Why Ferrari F1 team dropped Marco Mattiacci for Maurizio Arrivabene

Ferrari had openly admitted its massive restructuring needed time, so dropping team boss Marco Mattiacci after just eight months stunned Formula 1

Why Ferrari F1 team dropped Marco Mattiacci for Maurizio Arrivabene

Behind the scenes, it had seemed that Mattiacci was making the right changes.

He boldly called Fernando Alonso's bluff and agreed to cut him loose if he did not offer the necessary commitment to Ferrari.

It was Mattiacci whose deal with Sebastian Vettel left Red Bull shell-shocked.

He got rid of technical personnel he doubted were good enough, hired key men for the future and gave full support to those he knew were essential, such as James Allison.

Mattiacci showed political bravery - triggering the push for engine freeze relaxation that prompted a major battle over power unit regulations, and chasing a wider overhaul of F1, with testing and fan engagement on the agenda.

But in the end, it was not enough for Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne.

LETTER OFFERS INSIGHT

Marchionne is known for decisiveness, and the call to drop Mattiacci for Maurizio Arrivabene was entirely his.

A letter sent to Ferrari staff - a copy of which has seen by AUTOSPORT - offers key insight into his motivation, hinting it was not about 2014's poor results or doubts over the restructuring.

Instead Marchionne's concern is having the right man to get Ferrari back to a central role in F1.

"I am fully committed to ensure Ferrari maintains its position of influence in the governance of F1," Marchionne wrote.

That ability to influence F1's corridors of power appears fundamental to the change.

It is believed that Mattiacci was not as close to the still all-powerful Bernie Ecclestone as other Ferrari bosses had been.

There are even suggestions Mattiacci rubbed Ecclestone up the wrong way with his approach to Ferrari's revival and his demands for wider F1 changes.

You only need to ask former Williams CEO Adam Parr about how a team risks isolation if one of its chiefs does not get on with Ecclestone.

In Arrivabene (pictured with Ecclestone above), Ferrari has someone who not only knows how Ecclestone works, but has been one of his closest allies for decades via his role with long-time F1 sponsor Philip Morris (Marlboro).

It was no surprise to see F1's commercial supremo visiting Marlboro's Madonna di Campiglio ski camps.

F1 INFLUENCE

Arrivabene has sat on the F1 Commission for years, so knows how the sport works and the best ways to influence its future shape.

As Marchionne wrote: "Maurizio brings a unique set of experiences with him. In addition to his long-standing relationship with our team, he has also served on the F1 Commission and is already keenly aware of the challenges we face.

"He has a thorough understanding of the governance mechanisms and requirements of the sport, the level of competition and the challenges of the circuit.

"He has also been a constant source of innovative ideas for the revitalisation of F1.

"In Maurizio, I see the qualities of someone who leads by his strong personal example, his professionalism, and the integrity of his decisions - in short by the type of person he is."

Marchionne knows that success on track will not come quickly, but equally much of the restructuring is now in place. It just needs time.

If Ferrari has a bigger overall influence in F1, perhaps it can fast-track ways to make itself more competitive.

Just as Mattiacci wanted a driver focused only on what was best for Ferrari, Marchionne has decided Arrivabene is the best man to do that from the boardroom.

"We all know how important a healthy team spirit is, particularly at this time," he wrote.

"The kind of spirit that can only come from a group of people who believe strongly in a project and are prepared to share the commitment, sacrifices and results."

shares
comments
The hurdles Hamilton had to overcome
Previous article

The hurdles Hamilton had to overcome

Next article

Abu Dhabi F1 test: McLaren-Honda sits out first morning

Abu Dhabi F1 test: McLaren-Honda sits out first morning
The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay Plus

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay

Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…

Formula 1
Aug 7, 2022
Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre? Plus

Could F1 move to a future beyond carbonfibre?

Formula 1 has ambitious goals for improving its carbon footprint, but could this include banishing its favoured composite material? PAT SYMONDS considers the alternatives to carbonfibre and what use, if any, those materials have in a Formula 1 setting

Formula 1
Aug 6, 2022