London: Stefano Domenicali resigned as Ferrari’s Formula One team principal on Monday with the company’s North America president and chief executive Marco Mattiacci appointed as his replacement.
The Italian glamour team, the oldest and most successful in the sport, have made a poor start to the season with two fourth places for Spaniard Fernando Alonso the team’s best results in three races so far.
Ferrari have not won a driver’s world championship since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007, although they were constructors’ champions in 2008. At the most recent race in Bahrain, Alonso and his Finnish teammate were ninth and 10th.
“There are particular moments in all of our professional lives where you need the courage to take difficult and very painful decisions,” Domenicali, who had been principal since January 2008, said in a Ferrari statement.
“It is time for a significant change. As the boss, I take responsibility, as I have always done, for our current situation, the Ferrari chief said.
“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,” added the 48-year-old Italian.
Mattiacci will take overall charge of the Gestione Sportiva — the carmaker’s sporting activities including the Formula One team that has competed in every championship since 1950 — with immediate effect.
Meanwhile, Bob Bell has resigned as technical director of Mercedes, with executive director Paddy Lowe taking on his duties.
Mercedes said in a statement on Monday that Bell had resigned his position last December and would leave the team in November this year to pursue “new challenges outside the company”.