrari S.P.A. being there to help fund them to do so.

    I hope the brand does not get diluted. I hope the team takes positive steps.

    But it is still a day where one thinks of all Luca helped to achieve over the years, fulfilling the remarkable legacy of its founder, the great Enzo Ferrari.

    Ciao, Luca!!


  24. “Montezemolo’s association with Ferrari began in the mid-seventies, when he masterminded the team’s return to championship success with Niki Lauda designer Mauro Forghieri.”

    Bit of a typo there — if Mauro really did design Niki Lauda he didn’t do a great job of his head!

    1. What about Lauda’s head?! Doesn’t even make sense.

  25. Well this is not the biggest bombshell, the big one is going to come in sometime. One driver of the actual team is going out with 90% probability and the replacement is the 4 times champion with red bull sebastian vettel. They will publish the new when the season of f1 finishes.

  26. Personally I’ve felt Montezemelo’s, and therein Ferrari’s, failures have been three-fold…

    1. Personnel – Formerly the might of Ferrari appeared capable of creating a package tempting enough to coax almost any paddock figure into their midst, as was most significantly the case with Schumacher entering what was a thoroughly below-par Scuderia in 1996, and yet no such success was found with Newey, whilst McLaren successfully poach Podoromo. Key successes have been made with Allison and de Beer, successes likely to improve Ferrari’s 2015 prospects, but equally Hulkenberg was clearly wrongly overlooked twelve months ago and the failure to recognize Newey’s waning enthusiasm in F1 lost his #2 to McLaren. Aldo Costa, who arguably created the last half decent Ferrari (the F10) was also a crucial loss.

    2. Structure – On paper Ferrari arguably had the strongest team in terms of personnel`(both drivers and designers) going into this season, and yet the F14 T has been little more than a midfield car: this points to key structural issues (something de la Rosa hinted at when he noted the Ferrari simulator was “several years” behind McLaren’s). The concerning assignment of Mattiacci to team principle on the basis that he is a “Ferrari insider” suggests an overprotective reverence in the established team structure and protocol: things that must be changed if Ferrari is too catch up with its seemingly more dynamic opponents. The strength of Ferrari’s hardware, as demonstrated by the team’s continually impressive reliability, versus its allegedly primitive software systems (thus inhibiting design and development not merely on-track performance) could also be crucial: a mechanical team in a virtual era even?

    3. The future – This is where Luca has failed most directly. The failure to recognize fantastic racing in 2014 and widespread fan enthusiasm to further its own agenda under the banner of aiding the fans is completely inexcusable. Ferrari may feel it needs to alter the course of F1 in its favour to protect and ensure the continued engagement of Ferrari fans and to keep a key brand for F1 from splitting its attention to field a Le Mans attempt, but that does not call for fan alienation to be fabricated. And anyway, was a new “engine era” that robbed the former aerodynamic advantage from Red Bull not meant to be an excellent opportunity for Ferrari; was this year not “the time to win”, Luca?

    1. Hm, interesting points @william-brierty. I agree with those points being the main worries for Ferrari, but see especially the second point differently because of taking a look from a wider perspective.

      I think that bringing in Mattiacci has 2 reasons that make it (with hindsight) a logical step.
      First of all, being an insider – to me it means that he can be the one to make the internal politics work that seem to be tied in with the structural problem, while at the same time enabling guys like James Allison to get on with the technical work on the car. Secondly, we should see it more as a step towards the future: Mattiacci steps in, analyses, learns about F1, learns about what the team needs. Then Luca steps down (surely this was planned ahead for a while) and after contracting a new team boss (promoting Allison, getting Ross back, luring Bob Bell in, etc), Mattiacci can step up to be the new Ferrari boss, right in time with the IPO on the NY stock exchange (remember he is well known in the USA for being successfull as Ferrari director there).

      What we have then, is a guy in charge who a. knows the team and its needs, b. supports the new team leadership and structure as well as plan for the coming years c. is successfull in selling cars and d. has a good position with the new shareholders.
      In other words, it was just time Luca’s reign came to an end for the next generation.

      1. @bascb – Your explanation with regards Mattiacci makes a great deal of sense. However I would be cautious about two things: a) the interpretation of the word “insider” and b) the range of talents Marco has at his disposal. Regarding the former, Ferrari remains a deeply traditional and hierarchical organization, with meritocracy in the truly senior positions extremely rare, so I can’t help but feel that there was trepidation about shipping in an alien face that might pull up the carpet (with the suggestion being that knowledge of Ferrari will prevent damage to Ferrari), whereas Marco is a well known and regarded senior face within the organization. As per the politics, Mattiacci established himself as a master of them in the wrangling of personnel for his American sales team, so I doubt highly he will feel inclined to up-haul a system in which he is a) well-established and b) well placed for the Ferrari presidency. In that regard seismic cultural changes appear to me unlikely (if undeniably necessary) under Mattiacci.

        And then there is Marco himself. Can inside knowledge and management prowess truly trump F1 knowledge and experience in an environment where everything must be learnt so quickly? I would question how Mattiacci will be able to specify areas of development whether it be CFD, raw materials, the wind-tunnel, simulation or computing power if he has no prerequisite to work from, or no knowledge of his rivals advantages. If he is a fast learner than he should be able to recognize such areas, if not I don’t see where this structural revolution (and by structure I mean both the Scuderia’s culture but also its organization and distribution of resources) is coming from.

        What Luca’s departure isn’t is a passive changing of the guard, allowing the next generation to step up, it is purely a results driven removal, but it is likely of course to have the effect of allowing a regeneration of senior personnel (i.e. putting Mattiacci within spitting distance of the presidency for the reasons you outline). Hopefully the back of Montezemelo will announce a cultural shift away from a focus on rose-tinted, nostalgic heritage and make Ferrari a modern organization of the present with an eye to the future.

        1. Hm, I actually think that

          how Mattiacci will be able to specify areas of development whether it be CFD, raw materials, the wind-tunnel, simulation or computing power if he has no prerequisite to work from, or no knowledge of his rivals advantages

          is not all that relevant, as long as he will be able to stand with the guys who DO know the stuff. And being with the F1 team enables him to understand somewhat who it makes sense to take serious.

          As for this being a steb bourne out of bad results? I seriously doubt that Luca stepping down was something of the moment, because the tensions between him and the FIAT boss had been there all along. And he was not part of the new FIAT strategy presented a couple of months ago in the US (FIAT together with Crystler).

          I too hope that this whole shift will enable a new generation of people to give us more than perpetual promises that next year will be better for the F1 team.

          1. @bascb – It’s true that Mattiacci can put a finger in the air, sense the way F1 is going technically and put resources that way, but only really guys like Allison and de la Rosa can say what other teams are doing and how Ferrari compares. In that respect it is a shame Ferrari have failed to coax many Red Bull team members to their ranks. Without a full, comprehensive and detailed knowledge of the future of technical regulations and the strengths of their rivals cars versus their’s and the possible reasons for that, Marco cannot hope to accurately restructure Ferrari’s technical team. Let’s hope he’s a fast learner.

            Of course it’s not all about F1 with Luca, of course it was a removal months if not years in the making and of course Luca’s tensions with Marchionne and skepticism about the Chrysler deal had a lot to do with his exit. But equally whilst his exit was not the work of moment, Ferrari’s toils in F1 are of increasingly long duration. F1 is not a hobby for Ferrari, it is a crucial marketing exercise for the entire FIAT group, and having the widely accepted finest racing driver in the world and possible best racing driver of his generation on your books for five full seasons without winning the championship is not good publicity. “Lack of F1 Success” was certainly a key bullet point when Sergio was weighing up whether to show Montezemelo the door…

          2. “Lack of F1 Success” was certainly a key bullet point when Sergio was weighing up whether to show Montezemelo the door…

            very much true, @william-brierty.
            But I doubt it was the real reason. It just happens to be one the Italians will accept (it seems Sergio himself is not that popular in Italy, probably closing FIAT plants did nothing good for his image) and understand as a good reason, because sure enough Luca did not manage to make an upward curve in F1 for the last couple of years

          3. @bascb – Obviously it appears to neatly fit with the timing of Ferrari’s poorest season since 2009, and it certainly was a short term factor that perhaps cemented Marchionne’s decision to remove Luca, but as you say larger commercial forces were the dominant factors.

            What isn’t the case is a FIAT ambition to see Ferrari enter the more mainstream car market, as @Dmw argues in yesterday’s COTD. To build a saloon or SUV would be so damaging to Ferrari’s brand that it would undermine any and all commercial gains such models would make; and anyway Maserati are already FIAT’s brand of subtle, cosmopolitan supercars “for the people” with the GranTurismo 2+2 , the Ghibli saloon and the upcoming Levante SUV. If Lamborghini realized that production models of the Estoque saloon concept or Urus SUV concept would damage their brand then I’m sure Marchionne has too…

  27. I doubt anyone knows has any idea how complicated it must be to run a company like Ferrari which is literally as Italian as spaghetti. There’s a feeling that Ferrari has failed miserably in F1 over the past 5 years.

    It’s hard to tell from the outside but every documentary I’ve watched about Ferrari makes it appear like a great place to work. The company is making fantastic cars and is posting great results. Ferrari is revered more than ever despite so many companies offering supercars. Luca’s insistence to curtail production (which I read about recently) is in my opinion the correct move over Marchionne’s desire to increase production – if anything, Fiat should revive Alfa Romeo with Ferrari engine labels to increase production.

    I don’t know much about Luca but in my opinion he deserves to leave with the highest distinction from the company and Ferrari should name an iconic car after him.

  28. As a Ferrari die hard fan, i have a great respect for Luca for that enthusiasm he had for Ferrari and for his achievement first as a team manager then as a president. As for the reasons behind his resignation i have already expressed myself a week ago

  29. I myself as a huge Ferrari fan have only known Ferrari as it is under Luca di Montezemolo, so it is a concern to see him leave, especially in such a sudden way.

    I think the direction he took with the road business was fantastic. He ensured Ferrari innovated and stayed in the business, turning over large record profits, while at the same time keeping the brand very unique and exclusive. I see some supercar and luxury car brands offering cheaper alternatives all over the place now and I am simply disinterested in them. When I see a Ferrari, Lamborghini, or McLaren my head instantly fixes on it until I can’t see it. I really hope Ferrari doesn’t take that route too.

    As for the F1 side, LdM has done and overseen a hell of a lot in the past few decades, and while it has been not so great recently, his success is one that will always be talked of in F1 history, and he had very strong relationships with the team and with the F1 management, so I fear that his replacement will not be as strong a leader in this sense.

    Nevertheless if this takes Ferrari back up to the top for a while then it is a good thing.

  30. What an year to say …..

    Michael Schumacher lies in coma battling for life
    Nigel stephney killed in road accident
    Ross Brawn retires
    Stepheno domenicalli sacked
    Luca Montzemolo resigns !!!!!!!

    Truly end of a bygone era. All watched by Jean Todt

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