Piece by piece, Ferrari has been confirming the reports and ending the speculation with several announcements about the future of some of their key personnel and the positions they hold in the Scuderia family.
The most recent news came today with the announcement that now-retired driving legend Michael Schumacher would stay on as a "special assistant" to the new CEO of the Ferrari empire (more on that below). Since joining Ferrari, Schumacher has been more than a driver, he was the center of the team, having completely rejuvenated the historic squad from a losing relic into the dominant force in racing. What does the job of "special assistant" entail? Hard to say at this point, as Schumacher looks forward to sitting back and reflecting on life before taking on any substantial new tasks. But don't expect to see him trackside at the races and test sessions, or sitting behind a desk at Maranello, either. He'll likely become more of a consultant to the company, enjoying the quiet life he's so richly deserves while contemplating what he can do for the team with which he's celebrated so many victories.
The new CEO he'll be advising is Jean Todt, who moves up from general manager to focus more broadly on the company as a whole (or so he hopes). When outgoing CEO Luca di Montezemolo became chairman of parent company Fiat, Todt was put in charge of Ferrari as general manager but stayed directly involved in the racing team as well.
That leaves two positions open at Todt becomes CEO: general manager and team principal. Amedeo Felisa moves up from deputy managing director to general manager, following Todt up the hierarchy as his right-hand man. Ross Brawn will be leaving for a year's sabbatical, vacating his post as technical director of the team. It seems Todt will be managing the Scuderia for one more season, fuelling the speculation that when Brawn returns, the job will be his (and maybe then Todt will have a bit more room to breathe). Taking Brawn's job as technical director is Mario Almondo, who for over ten years served as industrial director. Other promotions include Paolo Martinelli, who moved up to a new job at Fiat, and Gilles Simon who takes Paolo's job as head of the engine department.
All these changes and more amount to the biggest shake-up Ferrari has felt in years, and we'll be watching to see the effects brought to bear on its legendary racing activities and delectable road cars.
[Source: International Herald-Tribune and GrandPrix.com]