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New Ferrari F1 boss: 'April Fool joke?'

2014-04-20 13:11

NO JOKES HERE: Ferrari F1's new boss Marco Mattiacci initially thought the offer of a new job was a delayed April Fool joke. Image AFP

SHANGHAI, China - Ferrari's new Formula 1 boss Marco Mattiacci was so surprised when Luca di Montezemolo offered him the job that he thought the chairman was joking.

Mattiacci, previously head of the Italian automaker's North American operations, was named chief of Ferrari's competition division - which includes the F1 team - on April 14 after Stefano Domenicali took responsibility for the poor start to the 2014 F1 season and quit as team principal.


Mattiacci revealed on Friday (April 18), ahead of the 2014 Chinese F1 GP, how fast thingsmoved between him being offered the job and accepting it.

"I received a phone call at 5.58am on Friday from Montezemolo and he told me, 'this is my idea'. I told him April Fool's was 15 days earlier," said Mattiacci, who lives in New York, "butafter the second, third, minute of discussion I understood it was serious and that there was already a ticket ready to go from New York to Milan in three hours.

"I arrived Saturday morning in Maranello at the Fiorano track."

Ferrari's decision to appoint Mattiacci to lead the sport's oldest and most successful team has been met with widespread scepticism. Many have questioned whether the Italian, an outsider to the cut-and-thrust of F1 with practically no racing experience, will be able to turn around the team's fortunes.

He, however, said: "It is very motivating for me. That I need to prove I am at the level of Ferrari and  F1... you have in front of you an extremely motivated person.

"I come with a lot of humility to understand and to work very hard. This is what I can commit to the team, to the drivers that are the best drivers in the world.

"They will have an extremely humble person that will listen and will fight 150% to be a facilitator and to use the best the talent in Ferrari."

He had met Domenicali to discuss the job. "Stefano is a person for whom I have the utmost respect, first as a human being, second as a professional, so it was natural for us to discuss the role."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.

Read more on:    ferrari  |  2014 chinese gp  |  china  |  shanghai  |  racing  |  f1  |  motorsport

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