Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari, Albert Park, 2014

Domenicali steps down after Ferrari’s poor start

2014 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari, Albert Park, 2014Ferrari confirmed Stefano Domenicali has resigned his position team principal following their uncompetitive performance in the first three races of 2014.

Ferrari has promoted Marco Mattiacci in his place in charge of the team’s racing activities.

Domenicali said: “There are special moments that come along in everyone’s professional life, when one needs courage to take difficult and very agonising decisions.”

“It is time for a significant change. As the boss, I take responsibility, as I have always done, for our current situation. This decision has been taken with the aim of doing something to shake things up and for the good of this group of people that I feel very close to.

“With all my heart, I thank all the men and women in the team, the drivers and the partners for the wonderful relationship we have enjoyed over all these years. I hope that very soon, Ferrari will be back where it deserves to be. My final words of thanks go to our president, for having always supported me and to all our fans. I only regret that we have been unable to harvest what we worked so hard to sow in recent years.”

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said he thanks Domenicali “for his constant dedication and effort, but also for the great sense of responsibility he has shown, even today, in always putting the interests of Ferrari above all else”.

“I hold Domenicali in esteem and I have watched him grow professionally over the twenty three years we have worked together, I now wish him every success for the future.

“I also want to wish all the best to Marco Mattiacci, whom I know to be a highly regarded manager and who knows the company well. He has accepted this challenge with enthusiasm.”

Domenicali joined Ferrari in 1991 after graduating from the University of Bologna. He succeeded Jean Todt as the team principal in 2008.

The team scored its most recent constructors’ championship victory that year and Felipe Massa narrowly lost the drivers’ title to McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.

Since then Fernando Alonso has come close to the drivers’ championship on two occasions. Domenicali is the most high-profile victim of Ferrari’s inability to regain championship-winning form in that time.

Felipe Massa, Williams, Bahrain International Circuit, 2014Alonso arrived at the final race of 2010 leading the points standings but lost the crown to Sebastian Vettel after a tactical error. Strategist Chris Dyer, who helped engineer the team’s success during the Michael Schumacher years, was moved aside over the winter.

A disappointing start to the 2011 season saw Aldo Costa replaced as technical director. The team ended the year with a single victory.

Ferrari bounced back from a poor start to 2012 and Alonso again arrived at the season finale with a chance of claiming the title, only to lose out to Vettel once more. The following year Domenicali invested their resources in upgrading and improving the technical facilities at Maranello, during which time they offered little resistance to Red Bull’s continued dominance.

The arrival of new power unit regulations gave the team hope that it would be able to play to its traditional strength of engine development in 2014. But it has started the season well off the pace of Mercedes.

President Luca di Montezemolo visited his first race of the season in Bahrain during which his team’s cars were repeatedly overtaken. He left before Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen crossed the line at the foot of the points positions.

Ferrari have fallen to fifth in the championship behind Mercedes, Force India, McLaren and Red Bull.

Montezemolo had voiced support for Domenicali as recently as September last year, when he told media it was not Domenicali’s fault the team had failed to win championships in 2010 and 2012.

This article will be updated.

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Images © Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, Williams/LAT

119 comments on “Domenicali steps down after Ferrari’s poor start”

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  1. It is said that this man was one of the biggest threats to Luca’s position in Ferrari (because of his succesfull work on Ferrari sales). Well, you know who Luca will blame if things fail.

  2. Wow. didn´t ee this one comming, I guess is better to leave before they made you leave. So with Dominicali out and Mclaren going back to Ron Dennis is the heads the one that are changing.

  3. So how long will I need to wait before I can buy my 2015 Fernando Alonso McLaren merchandise?

  4. Guess the comment sections of some less reputable F1 sites will rejoice as if Caligula has fallen.

    Stefano is a nice guy, but that might exactly be why he decided to step down and why LdM was ok with it. Jean Todt might look like a wee gnome, but from what I’ve heard he’s very methodical and keeps his head down and works. Ferrari became a little too good at excuses under Stefano. Still, I’ll miss the guy and it’s a shame they didn’t just demote him to a commercial position.

    The new guy won’t last. Fernando is probably already calling Flavio, LdM is probably already faxing Ross Brawn with insane salary propositions. Ferrari need a leader, preferably someone who knows how to get results.

    Despite being a Ferrari fan, I’m getting close to giving up on this season. Changing staff in-season in never did any team good (Benetton between 1997-1999, much?) in my memory.

  5. Yuriy Kvartsyanyy
    14th April 2014, 18:34

    He and Bob Bell might join Haas team now. Don’t wanna see another team 10 sec off the pace.

  6. It’s Di Montezemolo who should be stepping down !!! The man is an embarassment !!

  7. Brawn, Bell and maybe from 2016 will see something interesting from Ferrari, till then disaster …

  8. I don’t know, doesn’t seems a clever move to me.
    Ok, the car is not really that good, but then again, all the others cars are well behind Mercedes. We had this year only three races, fercrissake. I don’t believe Ferrari will be able to catch up with Mercedes this season, as I don’t believe McLaren or the others will, so why put all the blame on Domenicalli?
    I put this bill on Alonso’s tab. He spent the last three seasons using the press briefings to put the blame on the team (the car is slow, we need to improve, we are not fast enough, I am not happy blah blah blah). I don’t remember Massa doing that again and again and again, or Kimi. They do their job well or not, and then they go to discuss things inside the team, because that’s what a professional do; Fernando uses the press briefings (and the Spanish press) to convey the message that the only reason why he is not 14-times world champion is because his team is not developing a good car.
    When Alonso signed for Ferrari, someone on this forum said that it was necessary to see how the team reacts, as Fernando “takes all the oxygen”. Now we now.
    On the other hand, what is that Ferrari thinks they will change now without Domenicalli? Maybe they will develop the current car to win a second here and there, but so are the other teams, and that will happen with or without Domenicalli.
    In any case, that comment from Domenicalli about the place where Ferrari “deserves” to be at, it’s laughable, really. They had ONE YEAR to develop the car for 2014; the fact that the car is pestered with problems is serious, but more serious is that the team looks completely lost to develop a car AND an engine that THEY projected. So, sorry, Domenicalli, Ferrari “deserves” to be where it is right now.

  9. Very interesting news. I wonder whats next for Dominicalli? Team-Principal at HAAS maybe? That would be great for both. The Haas team needs experience.

  10. Kinda makes sense since the F14T performs more like a road car :)

  11. Mark in Florida
    15th April 2014, 0:17

    Who is this guy that LDM is hiring to replace Domenicali? Is it because the guy is Italian? He would be better off hiring Chip Ganassi at least he has a great record of winning in motorsports and his name still sounds Italian.[just kidding guys] Why would Ross Brawn want to work for that pompous a$$ LDM again as some people are speculating? I don’t feel bad for Domenicali at all he had his shot at it and failed. Nice guy or not he couldn’t get it done. LDM should have waited until the end of the year. This will cause a lot of turmoil in the team doing this big a change this early in the season. I hope Ferrari can keep it together or they are going to lose their drivers. Alonso isn’t going to wait for ever and Raikkonen is looking for the fastest ride available.

  12. GB (@bgp001ruled)
    15th April 2014, 2:16

    Ive always been antiferrari, so if this makes the team a little worse, than that´s good! poor chap, seemed like a balanced guy…

  13. What a disaster.

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