Domenicali was formerly the head of Scuderia Ferrari, rising through the ranks at Maranello to succeed Jean Todt as team principal in 2008. He resigned in 2014 to be replaced first by Ferrari US chief Marco Mattiacci and then by Marlboro man Maurizio Arrivabene as the team has struggled to find its form again. Shortly after leaving Maranello, Domenicali took up a new position at Audi, where he was rumored to be working on the company's anticipated foray into Formula One with Red Bull. But after that program was shut down in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal, Domenicali is now tipped to move back to Italy to take over the supercar business.
Stefano would be the second Domenicali to head an Italian performance brand under the VW/Audi umbrella, joining Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali (they not believed to be related). The move would also be a particularly emphatic gesture to Sergio Marchionne. The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief has previously lost top lieutenants to Volkswagen, most notably Luca de Meo, who headed up VW brand's passenger car marketing department before taking over at Seat. While previous Ferrari chiefs Todt and Montezemolo came up through the racing department, Marchionne assumed the chairmanship in Maranello and brought in outside talent instead.
Meanwhile Winkelmann has been in charge of Lamborghini since 2005, when he was appointed by Audi to run the company it had just acquired a few years prior. Under the tenure of the German-Italian executive, Lamborghini sales have risen from 1,600 units per year to over 2,500 last year. The introduction of the forthcoming Urus crossover, birthed under Winkelmann's leadership, is expected to more than double that overall figure.
Given his success in transforming Lamborghini, it isn't likely that the Volkswagen Group will simply show Winkelmann the door. Word has it that he'll receive another posting at Audi, potentially taking over the growing Quattro GmbH division in Neckarsulm. The division is responsible for all of Audi's RS models as well as the R8 – the latter of which Audi sells as many units as the entire Lamborghini division does in a year. Less than two years ago, Audi put vehicle development engineer Heinz Peter Hollwerweger in charge of the performance division, moving his predecessor Franciscus van Meel to its R&D center in Beijing. Now approaching 63 years old, Hollwerweger is preparing to retire, leaving the door open to Winkelmann.