Ferrari turmoil continues as team chief sacked
The axe falls at Ferrari as newly installed boss Marco Mattiacci gets his marching orders
Ferrari’s year of revolution turned bloody at the end of the season when a matter of days after they announced they had signed Sebastian Vettel to replace the departing Fernando Alonso, they sacked team principal Marco Mattiacci.
Only seven months after being moved to the position from his former role as head of Ferrari North America, 43-year-old Mattiacci has been dismissed and replaced by Maurizio Arrivabene, the former vice-president of global communications at title sponsor Philip Morris.
Ferrari have not explained what prompted them to replace Mattiacci after such a short tenure but a letter written by new president Sergio Marchionne to all staff at Ferrari’s racing department, the Gestione Sportive, gave some indication. This talked about Arrivabene’s “thorough understanding of governance mechanics and requirements of the sport, the level of competition and the requirements of the circuit”.
That suggests Marchionne felt Mattiacci was not performing effectively in key decision making circles, such as the strategy group and F1 Commission (of which Arrivabene has been a member for some years). This may particularly be to do with the failure to secure any decisions in favour of Ferrari on engine development. However, that does not explain why Mattiacci – formerly a protege of Marchionne and Fiat president John Elkann – has left Ferrari entirely.
The letter added: “In Maurizio, I see the qualities of someone who leads by his strong personal example, his professionalism and the integrity of his decisions.”
Whatever prompted the move, it leaves Ferrari looking like a team in turmoil just as they welcome the man on whom they have pinned their hopes of future success.
The announcement that Vettel was joining had been awaited ever since Red Bull announced at the Japanese Grand Prix that he was leaving. Ferrari moved for Vettel as soon as it became clear that Alonso wanted to leave, consummating a long love affair as part of which it had been agreed some years ago that Vettel would join Ferrari when he left Red Bull.