By Alan Baldwin
Marco Mattiacci’s brief reign as Ferrari Formula One principal ended on Monday with the troubled Fiat-owned outfit replacing him with Maurizio Arrivabene, the team’s third boss in nine months.
The Italian joins from sponsor Philip Morris where he held senior positions in marketing and promotions. He is also an independent board member of Juventus soccer club.
Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne said in a statement that the team and Formula One needed “a person with a thorough understanding not just of Ferrari but also of the governance mechanisms and requirements of the sport.
“Maurizio has a unique wealth of knowledge: he has been extremely close to the Scuderia for years and, as a member of the F1 Commission, is also keenly aware of the challenges we are facing,” he added.
“He has been a constant source of innovative ideas focused on revitalisation of Formula One. His managerial experience on a highly complex and closely regulated market is also of great importance.”
Mattiacci, who replaced Stefano Domenicali when the principal resigned in April, was parachuted in from Ferrari North America where he was president and chief executive.
He never looked comfortable in the high-profile sporting role, however, while Ferrari’s performance on the track continued to decline.
The glamour team ended the season in Abu Dhabi without a single race win, for the first time since 1993, and the conclusion of the campaign also saw the departure of double world champion Fernando Alonso.
Germany’s four-times champion Sebastian Vettel has been signed from Red Bull as the Spaniard’s replacement.
Ferrari have also had upheaval at the very top with the enforced departure of long-serving president Luca Di Montezemolo, a link with the team’s late founder Enzo, last month.
He has been replaced by Fiat Chrysler chief executive Marchionne.
Arrivabene ensures Ferrari have a Formula One insider at the helm at a time when the sport faces considerable financial challenges with two small teams plunging into administration and fears that others could follow.
There are calls to reduce the price of the new V6 turbo engines and also for a more even distribution of revenues currently heavily skewed towards big teams like Ferrari, the sport’s oldest and most successful outfit.
Arrivabene has represented all sponsors on the Formula One Commission since 2010, a role that means he is well acquainted with the sport’s commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone.