Ferrari F1 Team Has Fallen Because Domenicali Should Be Bookkeeper, Not Boss

Barry RosenbergContributor IIJanuary 19, 2013

Stefano Domenicali in his appropriate working clothes.
Stefano Domenicali in his appropriate working clothes.Getty Images/Getty Images

I've been a Formula One and a Ferrari fan for more than half a century. In all that time, I never saw the great team so feeble. Suddenly, after the departure of the very able Jean Todt, this Stefano Domenicali character shows up as team boss.

Well, I stumbled along assuming that Luca di Montezemolo knew what he was doing when he gave this unknown the most important job on the F1 team. As time unfolded, it began to be obvious that di Montezemolo does NOT know what he's doing, and worse, neither does Domenicali. 

Who the hell is he? 

Finally, I Googled Stefano Domenicali, and guess what? He doesn't know a damn thing about cars, racing, Formula One or anything else the team really needs. He was born in Imola in 1965 and stayed in that town through high school, after which he attended Bologna University. In 1991, he graduated with a degree—not in aerodynamics, not in engineering, but in business administration. Business administration! He's a bean-counter! 

Upon graduation, Domenicali got a job with Ferrari—crunching numbers! Perhaps he crunched some savings for the company, and somehow he got himself in charge of Ferrari's Mugello test track. Two years later, Stefano Domenicali moved into the racing team—mostly bean-counting and human resources. It makes my head swim to think of it. 

In 1996, Domenicali was given responsibility over team sponsors, and two years later was made team manager, and in 2003 was made sporting director.

Now I understand why the spirit of excitement and of entitlement is missing from the venerable, blood-red team. The head guy has no heart for it. It's just another job at which he must excel. But a racing team in the Top Flight is not a job to be done—it's a spirit to be captured and used to envelope a collection of individuals, each of whom is an absolute master at his or her speciality. 

The absence of spirit in the current Ferrari team is because there is only business without spirit in its leader. Stafano Domenicali loves sport, his favourites being basketball, football and skiing. Not motor racing.

Now I understand.