Stefano Domenicali has been appointed Formula 1’s new president and CEO, with Chase Carey becoming non-executive chairman.
Ex-Ferrari team boss and current FIA single-seater commission president and Lamborghini chief Domenicali will assume his new position at F1 next January.
He will return F1 after an absence of nearly seven years, having ended a 23-year stint with Ferrari in 2014 after resigning as team principal instead of following then-president Luca de Montezemolo’s command to sack the head of the engine department in response to a miserable start to the V6 turbo-hybrid era.
Lamborghini pre-empted F1’s announcement with a statement confirming Domenicali’s exit, praising how he “guided the company through a crucial period and led us to exceptional transformation”.
“I am thrilled to join the Formula 1 organisation, a sport that has always been part of my life,” said Domenicali.
“He’s one of the good guys” :: Christian Horner
“I was born in Imola and live in Monza. I’ve remained connected to the sport through my work with the Single Seater Commission at the FIA and I look forward to connecting with the teams, promoters, sponsors and many partners in Formula 1 as we continue to drive the business ahead.
“The past six years at Audi and then leading Lamborghini have given me broader perspective and experience that I will bring to Formula 1.”
Carey succeeded Bernie Ecclestone in the dual role of CEO and chairman following Liberty Media’s completed takeover of F1 in early 2017.
He said it was an “honour” to have run the championship and said he was “proud of the team that’s not only navigated through an immensely challenging 2020 but returned with added purpose and determination in the areas of sustainability, diversity and inclusion”.
Carey believes under his leadership F1 has “built the strong foundation for the business to grow over the long term”, while Liberty chief Greg Maffei said Carey had done a “phenomenal job”.
“I personally rate him very high, not just because of his experience, but also as a person, as a character and as a passionate motorsport guy” :: Andreas Seidl
“He assembled a first-class commercial and sporting organization that has a long list of achievements, including broadening the appeal of the sport, growing its digital presence, establishing new technical regulations, securing a cost cap for the first time and reaching a new more equitable Concorde Agreement with the teams,” said Maffei.
“His actions have reinforced F1 as the pinnacle of motorsport. As always, he has been a great partner and I look forward to his continued counsel in his new role as non-executive chairman.”
Domenicali’s appointment has been an open secret for days and several team bosses have already indicated they support the move.
“He’s one of the good guys,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.
“Having competed against him when he was a team principal of Ferrari he had a lot of integrity, he was a racer, a competitor, he understands the business.
“Obviously he spent life in the commercial world outside of football in the last few years, he’s done a great job at Lamborghini and I think that he will be a real asset to Formula 1.
“You look at the make-up of the top end of the sport with [FIA president] Jean Todt, [F1 managing director of motorsport] Ross Brawn and Stefano and it looks like a mid-1990s or early 2000 [Ferrari] Formula 1 set-up.
“But I don’t think that there’s any particular bias or love towards Ferrari from any of those individuals. I’m sure he will be scrupulous in his impartiality.”
McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl added: “I personally have worked together with Stefano during my time at Porsche, first when we were working on a special project, and Stefano helping quite a lot with his experience also in order to work on that project.
“And I personally rate him very high, not just because of his experience in all these different jobs he did so far, but also very high as a person, as a character and as a passionate motorsport guy.”
If F1’s leadership structure remains the same then new president and CEO Domenicali will continue to be supported by Brawn as well as Carey in his new tangential role.
Carey’s parting gift to Domenicali is handing over a very different championship to the one he inherited from Bernie Ecclestone, with all 10 teams signed up to better commercial terms, a first-ever budget cap next year before new technical rules in 2022.
Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul was positive about Domenicali’s impending arrival but said despite positive developments within F1, there remains a need for strong leadership – though did not specify which issues he was referring to.
“He has plenty to offer in such a position, he’s got a very good knowledge of the sport itself,” said Abiteboul.
“He’s got a very good knowledge of how the sport can support the manufacturers.
“At Lamborghini he probably knows why they’re not in Formula 1, so I guess he’s got a different interesting perspective to offer in relation to that.
“What we need is very stronger management because without being too pessimistic about the direction that things are taking there is a number of topics on the agenda of anyone coming into this position.
“We need some someone very strong, and someone committed, who knows the sport but also with a strong group of people around him.”