giovedì 11 settembre 2014

New era for Ferrari, Alitalia an option for Montezemolo

'End of an era' for iconic Italian carmaker

(ANSA) - Turin, September 10 - Ferrari embarked on a new era on Wednesday when Luca Cordero di Montezemolo announced he was stepping down as chairman after 23 years. Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of parent company Fiat Chrysler (FCA), is to take over the helm after Montezemolo quit with Ferrari enduring the latest in a series of disappointing seasons in Formula One. Montezemolo said he was hopeful Ferrari could now embark on a "new cycle" of success and Marchionne was also hopeful the F1 team would regain competitiveness soon. "It's necessary to give Ferrari credibility on the track.

I'm obsessed with this," Marchionne said at a joint press conference with Montezemolo at at the company's Maranello base. "This would give support to the rest of Ferrari. "Winning on the track is not negotiable. We have to get back (to winning). "I don't think this is going to be a great season, let's accept that. But I believe in the sporting department of this company. The successes will come. "We met (Team Principal Marco) Mattiacci. It's a work in progress. There's a problem with the engine and there a lot of work for get on with". He added that he was as upset about the team's failure to deliver a competitive race car as the team's two former world champion drivers, Ferdinando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, were. "They're two world champions. Unfortunately we haven't been able to give them the means to win with. It bothers me and them," he said. Marchionne dismissed speculation that Ferrari could be merged into FCA or that the company would launch an initial public offering.

He also ruled out ruled out the possibility of any Ferrari production being moved from Italy. "Ferrari was born Italian and it will die Italian," Marchionne told reporters. "If something were produced outside this plant, it would be obscene - totally unthinkable. If it were not born here, it wouldn't be Ferrari any more". It became clear that Montezemolo's stint at Ferrari was close to ending on Sunday when Marchionne said he was "enormously annoyed" at the dry spell the team has encountered since it won the constructors' title in 2008. Montezemolo's departure from Ferrari may pave the way for him to take over Alitalia after its tie-up with UAE carrier Etihad. Montezemolo admitted this was an option on Wednesday. "It's a possibility," Montezemolo told reporters when asked about the Alitalia job. "But I'm extremely focused on here until mid October. Then we'll talk about it. Now it's premature".

Ferrari has thrived since Montezemolo took over as chairman in 1991 and, apart from the recent poor run, they performed well on the track too. Ferrari won 14 world titles under Montezemolo, eight constructors' championships and six drivers' championships. The majority of those came when Michael Schumacher won five consecutive drivers' titles and helped the Italian glamour team to clinch six constructors' championships between 1999 and 2004. 

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