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.

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