Ferrari team principal resigns after poor start to F1 season

‘As the boss, I take responsibility, as I have always done’ - Stefano Domenicali

 Stefano Domenicali has resigned as Ferrari team principalis. Photograph:  Clive Mason/Getty Images

Stefano Domenicali has resigned as Ferrari team principalis. Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty Images

 

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has paid the price for another slugglish start to a Formula 1 season by the Scuderia and resigned.

After three races, Ferrari stand a lowly fifth in the Constructors’ Championship, 78 points behind Mercedes - F1’s only other manufacturer outfit, but one which has stolen a clear march on the Italian marque in adapting to the sport’s new hybrid technology.

The performance gap between the two outfits was particularly stark at last weekend’s Bahrain GP. While Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg duelled wheel-to-wheel for victory at Sakhir, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen could only trail home ninth and tenth respectively.

“It is time for a significant change. As the boss, I take responsibility, as I have always done, for our current situation,” said the 48-year-old Domenicali, who joined the team in 1991. “This decision has been taken with the aim of doing something to shake things up and for the good of this group of people that I feel very close to.

“With all my heart, I thank all the men and women in the team, the drivers and the partners for the wonderful relationship we have enjoyed over all these years. I hope that very soon, Ferrari will be back where it deserves to be.”

Ferrari have admitted their F14 T currently lacks performance, but it’s a story their legion of tifosi fans have become accustomed to hearing in recent years.

Having last won the Drivers’ Championship with Raikkonen in 2007, Ferrari secured the constructors’ title the following year but they have since struggled in Red Bull’s shadow.

Taking over from Jean Todt ahead of the 2008 season, Domenicali therefore enjoyed a winning start but Ferrari have time and again been forced to try and play catch-up during recent years.

On the track, their problems have tended to centre on a lack of aerodynamic performance. However, this season their new 1.6-litre V6 turbo is also down on power compared to the unit developed by Mercedes.

Both Alonso and Raikkonen kept a lid on their frustrations after the Bahrain race but the situation will not have been lost on Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo, present in the Middle East last weekend and who issued a rebuke to the Spaniard when he spoke out last summer.

Domenicali will be replaced by Marco Mattiacci, a senior Ferrari manager.

However, the assumption is that this would be a temporary appointment, with speculation inevitably linking Ross Brawn, the former Ferrari Technical Director who stood down as Mercedes Team Principal at the end of last season, to the role.

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