Analysis: What Luca di Montezemolo's exit means for Ferrari F1 team

JONATHAN NOBLE explains why Ferrari's lack of Formula 1 success was critical in Luca di Montezemolo's departure - and what happens next at Maranello

While claims that Formula 1 needs Ferrari have long divided opinion, there is one undeniable truth: Ferrari needs F1 success.

As Maranello digests the news that Luca di Montezemolo's 23-year reign as company chairman is coming to an end, it is clear that struggles on track have acted as the catalyst for change.

Ahead of expected record profits for Ferrari's road car division, it was telling that in the statement confirming di Montezemolo's departure its future chairman Sergio Marchionne made reference to its F1 difficulties.

"Luca and I have discussed the future of Ferrari at length," said the Fiat CEO. "And our mutual desire to see Ferrari achieve its true potential on the track has led to misunderstandings which became clearly visible over the last weekend."

GARY ANDERSON: Monza disaster showed Ferrari's problems

Indeed, as Ferrari was suffering its worst showing at the Italian Grand Prix since 2005, Marchionne was telling Italian media just how unhappy he was with the way things in F1 were going.

"The important thing for Ferrari is not just financial results, but winning," he said. "For the last six years we have struggled like hell despite the best drivers.

"Look, both [Fernando] Alonso and [Kimi] Raikkonen are world champions, both of them. We just can't... I'm terribly upset, we have been watching for a long time, these things are not well."

Doing better in F1 is essential - and something that di Montezemolo and Marchionne agreed had to happen. But there were clearly differences of opinion about how that could be achieved.

For while di Montezemolo may have favoured the return of old-school factors like unlimited testing, a ramping up of budgets and a hark back to the glory days of Michael Schumacher, Ross Brawn and Jean Todt, the reality is that the world has changed.

F1 has been dominated in recent years by relatively new teams like Red Bull and Mercedes, whose focus is not on engineering brilliance but on simply going out there and doing everything they can for results.

Ferrari's long-time rival McLaren has openly admitted that it has had to learn to become a 'racing team' again and not an 'engineering company.'

Indeed, that break from the past - and an understanding that big change is needed - is something that Ferrari's new team boss Marco Mattiacci talked about earlier this year.

MATTIACCI INTERVIEW: Leading Ferrari out of the darkness

"I think that Ferrari is going to look different. And the story will tell if it will be better," Mattiacci told AUTOSPORT.

"But the change will be across the board - most importantly cultural change and discontinuity. These are the most important things."

In Marchionne, Mattiacci finds someone clearly ready to embrace the big changes that are necessary. This is about the future now - and a new way of doing things at Maranello.

Winning in F1 is not optional for Ferrari. It is a prerequisite.

Previous article Ferrari chairman and key F1 figure Luca di Montezemolo steps down
Next article Force India F1 boss Vijay Mallya hails 'outstanding' Sergio Perez