Is Montezemolo stepping down as Ferrari president?

Luca di Montezemolo at the helm of Ferrari

Luca di Montezemolo at the helm of Ferrari

Speculation is rife that Luca di Montezemolo is on the verge of announcing his departure as Ferrari president.

reports Maranello’s long-time and charismatic figurehead is stepping down to head the Italian national airline Alitalia were rejected only recently.

But multiple authoritative Italian sources and insiders are now reporting from Monza that Montezemolo’s annual visit to the Italian Grand Prix could be the scene of an official announcement.

Others, like the highly respected La Gazzetta dello Sport correspondent Pino Allievi, say Montezemolo could then make his post formally vacant at a Ferrari board meeting next Thursday.

The reports – with some even suggesting Ross Brawn will become team boss while Marco Mattiacci steps up to the presidency – have even reached Ferrari’s top driver Fernando Alonso.

“I don’t know. I have only heard reports,” he told the Italian news agency Ansa. “I have not heard anything from him (Montezemolo). He has always been the president since I was here. If it did happen one day that he is not there, then we will talk about it, but it would be something totally new.”

Michael Schumacher with President Luca di Montezemolo

Michael Schumacher with Luca di Montezemolo

Montezemolo’s sporting career began at the wheel of a Giannini Fiat 500 which he raced together with his friend Cristiano Rattazzi. Later, Montezemolo briefly drove for the famous privately owned Lancia rally team known as HF Squadra Corse.

He joined the auto manufacturing conglomerate FIAT S.p.A., headquartered in Torino, Italy, and in 1973 was moved to Ferrari, where he became Enzo Ferrari’s assistant and, in 1974, manager of the Scuderia. During his involvement with the team, Ferrari won the Formula One World Championship with Niki Lauda in 1975 and 1977.

In 1976 Montezemolo was promoted to become head of all FIAT racing activities, and in 1977 he advanced to become a senior manager of FIAT.

In November 1991, FIAT Chairman Gianni Agnelli appointed Montezemolo president of Ferrari, which had been struggling since Enzo Ferrari’s death. Montezemolo made it his personal goal to win the Formula One World Constructors’ Championship.

He was instrumental in luring the key players of the Michael Schumacher era to Maranello, which resulted in the team’s most successful spell in Formula 1. (GMM)