Ferrari sporting director Rivola to move to academy

Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:31am EST
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(Reuters) - Ferrari sporting director Massimo Rivola is stepping down to take on a new role at the helm of the team's young driver academy, media reported on Wednesday.

The Gazzetta dello Sport said he would take over from Luca Baldisserri, who has left Maranello to manage the career of former academy driver Lance Stroll.

Canadian teenager Stroll, whose billionaire father Lawrence made a fortune with fashion brands Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger, joined the Williams driver development programme last November.

There was no official confirmation from Ferrari but a letter from Rivola, who joined Ferrari in 2009 after working as team manager for Minardi and their successors Toro Rosso, was circulating on social media.

"After 18 years of F1, of which 12 have been on the pitwall, it's time to make a pitstop," he wrote to his team mates explaining the switch.

Ferrari, the sport's oldest and most successful team, finished runners-up to champions Mercedes last season with four times world champion Sebastian Vettel winning three races. The new season starts on March 20 in Australia.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Justin Palmer)