New Ferrari boss thought job offer was April Fool

Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:21pm EDT
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By Abhishek Takle

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Ferrari's new team principal Marco Mattiacci was taken by surprise when Luca di Montezemolo offered him the top job at Formula One's glamour team, the Italian initially believing the chairman's approach to be a joke.

Mattiacci, formerly head of the Italian carmaker's North American operations, was named chief of Ferrari's competition division, including the Formula One team, on Monday after Stefano Domenicali took responsibility for the poor start to the season and resigned as team principal.

Mattiacci revealed on Friday ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix how fast things had moved between him being offered the job and accepting it.

"I received a call at 5.58 on Friday morning and chairman Montezemolo on the phone told me, ‘this is my idea.'

"And I told (him) that April Fool's (day) was already far away, 15 days earlier," said Mattiacci, who lives in New York.

"But then after the second, third minutes of discussion, I understood it was serious and I understood that there was already a ticket ready to go from New York to Milan after three hours.

"And 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 skepticism.   Continued...

New Ferrari Formula One team principal Marco Mattiacci attends the second practice session of the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit, April 18, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Barria