Longtime Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo is out and Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is in. So what's at the top of Marchionne's agenda? It's not making the dreaded 458 Montana SUV we all fear — it's actually getting Ferrari's Formula One team back down to their fightin' weight.
The AP reports that Marchionne stressed the need for a successful Ferrari F1 team today at a Paris Motor Show press conference, and said that getting them back on top of the podium is his one "very high" priority.
Sergio Marchionne, also CEO of Ferrari's parent company Fiat Chrysler, said at the Paris Car Show that his "key objective is to re-establish Ferrari in Formula One," describing it as "non-negotiable."
How will he do this? He doesn't say, and the article doesn't elaborate. Bummer.
Marchionne has said as much before, and Ferrari's lack of success at racing exacerbated tensions between him and Montezemolo before the latter quit his post last month.
But Montzemolo and Marchionne agreed on one thing: Ferrari F1's biggest problem is its engine. In this new V6 turbo era, Ferrari's power unit has lagged behind the one used by Mercedes.
Ferrari has continued to argue for an "unfreeze" of engine development so that engineers can tweak their power unit mid-season, a decision ostensibly made to help teams cut down on costs. Mercedes, for obvious reasons, is against such a development.
Ferrari hasn't won a driver's championship since 2007, and even with talent like Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso, this season has been a middling one at best. That isn't good enough for Ferrari, a company whose image and marketing is built on winning races.
Still, without being able to tweak their engine, the 2014 season may just end up as much of a write-off for Ferrari as one of their owners' flaming cars.
Montzemolo knew that, and so does Marchionne. Maybe they have more in common than they realized.
Photo credit Getty
Hat tip to Ed!