Instead of promoting from within, however, this time Ferrari has called in an outside executive – albeit one with whom it is intimately familiar. His name is Maurizio Arrivabene, and he's served as a senior executive at tobacco giant Philip Morris International, managing (among other areas) the Marlboro brand's sponsorship of the Scuderia. In that capacity he's been sitting on the FIA's Formula One Commission as the sponsors' representative since 2010, giving him a familiarity with how the series is run.
In his new capacity as Managing Director of the Gestione Sportiva and Team Principal of Scuderia Ferrari, Arrivabene replaces Marco Mattiacci, who was called up to the post from his previous position as head of the North American office just eight months ago. Back then Mattiacci replaced a similarly under-performing Domenicali. The change may very well have come at the behest (if not insistence) of Philip Morris, which remains the team's main sponsor and is undoubtedly displeased with Ferrari's performance lately. It wouldn't be the first time. After all, Marlboro similarly brokered the deal that put Ron Dennis in charge of McLaren in the early 1980s.
Mattiacci's swift replacement comes at the end of a disastrous season for the Scuderia. Following yesterday's season finale in Abu Dhabi, Ferrari finished fourth in the constructors' standings behind Mercedes, Red Bull and Williams. The last time it finished the championship in such poor shape was in 2010 when Felipe Massa was injured and the team scrambled to find a replacement. But even then it managed to win at least one race and land on the podium another five times. Fernando Alonso finished on the podium only twice this season while Kimi Raikkonen struggled further back. This year marked the first time Ferrari failed to win a grand prix since 1993, and even then Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger managed more podiums than the team scored this season.
Maranello (Italy) 24 November 2014 – Ferrari is pleased to announce the appointment of Maurizio Arrivabene as Managing Director of Gestione Sportiva and as Team Principal of Scuderia Ferrari, replacing Marco Mattiacci.
Mr Arrivabene comes to Ferrari from Philip Morris, which he joined in 1997 after a 20 years career in marketing and promotions in Italy and abroad. Maurizio Arrivabene has held a variety of posts in Philip Morris, leading up to his appointment in 2007 as Vice President of Marlboro Global Communication & Promotions for Philip Morris International and, in 2011, as Vice President Consumer Channel Strategy and Event Marketing. He has been an independent member of the board of Juventus FC since 2012 also. From 2011 to 2012 he has been a member of the Sport Business Academy (SDA Bocconi School of Management and RCS Sport), in the Advisory Team Program.
Throughout his time with Philip Morris, Maurizio Arrivabene has been closely involved in the partnership with Ferrari both in Maranello and on the world's racing circuits. He has also represented all Formula One sponsors on the F1 Commission since 2010.
"We decided to appoint Maurizio Arrivabene because, at this historic moment in time for the Scuderia and for Formula 1, we need a person with a thorough understanding not just of Ferrari but also of the governance mechanisms and requirements of the sport," commented Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne. "Maurizio has a unique wealth of knowledge: he has been extremely close to the Scuderia for years and, as a member of the F1 Commission, is also keenly aware of the challenges we are facing. He has been a constant source of innovative ideas focused on revitalisation of Formula One. His managerial experience on a highly complex and closely regulated market is also of great importance, and will help him manage and motivate the team. I am delighted to have been able to secure his leadership for our racing activities".
"We would also like to thank Marco Mattiacci for his service to Ferrari in the last 15 years and we wish him well in his future endeavours" concluded Mr Marchionne.