Stefano Domenicali: Who is the new Formula 1 boss?
He's understood to be the new CEO of Formula 1, so who is he and is he the right man for the job?
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It has been revealed by RaceFans that Stefano Domenicali is set to replace Chase Carey as the CEO of Formula 1, with many publications backing up this claim. This is big news for the future of the sport, but it has raised a lot of questions among both fans and the teams.
For us fans, you might be wondering who is this guy? What qualifies him to be in charge of the day-to-day running of the sport? Why has Chase Carey stepped down from the role he has held since 2017? Is he the right choice for the future?
Let's get started.
Who is he?
Credit: XPB Images via The Race
Stefano Domenicali has been in the motorsport business for a while, and many of you will recognise him from his time at Ferrari. After graduating from the University of Bologna in 1991, Domenicali joined Ferrari's finance department. Only a year later he became the race director at the Ferrari-owned Mugello circuit, which meant he became involved in a number of other series, including DTM.
He stayed in that role for a few years until 1995, where he was promoted to the head of personnel in Ferrari's sporting department. Another promotion soon followed, where he was promoted to the role of team manager in 1996. At the start of the new millennium, he changed role once again to become the team's logistics manager. He didn't stay in the role for long though, as he was once again promoted to sporting director in 2002. He stayed in this role until the beginning of 2007.
In 2007, he took the place of Jean Todt as director of the Formula 1 team and was soon moved onto the role of team principal the following year. Domenicali led the team to their most recent Formula 1 world championship, winning the constructors championship in 2008. Alongside Luca di Montezemolo, he was instrumental in the signing of Fernando Alonso to the team for the 2010 season and beyond.
He resigned from his position as team principal in 2014 and was quickly snapped up by Audi. At the same time, he was appointed as head of the FIA's single-seater commission. A couple of years later in 2016, it was revealed that Domenicali would become the CEO of Lamborghini. He's stayed in this role until the present day, but news of his departure alongside an official announcement from Formula 1 is expected soon.
He's also responsible for the rebranding of GP2 to Formula 2, as well as the creator of the new, global Formula 3 series that debuted in 2019. If you're from the UK, you've probably seen him as a pundit on Channel 4 F1 alongside Steve Jones and David Coulthard during the 2020 season.
Why has Chase Carey stepped down?
Credit: Sky Sports F1
We don't yet know the reason for Chase Carey stepping down from his position as there has been no official announcement, but we can make a few reasonable guesses. My first guess would be simply that he's had enough. He has been in the role since Liberty Media purchased Formula 1 in 2017, taking over from the infamous Bernie Ecclestone. Since then, he has helped to grow Formula 1's social media presence at a faster rate than any other sport, launched F1 Esports, sorted out a budget cap alongside a new Concorde agreement and arranged a 17-race championship during a global pandemic. I'd say he's done alright.
He may also feel that he has done everything he has set out to do, which could be why he isn't leaving Formula 1 completely. He will still have a small part to play in F1's management, but perhaps he feels like the sport needs someone with a different skill set to move forward. Carey has always been very business-focused in his career, and to steal the phrase from Autosport's Luke Smith (who has coincidentally written a very similar article to this one), the sport may benefit from a 'racing man' such as Domenicali at the head.
Is he the right man for the job?
There are a lot of ways to answer this question, but a lot of it depends on what team you support. I'm sure if you're a Ferrari fan you see absolutely no problem with this appointment, but if Mercedes is your team you might not be as happy. I've seen a lot of this on Twitter over the past few days, but don't think people should be angry that Domenicali worked for Ferrari. First of all, he has not been involved with the team at all in the turbo-hybrid as he has been away from the team for the last seven seasons. I think you have to look at this like an outsider, and consider how qualified he is for the job. He clearly loves the sport and has it's best intentions at heart.
The only slight problem I have with his appointment is how Ferrari opposed the idea of Toto Wolff replacing Chase Carey in the latter stages of 2019. It seems a bit hypocritical given the situation, don't you think?
Ferrari's CEO Louis Camilleri had this to say of the Wolff rumours: "I think that anybody who's been an active and important player in a certain team within the last few years, to take on that responsibility at F1 would automatically create conflicts of interest, perceived or otherwise.
"So I personally think it would not be a good thing. Our position is that if Mattia [Binotto, Ferrari team principal] was the candidate to replace Chase Carey I think the rest of the paddock would not be too happy with it. It's just logical."
I do have more sympathy for this point of view though compared to the objections against Domenicali, as Wolff has been (and still is) a key player in Mercedes' domination of the turbo-hybrid era. However, if it was Wolff that had been Carey's replacement, I would have supported the decision for the same reasons. They are both unbelievably qualified for the job and would do the best they could for the future of Formula 1 as a whole, not just the team they used to work for.
Do you see the point I'm trying to make?
There's no point focusing on a job they used to do, what matters is their ability to be the CEO of Formula 1 - and I think Domenicali will be perfect for the job. With himself, Ross Brawn and Jean Todt at the helm I think Formula 1 is in safe hands going forward.
What do you think?
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