Ferrari’s Felisa to retire, Marchionne takes on CEO role

Claire Williams may be keen to see the special historic team payment disappear from Formula 1’s prize money distribution but as the recipient of the massive bonus, Ferrari may not be too happy to relinquish that big cash haul at year’s end.

Ferrari get a special compensation bonus out of the Formula One Management (FOM) prize money distribution due to it, well, being Ferrari. F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has said that F1 IS Ferrari and Ferrari IS F1. As such, they are paid a historic team bonus and it equal millions and millions of dollars.

That’s probably a good thing lately because Ferrari was spun off from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV in January in a plan Sergio Marchionne hatched to raise cash for FCA. Marchionne is the CEO of FCA and also the chairman fo Ferrari and will now take over, perhaps temporarily, as CEO of Ferrari with the retirement of Amedeo Felisa following the nomination of a new board of directors and Bloomberg says this is an attempt of the Agnelli family to tighten its grip on Ferrari.

All of this is happening amidst the reduction of value since going public in January. Ferrari has lost 30% of its value and was trading at $41.53 having initially opened at $60. Ferrari has a market value of $7.85 billion and it will be critical for the company to discern ways to increase value through their brand and not just the sale of the super cars.

Felisa was a close aid to Luca di Montezemolo according to the Bloomberg report and current HR director, Mario Mairano is also planning on stepping down at the end of the month. The changes still continue at Ferrari and it can be complicated to understand as one looking on from the outside.

In many respects, Ferrari seems to be a vehicle or asset (pawn) in the FCA empire and spinning it off was an effort to raise cash. It’s also been suggested that Ferrari’s chummy relationship with Mercedes has more to do with FCA’s desire to work with the German manufacturer on the road car side of the equation and has lent itself to accusations from F1 boss that the sport is now being ran by a cartel consisting of Mercedes and Ferrari who also orchestrate the voting of their customer teams in F1 such as Williams, Force India, Sauber and Haas F1.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV can use all the help it can get and Marchionne has been looking for partnerships with other manufacturers for quite some time. Perhaps Mercedes is on his radar as a potential but somehow, as a Ferrari fan, I feel like the Italian super car manufacturer and historic F1 team has become merely a pawn in the world of car making. It will be interesting to see where this all leads for Ferrari but I would suggest that when its time to renew the F1 contracts in 2020, they will need the historic team payment more than ever.

Hat Tip: Bloomberg