On July 25 the ex-president of Ferrari Sergio Marchionne died. Less than in four years the vigorous Italian could return Scuderia on the leading positions in royal races. Let's remember its main achievements.
Several years ago the state of affairs in Maranello looked deplorable: the chassis was inefficient, the engine was inferior to opponents, the team couldn't brag of any breakthrough idea and only here and there could fight for victories. But the break which became obvious in the 2018th was outlined in last year: Ferraris SF70H and 71H were innovative with the heap of the perspective ideas and courageous decisions.
And if last year the attention was riveted only on the chassis, then in this season it was investigated, as the Italian power unit became the best in the peloton, having moved unconditional leaders of the turboyera with Mercedes. What caused such breakthrough, unexpected, but pleasant for fans of Scuderia? For this purpose Sergio Marchionne was required to break the atmosphere of conservatism, crisis and fear of innovations which reigned in team at the time of its arrival. "Now Ferrari – not team, but the small group of the intimidated people. They don't think out anything new, make decisions, are afraid to be fired", – the former racing engineer Luka Baldisseri who left Ferrari in the 2015th told about the state of affairs in Maranello. Marchionne was required several months to restructure team. From its cross in each division it was created the working group which was engaged in search of the new ideas. The atmosphere in team became more open, employees weren't afraid to propose fresh solutions any more therefore again became Ferrari the sample of engineering and aerodynamics in Formula 1, having moved even recognized leaders in this question – Red Bull with Adrian Newey.
Marchionne decided that he in Italy enough own talents, and even after James Ellison's leaving from the post of the technical director didn't begin to invite the foreigner with the loud surname. The rate on local shots, especially on little-known experts, looked extremely adventurous even in the opinion of the immediate environment of the president of Ferrari. But Sergio believed in the people. "Italians create good road cars. But why they won't be able to build fast racing race cars?" – he questioned. Also there was the miracle. The former chief mechanic Mattia Binotto not only successfully replaced Ellison, but also surpassed him as the executive technical director. The former employee of tobacco concern Phillip Morris Maurizio Arrivabene organically fitted into the role of the charismatic head of team, and under the leadership of Corrado Lotti who headed division of GT earlier, the best engine of modern F1 was created.
Political struggle with Liberty Media
Marchionne was one of key figures of resistance of intention of new owners of Formula 1 with Liberty Media to democratize the World Cup. And if at meetings of Strategic group and the Commission of F1 of Mercedes and Red Bull – the main allies of Ferrari in this fight – were represented by Toto Wolff and Christian Horner, then from Scuderia there was always personally Sergio, but not the direct head of the Arrivabene team. The Italian resolutely advocated the interests and the privileges of Ferrari in fight against Liberty Media and accurately defined rules of the game: or new owners respect the special status of Scuderia, or it will leave the championship. Of course, most likely, Ferrari was never going to leave Formula 1, but the status of legendary and most famous team didn't allow Americans to ignore these threats. With Marchionne's death the owners of F1 can breathe a sigh of relief – such level of uncompromising stand and influence which it had can not be enough for his successors. "We always well interacted with Sergio and reached consent in many questions, and now everything should be started from scratch", – the chairman of the board of Daimler concern Dieter Zetsche sadly summed up.
Return of Alfa Romeo
Sergio Marchionne left the print in Formula 1 not only as the president of Ferrari, but also as the head of all concern FIAT Chrysler. Return of the Alfa Romeo brand to the World Cup – personal achievement of the Italian who spent many years for rescue of the company from Milan, known for the last avtosportivny achievements. Led the conversation on the possibility of return of Alfa Romeo to Marchionne's F1 in 2015. The ideas were different: from creation of factory team on the basis of Sauber in delivery of engines to Toro Rosso. Eventually it was decided to be limited to title sponsorship of the Swiss stable. Such step coincided with progress of Sauber and emergence in its list of perspective Charles Leclair. And it became the good step from the marketing point of view as in 2017 the number of sales of cars of Alfa Romeo went up. And in the sports plan – besides advance of the brand from Milan – Sergio Marchionne received actually junior Ferrari team behind the example of Toro Rosso and Red Bull. By hearsay, he nourished similar idea concerning possible alliance Haas and Maserati, but now they appeared under the big question.