Changing Direction: management changes at Ferrari

Only a few days after the end of the 2006 season, reports are surfacing indicating that there's going to be a real shake-up in the management at Ferrari, primarily at the "Scuderia" F1 racing division, but also affecting the road car division as well.

It's been long expected that Technical Director Ross Brawn would retire with Michael Schumacher. It was Schumi that brought him in to direct the team, and insiders expect him to announce his retirement or "sabbatical" later this week. Nigel Stepney has been serving as race & test director, but with Brawn's departure, he could be considered for the promotion. Although Stepney didn't positively confirm that Brawn is leaving, he did indicate that some senior management are, and that the vacancies are likely to be filled from within "the family". Another candidate for the technical director post is Ross Brawn's protégé Luca Baldisseri, Schumacher's race engineer.

Meanwhile, team principal Jean Todt is expected to move away from directly managing the race team. Todt was promoted to Ferrari chief Luca di Montezemolo's position when Luca was promoted to chairman of the Fiat group, but Jean has been holding on to both posts in the interim, supervising both road and race divisions. (Some have suggested that Todt could eventually replace Max Mosley as head of the FIA.) Sporting Director Stefano Domenicali is tipped to succeed Todt as team principal, with Industrial Director Mario Almondo moving up to sporting director.

Together with the arrival of Kimi Raikkonen to take Michael Schumacher's seat as the champ retires, these management shifts amount to big changes at Ferrari. For the Scuderia, that could mean an adjustment period of another year before the team can seriously contend for the championship. Time will tell.


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