Maranello, Italy (SportsNetwork.com) - Stefano Domenicali stepped down as team principal of Ferrari on Monday, following a disappointing start to 2014 Formula One season.
With three races completed, Ferrari has yet to score a podium finish this season. Fernando Alonso finished fourth in both Australia and Malaysia and then ninth in Bahrain, while Kimi Raikkonen has placed no better than seventh this year. Both drivers are former F1 world champions. Ferrari has been the most successful team in the sport, winning 16 constructors' championships.
Ferrari announced that Marco Mattiacci, the current president and CEO of Ferrari North America, will replace Domenicali as team principal, effective immediately.
"I thank Stefano Domenicali, not only for his constant dedication and effort, but also for the great sense of responsibility he has shown, even today, in always putting the interests of Ferrari above all else," Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said in a team statement. "I hold Domenicali in esteem, and I have watched him grow professionally over the twenty three years we have worked together. I now wish him every success for the future.
"I also want to wish all the best to Marco Mattiacci, whom I know to be a highly regarded manager and who knows the company well. He has accepted this challenge with enthusiasm."
Domenicali, 48, joined Ferrari in 1991, and after a series of promotions with the Italian team, he was appointed sporting director in 2003. He replaced Jean Todt as Ferrari's team principal prior to the start of the 2008 season. Todt is now the president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), the governing body of F1.
"There are special moments that come along in everyone's professional life, when one needs courage to take difficult and very agonizing decisions," Domenicali said. "It is time for a significant change. As the boss, I take responsibility, as I have always done, for our current situation. This decision has been taken with the aim of doing something to shake things up and for the good of this group of people that I feel very close to."
Ferrari has not won a constructors' title since 2008. Raikkonen gave the team its last drivers' championship in 2007.