A change of power is imminent in Formula 1 as we know now that Stefano Domenicali is to succeed Chase Carey as CEO before the end of this year, potentially helping Ferrari back on track?
Back in the days when Ferrari still won titles, when Michael Schumacher gave Formula 1 an era of domination setting records, Stefano Domenicali was one of the leading lights in Maranello as part of the management team of the Scuderia.
As sports director of the Ferrari Formula 1 team, he helped shape the legendary era which saw the luminary Schumacher become world champion from 2000 to 2004. Many an F1 fan looks back on that period as the glory days, if they were a Schumacher Ferrari fan of course. For others, that period of domination created a very boring Championship, how little we knew back then!
Domenicali had a team boss as Jean Todt, now President of the FIA, and a brilliant technical director – Ross Brawn, who has been the Formula One Sports Director for the past four years now.
The three Ferrari ‘legends’ will be reunited in the future, this time at the helm of Formula 1 itself, where Domenicali is to replace Chase Carey, CEO since January 2017, at the beginning of 2021.
Let us not forget that it was Domenicali who was the last Ferrari team boss to actually win a Championship for the Italians back in 2007 with Kimi Raikonnen, and it was he who was ousted in 2014, heading off to Audi and then Lamborgini as CEO.
The fact that Formula 1 owner Liberty Media finally chose Domenicali in the search for a successor to Chase Carey is a slight surprise. Recently, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, among others, was considered a hot candidate, and Christian Horner (Red Bull) and Zak Brown (McLaren) were also considered.
As paddock rumour would have it, Wolff was willing but would never have been given the chance as vetoes were threatened should he attempt the move. Something the Austrian admitted over the weekend saying:
“I think everyone is aware that there were discussions with Greg Maffei (Liberty Media CEO) that never came to fruition.
“But in the end, that’s not a problem, because I’m passionate about what I do and I have the chance to lead a team like Mercedes and be the co-owner of it.
“I realise that ultimately this could never have happened, because Ferrari absolutely does not agree with this idea.
“They have this right to do anything, and when you have that, everything is very easy.”
As such, it appears that his strength with parent group Daimler has been strained of late. More on that another day…
In any case, Chase Carey leaves a house on order. He has negotiated and approved the Concorde Agreement, which sets out the commercial requirements for the next five years, with the ten teams.
Approved a budget cap, albeit with the assistance of a global pandemic. Either way you look at it, Carey has quietly gone about some seismic change in F1 with a rather unamerican (forgive the stereotype) way. Certainly, something Bernie Ecclestone was either unwilling or unable, to do.
Signs are that with the FIA headed by Todt, along with the commercial rights holders in Liberty Media lead by Brawn and now Domenicali, many suspect that the time of change for Ferrari as an F1 team is afoot.
For the sake of the sport as a whole, let’s hope these appointments break the Mercedes backroom domination, along with their on-track domination.