It seems that Ferrari, the 16-time F1 champion, has gone back to the then doldrums again, while at the same time, Mercedes is celebrating its first ever won title and enjoy the triumph. This is no doubt a hard time for this once glorious team. Although its former president Luca Di Montezemolo said that there is always a cycle, and he stressed that Ferrari is still the team that has won the most tiltles, the future for Ferrari is still unclear. Cruel as it may be, the times for the oldest surviving team in Grand Prix racing has gone.
But of course, Ferrari is taking steps to drag itself from the fatigue: The long-time president Luca Di Montezemolo already stepped down and the shining star Alonso was just confirmed to leave Ferrari the next season. But from the remarks of the new president Sergio Marchionne, we might see something behind the scene.
He certainly acknowledged Montezemolo’s record in turning the company around with strong profits and product lines, but he also said, “The heart of Ferrari is winning in Formula 1. The important thing for Ferrari is not just the financial results, but also it is winning and we have been struggling for six years.” It is not too difficult for us to see the new president is determined to draw a clear line between Montezemolo and to place his plans for reconstruction as soon as possible.
There must be something making the new president Marchionne desperately to remark those words about a man who holds such reverence in the field. Then what is that? On October 13th, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles IPO was successfully launched on New York Stock Exchange so that Marchionne’s dream for revenue and an increase of production numbers to perhaps 10,000 vehicles annually (currently around 7,000) is about to come true, whereas the former president’s plan for Ferrari and his intensions to protect the brand were given a big blow, for Mr. Montezemolo spent his career at Ferrari arguing the opposite course—sell but restrain production, increase rarity and exclusivity, and in doing so, protecting the brand. Thus, the friction between Marchionne and Montezemolo is clear. And Marchionne remarked, “We serve the company. When the company has a change of plans, or if there is no longer a convergence of ideas, things change.” And that change, without any doubt, refers to Montezemolo.
Montezemolo’s leave also affects the two-time champion Alonso, who committed himself to winning F1 for the last four years, being powerless when the car made by Ferrari no longer meets his needs. The most talented racer’s leaving is certainly a big blow to the under-reconstruction Ferrari, and whether the quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel will join Ferrari is yet to know. This indeed remains another challenge for Ferrari to move ahead.
With all the glorious history made by the Reds, we all wish it can rejuvenate soon. And so, let’s hope!