It’s Todt’s lotto

Fer­rari’s CEO paid the price for a poor Melbourne race, writes MICHAEL TAY­LOR in Italy

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige News -

THE start of the For­mula One sea­son has not gone well for Fer­rari king­pin Jean Todt. Just two days af­ter the Ital­ian team’s dis­as­trous per­for­mance in the Aus­tralian Grand Prix, where world cham­pion Kimi Raikko­nen’s en­gine failed and Felipe Massa crashed into David Coulthard, Todt was gone as Fer­rari CEO.

But the com­pany in­sists the re­moval was not a knee-jerk re­ac­tion, even though the French­man’s de­ci­sion to re­lin­quish his po­si­tion was an­nounced at a full staff meet­ing in Maranello just two days af­ter the F1 opener.

Todt joined Fer­rari’s F1 or­gan­i­sa­tion with Michael Schu­macher 14 years ago and took over man­age­ment of the rac­ing and road-car sides of the com­pany in 2006. He will be re­placed by Ama­dio Felissa in a move mark­ing a re-Ital­ian­i­sa­tion of the mar­que.

Board chair­man and for­mer Fer­rari supremo Luca di Mon­teze­molo is ex­pected to take a hands-on role in the com­pany af­ter end­ing his time lead­ing Italy’s cham­ber of in­dus­try.

‘‘My com­mit­ment to the pres­i­dent (di Mon­teze­molo) had been to man­age the com­pany un­til the end of his man­date as pres­i­dent of Con­find­us­tria and to in­di­cate the new di­rec­tor of the sports man­age­ment,’’ Todt says in a pre­pared state­ment.

‘‘Hav­ing ac­com­plished th­ese tasks, a new phase of my life has be­gun in which I will have more time to ded­i­cate to my­self and my other in­ter­ests.

‘‘I will con­tinue to make a con­tri­bu­tion to Fer­rari in my in­sti­tu­tional po­si­tions and in those the pres­i­dent has cho­sen to en­trust me.’’

Todt’s fu­ture roles at Fer­rari in­clude the run­ning of its GT ac­tiv­i­ties and sports man­age­ment, though Fer­rari has not pin­pointed what ei­ther role en­tails.

Todt, who is mar­ried to film star Michelle Yeoh, is stick­ing to his pre­pared state­ment, but some Ital­ian publi­ca­tions have hinted he has been made a scape­goat for the team’s start to the year.

In Melbourne, Fer­rari looked as if the team was in dis­ar­ray. Arch-ri­val McLaren, drown­ing in con­tro­versy for nearly a year, looked to have the con­trol of a world cham­pion.

Fiat Group CEO and Fer­rari board mem­ber Ser­gio Mar­chionne has been run­ning through Fer­rari’s se­nior man­age­ment with con­sult­ing firm Ac­cen­ture to de-Fiat its hi­er­ar­chy. But di Mon­teze­molo has dif­fer­ent ideas about its fu­ture.

Todt, it seems, might have sim­ply been caught in the mid­dle as Fer­rari pre­pared its new, Maserati-based F149 to lift its sports-car sales to 10,000 a year.

Todt will re­main on the board, along with di Mon­teze­molo, Mar­chionne, Enzo Fer­rari’s son Piero, in­com­ing CEO Felissa, Al­fredo Al­tavilla, Diego della Valle, Christo­pher Gent, En­rico Lippi, Paolo Mon­ferino, Lind­say Owen-Jones, Marco Pic­cini and de­sign scion, Ser­gio Pin­in­fa­rina.

Gone: two days af­ter Al­bert Park, Jean Todt stepped aside as Fer­rari boss.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.