Marchionne resins as Ferrari CEO over health
Fiat which owns Ferrari has confirmed that CEO and chairman Sergio Marchionne has resigned as CEO chairman of the Fiat Chrysler group, following health complications following surgery.
The group announced during the German Grand Prix, that John Elkann will be appointed as group chairman and that former Philip Morris chairman Louis Camilleri is set to take over as Ferrari CEO in the coming days pending shareholder approval.
Marchionne took over from Luca di Montezemolo four years ago. In a statement, Ferrari said “The Board of Directors of Ferrari NV learned with deep sadness during its meeting today that Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne will be unable to return to work.”
“The Board’s thoughts are with Sergio Marchionne and his family and it is grateful for the extraordinary contribution he has made in recent years at the helm of Ferrari.
“The Board has named John Elkann as Chairman and will propose to Shareholders, at a meeting to be called in the coming days, that Louis C. Camilleri be named as CEO.”
Marchionne has been heavily involved in the Formula One side, that involvement has seen him be heavily involved in the decision and direction of the team. He was also an influential figure in F1 politics during his time as Ferrari’s CEO.
Elkann, who is the grandson and chosen heir of former Fiat boss Gianni Agnelli, issued the following statement. “With reference to the health of Sergio Marchionne, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. communicates with profound sorrow that during the course of this week unexpected complications arose while Marchionne was recovering from surgery and that these have worsened significantly in recent hours. As a consequence, Marchionne will be unable to return to work.
“The Board of Directors firstly expressed its closeness to Sergio Marchionne and his family and underlined the extraordinary contribution, both human and professional, that he has made to the Company in these years.”
“The Board resolved to accelerate the CEO transition process that has been proceeding over the past months and named Mike Manley as CEO. The Board will, therefore, propose to the next Shareholder Meeting, to be called in the coming days, that he be elected to the Board and serve as an executive director of the Company.
Hamilton says booing motivated him
Lewis Hamilton says that booing fans at the German Grand Prix only inspired him to take an unlikely win. The Englishman started the race from fourteenth on the grid to take the win, and following Sebastian Vettel’s retirement that put him top of the championship.
Hockenheim was shaping up to be a difficult weekend, after under delivering on Friday and then missing most of qualifying due to mechanical problems. However, during the race, he pulled off some great overtakes and came through from the back to take an unlikely win.
However he faced booing following home favourite Vettel’s retirement, but Hamilton says the reaction made him more determined to do well.
He told Motorsport.com “There was a lot of negativity before the race. You know, I think when you come to England, going around I don’t remember any of the fans booing. We’ve got quite a good group of fans in England.”
“When I came here, there was a lot of booing. The weird thing is that I was really happy about it. It was unusual. It’s weird that I’m still happy.”
“It was because I kept seeing individually, a couple of different British flags in amongst a hundred or a thousand [others]. It was a sea of red and then you’ve got a British flag in there.”
Hamilton says that it’s not a big deal, as he doesn’t need to gloat about it like Vettel, his focus was on being at his best and that he feels that he is driving at his best. Also, his plan was to keep his head down because he knew that Ferrari was going to be strong.
Miami race delayed until 2020
Liberty Media has announced that the Miami Grand Prix which was due to make it’s debut next year has been postponed until 2020. The news means that the calendar will be reduced to twenty races, with Hockenheim only having a contract to hold the race bi-annually.
The news has been suggested for weeks as it became clear that it would be increasingly difficult to finalise the contract prior to the deadline of September for the provisional calendar. Also, its understood Liberty Media didn’t want to put the race on the calendar with provisional status, only to lose it.
At the same time, it means the back end of the 2019 schedule can be optimised at an early stage, instead of races like Austin, Mexico and Brazil having to work around a space left for Miami.
One of the problems has been opposition from local residents, and Miami politicians are keen to take their views into account, rather than fast-track approval through. Plus the city commission will not make a decision until September, after delaying the decision on Monday.
However, the planned fan festival will still go ahead and could be a key element in promoting the event, as well as being a key element in promoting plans for the race to sceptical locals.
F1 commercial managing director, Sean Bratches told Motorsport.com “In the last few months we have worked diligently alongside our promoter Stephen Ross of RSE Ventures, the City of Miami and Miami Dade County, to realise our ambition to bring a Formula 1 Grand Prix to Miami.”
“And we have made significant progress. However, these are complicated negotiations. Whilst our preference would have been to race in Miami in 2019, there was always a point by which delivering the best possible wheel-to-wheel racing experience for our fans, drivers and teams wouldn’t be possible in the time available.”
Bratches says that they are taking a long-term view and they aren’t going to make compromises which could lead to a sub-optimal circuit. He says that F1 had enjoyed full co-operation from Miami authorities and that F1 was listening to feedback.
“At every stage of this process we’ve enjoyed positive collaboration and co-operation with the City of Miami, Miami-Dade County, Port of Miami, Bayfront Parks Management, residents and businesses.”
“As a result of these discussions, we have listened and adapted our plans, including elements of the track layout.”
Teams discuss moving tests to Bahrain
Formula One teams are currently discussing plans to move pre-season testing from Barcelona to Sakhir. The Bahrain International Circuit hasn’t been used for pre-season testing since 2014, but has testing between 2006-09 and 2014.
However, that has always been alongside tests in Europe, where the teams have preferred to stay in Europe for testing, for obvious logistical and cost reasons.
The two pre-season tests in Barcelona were heavily impacted by cold weather and snow, leaving teams short of mileage and track time.
Liberty is open to the idea of contributing to freight costs, and that has tipped the balance in favour of going to Sakhir, where good weather and lots of mileage will be guaranteed.
But, the concerns for the teams are the extra time required to fly personnel back and forth, and to ship in new parts.
It is understood that F1 sees Bahrain as potentially a media-friendly place to start the season and that teams will be asked not hide their cars with screens or close garage doors, which is the usual behaviour outside of race weekends.
Ricciardo to avoid grid penalty in Budapest
Red Bull says that Daniel Ricciardo will avoid a grid penalty for this weekends Hungarian Grand Prix, despite his retirement at Hockenheim on Sunday.
The Australian was given a penalty in Hockenheim for using excessive replacement engine parts. His retirement with an engine problem in Germany then raised questions as to whether he would receive a further penalty at the Hungaroring.
A spokesman for the team said that they were not expecting engine penalties, and the unspecified part which failed would be “replaced with one of our quota”, which means a used part that still has life in it, thus avoiding the need for a new part and an additional penalty.
This means at teams already at the limit of penalty-free parts could use them tactically and take penalties at races where they are expected to be less competitive.
Budapest is one circuit which is expected to favour Red Bull, as the deficit in engine performance from Renault is offset by the low speed and high downforce which favours Red Bull.