Maurizio Arrivabene, Ferrari, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2018

Arrivabene’s future in doubt as Ferrari heads for another change of team principal

2019 F1 season

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Ferrari looks likely to appoint its fourth team principal in five years as Maurizio Arrivabene’s future is in doubt.

RaceFans understands from Italian sources Arrivabene was offered a new contract last year which would have diminished his responsibility as managing director and team principal. However he did not sign the deal and Ferrari has since retracted the offer.

Arrivabene is known to enjoy the backing of Louis Carey Camilleri, who was installed as interim CEO last July. Asked last year about his future at the team Arrivabene replied: “Ask managing director Camilleri.” However Camilleri’s position within the team is also believed to be under discussion.

The team’s technical director Mattia Binotto is considered a likely potential replacement for Arrivabene. Laurent Mekies, who joined Ferrari from the FIA last year and reports to Binotto, could therefore take on greater responsibilities for developing the team’s cars.

Ferrari flag, 2018
The far-reaching consequences of Ferrari’s unforeseen leadership change
Ferrari GT and Corse Clienti racing director Antonello Coletta, who has spent more than 20 years in their motorsport division, has also been mooted as a possible replacement for Arrivabene.

Ferrari has not enjoyed a championship success for its team or drivers for 10 years. It was the closest challenger to Mercedes in the last two seasons and led the points standings at various stages. But its failure to deliver a title has increased the pressure on Arrivabene.

The 61-year-old took over as team principal from Marco Mattiacci in November 2014. Mattiacci had replaced previous team principal Stefano Domenicali seven months earlier.

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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51 comments on “Arrivabene’s future in doubt as Ferrari heads for another change of team principal”

  1. I wonder if a change at the top will alter Ferrari’s ‘Iron Curtain of Unfriendliness’ to journalists.

    1. I hope not, they deserve it for some of the reporting over the last few years.

      1. @asanator Journalists are no different to any other profession in that there are good and bad examples of them. There are good drivers and bad drivers. Good team principals and bad team principals. Good journalists and bad journalists. Of course we strive to be the former!

        If Ferrari has a problem with what one journalist or outlet has written, their grief is with the people responsible. Tar everyone with the same brush and it only worsens your relationship with the entire media and creates unnecessary aggravation on all sides.

        Apart from a few words to broadcast media when they’d won something, the only time Arrivabene spoke to the press last year was when the FIA forced him to. I think the most successful team principals know how and when to use the media to their advantage. I didn’t see much evidence of that in his whispered belligerence.

        1. @keithcollantine Apologies, I should have clarified that I didn’t mean racefans when I commented about the state of some of the reporting that Ferrari has had to endure over the past few years. I was mainly talking about the broadcast media (in particular SKY) and much of the print media who like to fall back on the old Italian stereotype.

          I don’t blame Ferrari for acting the way it does with regards interviews and think that they are all the better for it. As a Ferrari fan I have had to put up with such garbage for years and as much as I would like more information over a race weekend from my favourite team, I can understand why it has done what it has done.

          1. @asanator That’s OK I didn’t think you did :-)

  2. Already confirmed by other sources. However, no where else is Camilleri’s position being in doubt being mentioned.



      Maurizio Arrivabene’s dismissal from the role of Ferrari team principal was logical. He was not the right man for the job – and was of less value to the team than Mattia Binotto who may well have been lost to Ferrari if Arrivabene had stayed on as his boss.

      That’s not to say it was expected. The impetus to action it was a decisive one and came from a Chairman, John Elkann, only a few months into the role.

      Reports elsewhere suggesting Arrivabene’s firing was initiated by MD Louis Camilleri are believed to be wide of the mark, incidentally, and we understand that Camilleri’s position is itself still under review.

  3. Maybe an opportunity for Zak Brown.
    After his (self-proclaimed) success at McLaren, he is ready to for his next challenge ;)

    1. And promptly blame everything on his current engine supplier.

      1. “Commercially, we’re very strong though”

  4. (Dun dun dun)
    Another one bites the dust
    (Dun dun dun)
    Another one bites the dust
    And another one gone, and another one gone
    Another one bites the dust, yeah

    1. secretly watching the Golden Globes yesterday? ;)

      1. Quite close :-) News coverage of the movie made me listen to some of their music again, and then this headline popped up.

    2. @phylyp A relevant song indeed. I don’t think “We Are the Champions” is going to be relevant for them for quite some time with these ludicrous changes to the leadership every single year.

      1. Ha ha, good one! @huhhii

  5. Arrivabene, IMO, has done a decent job and shouldn’t be replaced yet. They need some stability, rather than looking for a scapegoat.

  6. The rapidity of change of leadership often indicates an organisation in turmoil.

    It seems that the Team Principle and the Chairman of Ferrari are at risk of being replaced.

    This would be the fourth Team Principle in four years and the second chairman in a year, the third one in four years.

    Perpetual revolution at the top causes chaos lower down, disappointment, fear for the future, insecurity, and a lack of cohesion as politicking runs rife.

    Hardly the background for a successful recovery by a team which made mistakes in development, driver support, tactics and PR last year.

    I wonder how this will be helped by the TP being replaced by the man responsible for the misdirection in development which may well have cost them the constructors in 2018?

    Recovery is unlikely to be smooth or assure in 2019.

    1. Meanwhile, right next door in the garage of the most successful team of the last few years…

      1. and on the other the team that beat Ferrari for four straight years…

        1. Red Bull actually beat Ferrari for six consecutive seasons. They didn’t win the titles in 2009 and 2014, but were still considerably superior.

    2. One of them did die though, there’s not a lot Ferrari could have done about that, unless God/The Pope/Reptilian Overlords are in the in ‘Ferrari Management Matrix’.

      1. Possible though

    3. But its failure to deliver a title has increased the pressure on Arrivabene.


  7. Very harsh if he is pushed out, and potentially a mistake. In 2017 and 2018 Ferrari had a genuine title contending car for the first time in almost a decade (since 2008, only in 2010 was the car reasonable). This year the problem was mostly on Vettel’s side, so Ferrari were clearly on the right path.

    1. Pedro,
      I 100% agree, was just going to make the same comment.
      Happy New Year everybody. Forze Niki Lauda.

      1. Managing a team includes the drivers.

  8. I am gobsmacked. Will they never learn!

  9. They made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Redundancy.

  10. If this indeed happens, then I’m going to miss Maurizio and especially his press conference answers, LOL.

  11. Just because sacking the manager is easier than sacking the driver doesn’t make it a better decision.

    The car was fine, in general the team was fine. The driver was woeful.

    1. Exactly.

    2. We apologise again for the fault in our racecar. Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked have been sacked.

      Which suggests the 2019 Ferrari F1 entry might be the Llama-Ferrari SF72H.

      1. will the Llama-Ferrari LSF72H be designed by a moose?

  12. Maybe, just maybe, his mistake was not in managing Vettel better, calming him down and giving him better focus. But even then, it seems more like blaming the tool than the carpenter.

    In all, Arrivabene has definitely improved the impression of Ferrari (I’ve disliked them in the past, now I’m somewhere between neutral and moving towards grudging acknowledgement), and seems to have kept the team pointed in the right direction in producing their 2017 and 2018 cars, since I never expected them to close the gap that well to Mercedes and still keep up reliability.

    I just wish Ferrari believed in better continuity, and give up this approach of “perform or perish”.

  13. Not sure why Ferrari would show Arrivabene the door. I mean, sure, he’s not the friendliest team principal (at least to the media) but why would Ferrari care about anything else than car performance? And the 2018 SF71H Ferrari was very good, certainly the fastest car for at least half the season: on the engine side they were at least as powerful as the Mercedes engine, but more reliable, and on the chassis / aero side they introduced a few tricks that almost everyone started to copy. Not his fault that the drivers didn’t take full advantage of this.

    The only problem i see with Arrivabenne’s management in 2018 was that they went slightly in the wrong direction with the introduction of the mid-season upgrade. That didn’t really work out great and they reverted to the old spec for the last few races, costing them development time and quite a few points.

    1. @gechichan But the rise of Ferrari is more down to Arrivabene’s replacement, I would have thought. Arrivabene has no input into the technical side of the car, and his only focus is on the political and management side (where you could argue he’s not done the best job).

  14. Surprised by this news, Ferrari are so so close you would think stability is important now and aim to improve on last years errors from the management side regards strategy, development path and driver management.

    Here’s hoping Ferrari are not shooting themselves in the foot with this move.

    1. Agreed, I had the same thoughts. Another was that he was a big fan of Kimi, and he’s gone so maybe that also had something to do with it.

      But overall I think Ferrari’s performance was enough for Arrivabene to be retained. 2018 was a step in the right direction.

  15. He is already out according to Autosport. Binotto will take his place.

    Sounds bitter-sweet. I highly rate Binotto, but don’t see where Arrivabene could have done better

    1. Managing the drivers!
      The Monza fiasco was idiotic to say the least. Maurizio’s job was to calm the situation, give orders if needed. Toto Wolff always talks about equality and transperancy but did not hesitate to give a “sit down” to Bottas when in mattered. So it was a management matter. From then on it just snowballed.

      So a better handling of Monza race could have led to a different results in the championship altogether.

      Yes, the car is strong the last two seasons but I always assumed that is thanks to the technical director and engineers, not team principal. He is not technically responsible.

      Don’t get me wrong, I like Maurizio, in fact I like him a lot. But I think some things he could have done better.

      I don’t like Binotto replacing him because I think he is too valuable as a technical person, otherwise very clever man that’s for sure!

  16. Do Ferrari never learn – building a successful team is a process which takes time; chopping and changing senior staff is not the way forward and it delays the process. Arrivabene may not be the best team principal in town, but he clearly has done something right because Ferrari have made massive strides over the course of 2017 and 2018.

    1. @geemac

      Ferrari never changes their philosophy. Heads have been rolling ever since the Schumacher era ended, and they’ll continue to roll. The only shame here is that they’ve chopped off the wrong head.

  17. ‘From the outside you wonder why they don’t win every race. From the inside you wonder how they win any’

    A well known phrase by a well known driver from a well known fauxumentary.

    Im not even sure that is the case any more. Even from the outside they seem ill equipped to deliver, certainly a WDC

  18. It’s not in doubt any more………..he’s gone.

  19. I thought that someone at Ferrari would be sacrificed, but when it didn’t happen immediately after the season’s end I wondered if the team had become more resilient.
    The question must be ‘why now?’ After all, it’s only a few weeks until the start of testing. Could it be that the relationship between Arrivabene and Binotto broke down completely?

    1. One report says that Arrivabene was offered a new contract as TP but with seriously reduced powers and responsibilities. He declined to sign this shortly after the end of the season.

      We can reasonably speculate ( eg from published stories about Binotto moving) that the plan was to give Binotto more powers and reduce those of the TP. A plan that sounds so “failed business 101”: keep everyone in play by spreading the responsibilities to keep up-and-coming pushers in the team and so cause complete chaos as everyone vies for power. Forget the business success, get the power.

      We can also only assume that in the time between Arrivabene rejecting the contract and Binotto being appointed there has been further haggling perhaps with the CEO who also might be on the skids. But at least they dropped the ‘matrix’ management stuff but the chaos and consequences all down the line are very damaging.

      No way to run a whelk stall let alone a a multimillion enterprise in a very, very competitive and fast moving (in all senses) business environment.

  20. Maybe they are showing him the door because of the declining income from Liberty Media?

    1. Now that you mention it, yes, reduced profit can be seen as a slight on ones ability as the head of a company. Also, Liberty Media are wanting to introduce the budget cap, meaning change is necessary.

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