Sergio Marchionne’s sudden passing was an unexpected shock, no one other than his inner circle knew he had been suffering from cancer and what was expected to be a simple operation turned fatal when complications arose.
Marchionne died on 25 July, 2018, at age 66.
Personally, I was numbed by the unexpected tragedy as were a number of people, I know, who work in the paddock with teams and in the media.
Marchionne was the man who ushered in the post-Luca di Montezemolo era at the Scuderia, the brazen Italian-Canadian businessman was the proverbial ‘broom that swept clean’ but never got to see his finished work.
By all accounts, it was he who signed young Charles Leclerc to step up as Sebastian Vettel’s teammate for 2019 at the expense of Kimi Raikkonen.
Marchionne’s stance on the future of the sport was well documented and set a course for confrontation with new owners Liberty Media. At the time of his death, the water between the stakeholders was choppy, with most of the waves kicked up by the late Ferrari president.
That Wednesday on which Marchionne passed, Formula 1 lost a big player in the power stakes and an important character in the plotting of the way forward for the sport, while Ferrari is the poorer for the loss of their charismatic chief who was shaking things up for them and whose shoes will be tough to fill.