Analysis: Can Mattiaci's arrival become Ferrari's pivot point?

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Formula One's fabled Italian team have gone through tough times recently, but is adamant to gear up its decision making processes to exploit its full potential.

Being the team with the richest history, longest participation and best overall results in the history of Formula 1, Ferrari have always faced a tough task: nothing less than the victory can be taken with satisfaction. Since the Italian squad has been shaded by Red Bull Racing for four years and now by the Mercedes works team, dark clouds have gathered over Maranello. Not even Fernando Alonso, by some arguably considered the best driver for a couple of years now could get the team back onto the winning ways.

Even though the recent overhaul in the technical regulations did mix the field up a bit, Ferrari have been unable to exploit this change and endured a though start to the brand new turbo era. Experts called Ferrari's situation as embarrassing. Former team owner Eddie Jordan said it was shameful for the Italian squad not to be able to provide its two top-class drivers with the right tools. He argued that Ferrari now finds itself in the deepest crisis of its history.

After this year's Bahrain GP, former team principal Stefano Domenicali decided to step down and pull out of the sinking ship. Stefano wanted to take fresh air after his departure from racing which he was part of for more than 20 years of. Last weekend he attended the MotoGP race at Ferrari's own track Mugello where he met Fernando Alonso. He was also able to talk about reasons behind his decision and his future plans.

Talking about the true reasons for his departure from Formula One, Domenicali said he had pushed hard to sign Kimi Raikkönen next to Fernando Alonso to build a thundering pair. Big was his disappointment at the start of the season when his squad could to give them the right machine to materialize their stunning talent.

After taking the decision the day after the Bahrain GP he made three phone calls. He called Fernando and Kimi who „are true friends to me”. The third driver was Sebastian Vettel. When he was asked about the reasons and whether Sebastian stood close to Ferrari and was about to join the team in the near future, he just grinned and said: „You’ll have to find out the answer for yourself, sorry.”

After snipping from the fresh breeze after working in the racing world, he is set to look around for new challenges. Despite receiving several offers, he excluded working for another team in Formula 1 though. Stefano said he couldn't do it with the right determination because his heart always remained red. „I will always support Ferrari. Always. And Fernando (Alonso).”


With Domenicali out of Ferrari's picture, Luca di Montezemolo signed Marco Mattiacci, a complete rookie in Formula One, to lead the Scuderia to new heights.

Born in Rome on 8 December 1970, Ferrari's new principal graduated as economist at the University La Sapienza. He went on to work for Jaguar Cars in the UK between 1989 and 1999 before joining Ferrari. He fulfilled different duties and worked Europe, Asia and then America. In 2010 he was appointed CEO of Ferrari North America. Two years later he was awarded with the Automotive Executive of the Year Award.

Although he had to start from zero in relation to his knowledge of F1, the Italian enjoys the support of Luca di Montezemolo, and perhaps also from the team's former team manager Cesare Fioro, who once said 70 per cent of the skills required for leading a team, company or group of people are down to non-specific skills, only the remainder skills have to be gained in the certain area.

After spending days analyzing the team's structure at Maranello, Mattiacci remained low-key on his first public outing. However he now says he feels properly settled within the team. At least he appears to have convinced Fernando Alonso who recently went on record saying „He has good vision and a very clever approach and we are going to be stronger and stronger.”

Mattiaci undoubtedly has a ton of work ahead of him, including sorting the team's current inability to properly develop its car. In fact, former team members Felipe Massa and Rob Smedley who work at Williams now, pointed out what could be Ferrari's most serious weakness. According to them Ferrari were not able to deliver consistent development rate: although due to its budget Ferrari could design new parts for every singe race weekend, most of them didn't work at all. "At Williams, the correlation between the wind tunnel and the track is amazing," he said. "Compared to my previous experience, it is something that has impressed me. Everything we take to the track ends up on the car, so it (the car) really does improve from race to race," added Smedley.

Financially though, there's no issue on the horizon for Ferrari. The company finds itself in a very stable financial situation amid global financial crises all around the world. The Financial Times reported the company recorded record revenue in 2013 with net profit up to EUR 246 million.

Hence, with money not the issue, with Newey not going to Maranello, it will be up to the people already there to fulfill the team's desire and urge for being the leading team yet again, even if that would mean breaking the bank to lift their chances.


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