Ferrari F1 team starts new era without Montezemolo

Wed Sep 10, 2014 2:56pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Luca di Montezemolo's resignation as Ferrari chairman on Wednesday severs an historic link with the company's late founder Enzo and marks the end of an era for Formula One's most successful and glamorous team.

Without him in Maranello, or followed by a media scrum on his rare visits to the F1 paddock, Ferrari may seem a little less flamboyant and the sport a little less colourful. But both will survive.

The Prancing Horse's era of dominance on the track has been over for a while, however. The Italian team have not won a championship since 2008, or a race since May last year. Their last pole position was in 2012.

"I suppose we’re approaching the end of an era in F1, dear old Luca, it started back when we were all so young," said former International Automobile Federation (FIA) head and old sparring partner Max Mosley, who stepped down in 2009.

"But in truth, Ferrari have never been quite the same since Jean (Todt) left. If they want to win races again they need to find another outstanding manager," he told Reuters after Montezemolo announced he would leave on Oct. 13.

The same day, the newly merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is due to be listed in New York.

"I wonder if (Fiat chief executive and new Ferrari chairman Sergio) Marchionne should try and persuade Jean to return to Ferrari and if he did would Jean accept? Honestly, I doubt it, but they need someone of Jean’s singular drive and focus now more than ever."

The suave Montezemolo - who combined a passion for racing with an elegant manner and extensive contacts among the world's social and political elite - was in many ways the embodiment of the Italian sportscar maker.   Continued...

Ferrari CEO Luca Cordero di Montezemolo waves to the media after the presentation of the new LaFerrari hybrid car on the Ferrari stand during the first media day of the 83rd Geneva Car Show at the Palexpo Arena in Geneva March 5, 2013. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse