Audetto: Being Ferrari team chief is very, very difficult

Daniel Audetto knows a thing or two about Ferrari politics, having managed their title-winning effort with Niki Lauda in 1977 before being promoted up the FIAT corporate ladder.

As the Reds usher in a fourth team manager in five years, the 76-year-old former team boss weighed in on the leadership changes at the sport’s most popular team.

Speaking to Autosprint, Audetto gave his views on the recent upheaval at Maranello, “If you don’t win, after four years it’s difficult to remain in charge.”

“At a team like that, which is born to win, when you don’t win, the manager automatically changes. It’s the harsh reality of F1, more so in the special case of Ferrari.”

“It’s a shame, Maurizio is a friend of mine but he also paid for not having a racing pedigree, he stayed in that position longer than expected,” he added.

Audetto took over as Ferrari team manager from Luca di Montezemolo in 1976, but the two remained close as the latter shielded his team, while protective of everything related to the Formula 1 team, pretty much as he was in the Jean Todt days when he backed the Frenchman through thick and thin.

The distinctive Di Montezemolo style management is lacking at the Scuderia these days suggests Audetto, “It is true that Arrivabene made a good impression compared to the first days of Jean Todt.”

“Jean was always supported and defended by a great media man like Di Montezemolo. For years and years, he shielded his men, including Schumacher who for the first four years did not win the title.”

“Right now there is not a Di Montezemolo to defend everyone and enchant the media,” reasoned Audetto.

Arrivabene’s hot seat at the helm of the Scuderia will be filled by tech guru Mattia Binotto an appointment that in retrospect seems ordained, but not all are sure that he is the right man for the most pressured job in sport.

Audetto said of Binotto, “I do not know him well enough to say too much, but I know he is a good engineer. I also know being team principal or even the sporting chief at Ferrari is very, very difficult.”

“I hope that he has the personality, charisma and experience to solve the complex problems he will have to deal with,” added the Italian whose other F1 experience involved spells with Ligier, Super Aguri and HRT.