End of a long and successful era at Ferrari as chief quits after miserable on-track season

 
Ross McLean
Follow Ross
FERRARI’S turbulent season shows no sign of ceasing after the long-serving chairman of their Formula One team, Luca di Montezemolo, announced he will stand down as the head of the Maranello-based outfit next month following a distinctly miserable season.

The F1 giants are enduring their least competitive season for two decades, epitomised by the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday where two-time world champion Fernando Alonso was forced to retire and Kimi Raikkonen finished ninth.

Tensions mounted in the aftermath with Di Montezemolo’s position looking untenable after stinging criticism from Ferrari’s parent company boss Sergio Marchionne, the chief of Fiat, who will now replace his counterpart.

While Marchionne will spearhead Ferrari’s revival in the new turbo era, Di Montezemolo has fallen on his sword after being starved of success for six years, with no constructors’ or drivers’ championship titles since 2008.

“This is the end of an era after almost 23 marvellous and unforgettable years,” said Di Montezemolo. “It has been a great privilege. “I devoted all of my enthusiasm and commitment to it over the years. Together with my family, it was, and continues to be the most important thing in my life.”

The 67-year-old Italian’s tenure started in 1991 and success followed for Ferrari with eight constructors’ championships, while Michael Schumacher claimed five successive drivers’ titles from 2000, with Raikkonen following suit in 2007.

During Di Montezemolo’s stewardship, Ferrari’s financial results also blossomed with revenues increasing 10-fold and sales volumes tripling as the company intensified its status as a powerful global brand.

But this season on-track results have fallen short of past glories, with Alonso and Raikkonen positioned fifth and 10th respectively in the drivers’ standings and Ferrari fourth in the constructors’ rankings, 292 points being leaders Mercedes.