Who is the new chief at Ferrari?
First impressions mean a lot in Formula 1, especially when you’ve just taken up one of the sport’s most important jobs, at perhaps its most important team.
That’s why the F1 media pack was intrigued to see how new Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri came across during his first appearance in front of the press at Monza last Friday. Despite Camilleri’s long connections with Maranello and its title sponsor Philip Morris, he was relatively unknown outside the team, and his succession of the larger-thanlife Sergio Marchionne has increased the fascination surrounding him.
Marchionne was known for a brutally aggressive approach to management and business, and was combative when it came to dealing with opponents. This no-nonsense approach was well known to F1’s chiefs, who had been on the receiving ends of Marchionne’s threats to pull Ferrari out of grand prix racing if he didn’t like future rule changes.
The contrast to Camilleri could not be clearer. He praised team principal Maurizio Arrivabene, heaped plaudits on Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, wound back on F1 quit threats, and made clear that with “momentum” behind Ferrari there was no need for a revolution.
But it would be a mistake to underestimate Camilleri. “Sergio and I clearly have very different styles, however I think we have the same ambition,” he said. “I miss him, and he clearly was an amazing individual. A huge brain, boundless energy, and very ambitious, as am I.”
Camilleri is already suggesting a more conciliatory approach from Ferrari, but we will not have to wait long to see whether this public calmness flows over to hard behindthe-scenes business practice.