There are reports around Europe – notably in Germany’s Sport Bild – that Ferrari F1 boss Marco Mattiacci could be replaced in the next couple of weeks, after less than a season in charge at Maranello. In that time the top management of the company has changed, with the new chairman being Sergio Marchionne (head of Fiat). There has also been an announcement that Ferrari is to be floated. The word is that he will be replaced by Maurizio Arrivabene, the Vice-President of Global Communications at Philip Morris International since 2007. The 57-year-old Italian was, therefore, the primary decision-maker of Ferrari’s chief sponsor, while also being named by Fiat as a board member of Juventus since 2012. Arrivabene joined Philip Morris in 1997. He has been a member of the F1 Commission since 2010, representing the F1 sponsors.
Ferrari said that the story was “an historic and unfounded rumour” and made the point that the team does not make comments about rumours.
There is clearly potential for this story to be an attempt to destabilise Ferrari, not simply in racing terms but also politically, which is not what Ferrari needs as it looks ahead to a stock market flotation. It might also be linked to rumours that the German auto giant Volkswagen is keen to take over Ferrari, which would help the Fiat group to reduce its debt incurred during the purchase of Chrysler.