Stefano Domenicali has resigned as Ferrari Formula One principal and been replaced by Marco Mattiacci, the team said in a statement on Monday.
The Italian glamour team, the oldest and most successful in the sport, have made a disappointing start to the season with two fourth places for Spaniard Fernando Alonso the team’s best results in three races so far.
Ferrari have not won a driver’s world championship since Kimi Raikkonen in 2007 and at the most recent race in Bahrain, Alonso and his Finnish team mate were ninth and 10th.
Mattiacci, current president of Ferrari North America, will take overall charge of the Gestione Sportiva – the carmaker’s sporting activities including the Formula One team – immediately.
“There are particular moments in all of our professional lives where you need the courage to take difficult and very painful decisions,” Domenicali, who took over as team principal from Jean Todt in 2008, said in a Ferrari statement.
“It’s time to make an important change. As boss, I take the responsibility – as I always have – for the situation we are going through.”
Domenicali, who has been with Ferrari for 23 years in various roles, said he had made his decision to shake things up for the good of the group and to help the team get back to where they should be.
He thanked Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo and the fans “with the regret that we could not reap what we have sown so hard in these years”.
Montezemolo thanked Domenicali for his contribution and “the great sense of responsibility he has shown even today in putting Ferrari’s interests ahead of his own”.