The team is currently fifth in the constructors’ standings and has yet to score a podium finish. Mattiacci was announced as Stefano Domenicali’s replacement on Monday, having previously worked as CEO of Ferrari North America.
He believes it is too early to concede this year’s titles, despite admitting that closing the gap to run-away leaders Mercedes will be tough. “I don’t think we are going to give up,” the Italian said when facing the media for the first time today.
“Our goal is to close the gap as much as we can with the leaders and at the moment that is Mercedes. There are many variables that can influence a lap that can influence a race and a championship. It’s still very early to make decisions but our goal is to close the gap as soon as possible with Mercedes. It’s not an easy task, not an easy task.”
He promised to do “whatever is needed” to get the iconic team back to the front of the field. Some critics have suggested that Mattiacci does not have enough Formula 1 knowledge to lead Ferrari, but he is determined to prove the doubters wrong. “It is very motivating for me,” he said.
“I accept it because sometimes you can bring a new perspective when looking at issues and opportunities. The fact is I need to prove that I am at the level of Ferrari first and the level of Formula One, so you see in front of you an extremely motivated person.
“I love racing, I race myself in my spare time. I spend probably 20 or 22 weekends at the track last year and I attended the 24 hours of Daytona sleeping at the track and trying to learn as much as I could. It’s not Formula One, but I love racing, I love continuous improvement, challenging a team to give a better car and get as much as we can from the track.”
Mattiacci also revealed that he was first approached about the job by Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo last Friday. “I received a call at 5:58am on Friday morning and the chairman Montezemolo was on the phone and told me ‘this is my idea’,” explained the Italian.
“I thought that April fool was already 15 days earlier so in the second or third minutes of the discussion I understood he was serious, and I understood that because there was already a ticket ready to go from New York to Milan in three hours. I arrived on Saturday morning in Maranello at the Fiorano track.”
Image courtesy of Ferrari