First impressions of Ferrari's new man at the helm in Formula 1

First impressions mean a lot in Formula 1 - especially when you have just taken up one of the sport's most important jobs, at perhaps its most important team

First impressions of Ferrari's new man at the helm in Formula 1

Newly appointed Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci was never really allowed to forget walking around the paddock on a grey 2014 day in Shanghai with his sunglasses stuck steadfastly to his head.

It didn't matter that he wanted to cover his tired eyes after 30 hours stuck on a plane - the impression of a man putting fashion over function stuck in many people's minds.

This is why the F1 media pack was intrigued to see how Ferrari's new CEO Louis Camilleri came across during his first appearance in front of the press at Monza on Friday.

There were no sunglasses for a start. Nor the black jumper that became late company president Sergio Marchionne's trademark. Instead, jeans, shirt and a blazer were the order of the day.

Relatively unknown outside of the team - despite Camilleri's long connections with Maranello and its title sponsor Philip Morris - the fact he has come in as successor to the larger than life Marchionne has increased the fascination surrounding him.

Marchionne was known for a brutally aggressive approach to management and business: demanding total commitment from those who worked for him, and was combative when it came to dealing with opponents.

This no-nonsense approach was clear to fans, obvious to the team and 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 it didn't like future rules.

The contrast between Marchionne's aggressive style of leadership and the new CEO's style at his first proper F1 media appearance could not have been clearer.

It is clear Camilleri does not want to shake things up in a way that Marchionne did when he arrived as successor to Luca di Montezemolo.

Camilleri 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 despite this relatively soft approach, it would be a mistake to underestimate Camilleri. He was clear his approach to problem solving would mean taking a different path to Marchionne, but the goals remain the same.

"Sergio and I clearly have very different styles, however I think we have the same ambition and we had a mutual respect," Camilleri said.

"We clearly discussed the Ferrari business as well as the Philip Morris business many, many times. So, 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 behind-the-scenes business practice.

Ferrari's investor conference on September 18 should show us just how different Maranello will really be in the post-Marchionne era.

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Series Formula 1
Teams Ferrari
Author Jonathan Noble
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