Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has dismissed early criticism of the Scuderia’s new Formula 1 team boss Marco Mattiacci.
First, he applauded the ousted Stefano Domenicali for taking responsibility for the fabled team’s poor results and choosing to resign.
“Resignations in Italy are rare,” said Montezemolo, who appointed Ferrari North America chief Mattiacci – an unknown within the Formula 1 community – as Domenicali’s successor.
“Despite having won several world titles in 23 years, Domenicali had the strength to step down because of missed results,” Montezemolo is quoted by La Stampa.
Criticism of Mattiacci’s appointment, however, has been swift. Patrick Tambay, a former Ferrari driver, told France’s RMC that Domenicali is obviously a “scapegoat”.
Some corners of the international media accused Ferrari of panic, and kneejerk reactions after only the first three grands prix in 2014.
Italy’s authoritative La Gazzetta dello Sport affirmed that Mattiacci’s appointment has been met with “scepticism”.
“He needs to overcome it and assert himself in his new role,” the sports daily advised.
La Gazzetta also pointed out 44-year-old Mattiacci’s inexperience, saying that while he is a marketing specialist, his only motor racing experience is in Grand-Am sports cars.
Montezemolo insisted: “I have decided to focus on a young manager that I believe in a lot.
“I have heard and read many misplaced comments, for example that Mattiacci is not an engineer. But we are all Ferrari engineers.
“I wanted to focus on someone who is part of the Ferrari family, because we are full of people with many qualities and skills,” he said.
Montezemolo added that Mattiacci’s appointment was done “in full agreement” with Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne.
Mattiacci will be introduced to the Formula 1 media on Friday in Shanghai.
“Now I am expecting a big reaction,” Montezemolo commented, He said “We will get back to winning and not allow the new rules to ruin the sport”. In saying so, he appeared to be taking another misplaced stab at the ‘engine formula’. “For us, Formula 1 is life.”
The Ferrari president will not be in China for the forthcoming grand prix. (GMM)
Subbed by AJN.