Stefano Domenicali confirmed as F1's new president and CEO
Former Ferrari team boss returning to F1 in 2021 to take over the running of the sport; Carey to move into non-executive chairman role after four years at the helm
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 25/09/20 3:29pm
Stefano Domenicali has been confirmed as Formula 1's new president and CEO as the successor to Chase Carey from January.
Carey, who replaced Bernie Ecclestone as the sport's boss in 2017, will become F1's non-executive chairman.
Domenicali returns to F1 after a six-year absence having spent the last four years running the Lamborghini car company.
The Italian was previously Ferrari's team principal between 2008 and 2014, overseeing their last constructors' world title success in his first year in charge.
"I am thrilled to join the Formula 1 organisation, a sport that has always been part of my life," said the 55-year-old Domenicali, whose appointment was confirmed by Liberty Media, the sport's owners, on Friday.
"I was born in Imola and live in Monza. I've remained connected to the sport through my work with the Single Seater Commission at the FIA and I look forward to connecting with the teams, promoters, sponsors and many partners in Formula 1 as we continue to drive the business ahead."
Carey, who recently concluded the negotiations of F1's new Concorde Agreement, said: "I look forward to staying involved and supporting Stefano as he takes the wheel."
F1 welcomes Domenicali return
Domenicali joined Ferrari from university in 1991 and rose through the ranks at Maranello, playing a pivotal role as sporting director during their dominant F1 era with Michael Schumacher, before being chosen to replace Jean Todt as team boss.
After news of Domenicali's appointment first emerged on Tuesday, his F1 return has been welcomed by the sport's leading figures.
"Stefano is a great guy," said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner to Sky Sports F1 at the Russian GP.
"He's a gentleman, he's a racer. We obviously raced against him when he was team principal at Ferrari. He knows the business, he understands the sport and it's fantastic that he's getting involved. I'm sure everybody will welcome him back.
"It's a great choice for that role and I think he'll do a super job."
Horner, whose Red Bull team fought for world titles against a Domenicali-led Ferrari, added: "He was always very fair when we raced against him and he's one of the sport's good guys. I think he'll be very good in that role."
Carey, 66, has recently overseen the successful conclusion of the sport's complex Concorde Agreement discussions, with all 10 teams signing up to new terms for 2021 which are designed to help level F1's financial playing field.
The former television executive has also constructed a much-changed 17-race calendar for this season after the sport's original plans for 2020 were turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic.
"It has been an honour to lead Formula 1, a truly global sport with a storied past over the last seventy years," said Carey.
"I'm proud of the team that's not only navigated through an immensely challenging 2020 but returned with added purpose and determination in the areas of sustainability, diversity and inclusion. I'm confident that we've built the strong foundation for the business to grow over the long term."
Haas boss Guenther Steiner told Sky F1: "I think they've got a great team now with Stefano and Chase staying on a little bit more in the background."
McLaren, meanwhile, tweeted that their team "embraces the decision to appoint Stefano Domenicali to the position of President & CEO of F1. We're excited at the prospect of working with Stefano and his team in the new era of Formula 1."
Domenicali will be reunited with former Ferrari colleague Ross Brawn, F1's managing director of motorsport, and also work closely with Todt, who serves as the FIA's president.
Carey and Formula 1's quiet revolution
Analysis from Sky Sports News' Craig Slater on the American's legacy
Four years ago, Chase Carey appeared with Bernie Ecclestone outside the latter's Princes Gate offices in Knightsbridge, London. It came an hour after Liberty Media confirmed they were to acquire Formula 1. What to make of Carey, the man named as F1's new chairman? There was the big moustache; suit jacket slung over his shoulder, in what emerged as his trademark pose; he was unassuming in tone. Did anyone expect the quiet revolution that would come?
Not Ecclestone. He expected to remain CEO for another three years. Four months later when Liberty assumed formal control, Carey told Ecclestone to his face he'd be replacing him as chief executive. Ecclestone didn't like it but respected the way Carey handled it.
If that act alone caused F1 to draw breath, those aware of Carey's background and achievements would have understood that once he was in control of the business he would mean business. A senior Lieutenant of Rupert Murdoch's, Carey was instrumental in the creation of Fox News and Sky Television. If some doubted his level of F1 knowledge so did he. "I plan to use my ears more than my mouth," was his early mantra in response to interview requests.
Yet he had a plan both in terms of what F1 should look like and how it should be governed. Hardened paddock insiders smiled wryly when he spoke of F1 teams working as partners rather than adversaries around the negotiating table. Heads were shaken when he talked of equalising the sport's financial structures. How would he face down the big teams especially when Mercedes and Ferrari seemed united in opposition?
Carey's Concorde Agreement, unanimously signed last month, may not be the full realisation of his vision for the sport. Ferrari still get the most money, for example. Yet it has radically changed the sport's direction of travel in a commercial and sporting sense.
Payments to the teams have been largely equalised, a cost cap imposed and the $200m bond for new entries has transformed all existing teams into more valuable franchises at the stroke of his pen. Thanks to Carey's close co-operation with FIA president Jean Todt, rules to be introduced in 2022 are designed to equalise the field and produce - as Carey put it - "the Leicester factor".
The chance for an underdog to win now and again. The same media individuals who shook their heads at Carey's prospects applauded him when he revealed broad approval for his plans in Abu Dhabi last year.
A couple of races ago I asked Red Bull boss Christian Horner what Carey's secret had been in terms of getting his plans accepted. His response was revealing: "Chase didn't budge a millimetre from the first plans he presented until he got the negotiation done."
On the steps of Ecclestone's offices that day in September 2016, Carey flatly denied to me he planned to "Americanise" F1. Perhaps in key areas it needed Americanising.
"He can do things that we didn't do," was Ecclestone's blunt assessment of Carey, who unbeknown to him was soon to remove him from office. Four years on, Carey can indeed say he has moved F1 into a new era.