There are big changes coming at the acme of Formula One’s management. Liberty Media, the company that owns F1, has announced that Stefano Domenicali will replacing the well-mustachioed Chase Carey as president and CEO of the series. Domenicali served as team principal for the Ferrari F1 team from 2008 to 2014, then headed to Audi before being appointed CEO at Lamborghini in 2016.
Domenicali will take over his role in January of 2021. Carey, who replaced Bernie Ecclestone, will step down to become non-executive chairman. Carey had the following to say about the move:
I’m confident that we’ve built the strong foundation for the business to grow over the long term. It’s been an adventure and I’ve enjoyed working with the teams, the FIA and all of our partners. I look forward to staying involved and supporting Stefano as he takes the wheel.
While some fans have noted a conflict of interest concerning Domenicali’s tenure at Ferrari, many teams—most vocally, Red Bull Racing and McLaren—have expressed support for the Italian. He has a successful resumé under his belt that goes beyond just F1. He’s been a race director for DTM and has overseen the business side of large automotive companies. He was lauded for keeping Fernando Alonso in contention for a championship in 2012 despite the team running a largely uncompetitive car.
In a nutshell, Domenicali knows what he’s doing, and his experience across the board—along with his name recognition—is likely to be a good thing for Formula One.
The main criticism comes in the fact that Ferrari is often seen as being favored by The Powers That Be in the sport, which is not an entirely unfounded belief. Most recently, after all, Ferrari developed a settlement with the FIA regarding engine components that weren’t entirely legal. It was a fairly under-the-table settlement; neither the media nor the other teams were ever told what was wrong with the engine, nor what was changed.
The hope is that Domenicali will call on his professionalism and not his favoritism, but it all remains to be seen in 2021.