The Italian came from an unknown world to lead the sinking ship to heaven. Covered with dark sunglasses he remained quiet at his first appearances in charge of Ferrari, then he opened his mouth and showed that the days of his predecessor Stefano Domenicali when everyone could feel their job safe are long gone.
Formula-1 is a cruel world, especially when you work at Ferrari. Fulfilling any work at the fabled Italian squad is a bless and a curse at the very same time: you always face yourself in the torturous spotlight, the immense pressure you have to withstand is very tough to handle. Any mistake you make will be spotted and you will face intense criticism. Marco Mattiacci knows that tough job awaits him and he can gain repute only with a competitive car.
He hasn’t got any experience in leading a racing team, however he is an obsessed gentleman racer. “I love racing and I raced myself. In my spare time, I spent probably 20 or 22 weekends at a track last year. I attended three Daytona 24 Hours where I’ve slept at the track, trying to learn as much as I could. It’s not Formula-1, but I love racing.”
Mattiacci graduated in economics in Rome. He then joined Jaguar in England where he worked in the marketing department. In 1999 he moved to Ferrari where he took up marketing roles for North and South America, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions. In 2010 he became president of Ferrari USA.
Mattiacci, 43, wasn’t probably picked only by the Chairman of Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo. He has got good connections to the two top-men of Fiat, John Elkann and Sergio Marchionne. They both appreciated Mattiacci, especially for his marketing skills, honesty and for not being a gentleman when it comes to making cruel decisions in favour of future successes. He doesn’t know the world of Formula-1, but he very well knows what a group of people needs to work at its best. “Over the past 20 years I have assembled a lot of things. I have benchmarked a lot of business structures, and this is about assembling a team, about managing people from different nationalities. I understand this is a very specific culture. The time to react is completely different – you need to have made a decision yesterday, not in two months time like in the corporate world. This is what I can bring the team, to the drivers: they have an extremely humble person who will listen and will fight 150 per cent to utilize the talent that is within Ferrari.”
The Italian newcomer also won’t be shy to get rid of any weak chain-links. He himself concedes he had had a hot conversation with Pat Fry after the Canadian GP where Ferrari were plagued with unacceptable uncompetitiveness.
He was guaranteed by Montezemolo the door of the treasury at Maranello could be opened any time there is a need. It has been reported Ferrari already recruited three engine experts from Mercedes and three aerodynamicists from Red Bull. He is also keen on helping Kimi Raikkönen to put his problems behind and be able to show his form from his glory days of the past.
Mattiacci believes Ferrari do not just have the money, but also the brain power to steer itself back into glorious form: “I think in this team there is a lot of talent, so I am working with the chairman, Mr Di Montezemolo, to see what will be needed.”