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Q&A with Marco Mattiacci

NEWS STORY
18/04/2014

The new head of the Gestione Sportiva, Marco Mattiacci met the F1 media for the first time today.

You come here relatively unknown to Formula 1 people, even Fernando and Kimi say they knew very little about you. Do you feel you have got a big mission to prove yourself to win the sceptics over?
It is very motivating for me. I accept it because I think sometimes, you can bring a new perspective looking at issues and opportunities, and the fact that I need to prove that I am at the level of Ferrari first and the level of Formula 1, so you have in front of you an extremely motivated person.

There's a tendency amongst Formula 1 teams now to have a CEO and then a racing director or sporting director below that. Do you intend restructuring the Gestione Sportiva or how do you want to do that?
It's too early to make such statements. What I know is that I've worked in Ferrari for 14 years. I've been, for the last four days, in Maranello in the Gestione Sportiva. I think we have an amazing group of talented people. I think we have a history of pedigree that is unique, a pride that is impressive, so to talk about restructuring is too early. Definitely, we are here, I'm here. Mr Montezemolo is extremely focused on giving any kind of support to the team and if needed, to go in the market, but clearly, to go in the market if he really believes that it's going to be an added value and impact to this team. That's at the moment what I know.

Can you tell us about motorsport experience? Do you have any at all when you were with Ferrari North America or out here?
If you want, I can tell you that I love racing. I race in my spare time. I spent probably 20, 22 weeks in the track last year. I attended three 24 Hour Daytonas, sleeping at the track, tried to learn as much as I could. It's not Formula 1 but I love racing. I love continuous improvement. I love challenging the team, challenging ourselves to give a better car and to get as much as we can from the track.

In any way, is your lack of race team experience or lack of experience here an asset to you? Can you look objectively at the team, not stand on reputations? And is that part of the reason you think you've been brought in?
I think that in the last 20 years, I have assembled a lot of teams. I am benchmarking a lot of business structure and as I told you, this is a different perspective, not in terms of sporting team but definitely assembled team, working with people, managing people from different nationalities with diversity, diversity in the industry, diversity in nationalities. So I will try to bring, if I have some best practice from that but definitely, this is a very specific culture, I'm aware. Time or reaction is completely different. You need to do things that have to happen yesterday, not in two months like in corporate. So I come with a lot of humility to understand and to work very hard. This is what I can commit to the team, to the drivers that are the best drivers in the world. They will have an extremely humble person that will listen and will fight 150% to be a facilitator and to best utilise the talent that is within Ferrari.

What is your strategy? How long before we see your influence on the team?
I am not a great believer in the word 'strategy.' I believe that, every day you need to set a target for improvement. As I said, when you first arrive, you look for what is good and I think that in this team, there is a lot a lot of talent. So I am working with the Chairman, with Mr. Montezemolo, in making an assessment and to see what will be needed. At this moment in time, I really cannot make a call on that.

Is it possible for you to ascertain whether you still have a chance (to win) this year's championship? Or do you feel your work is to start establishing the campaign for next year? And during the race, are you going to be on the pit wall talking to the guys, making decisions in the middle of races?
I don't think we are going to give up. Our goal is to close as much as possible the gap to the leader, which at the moment is Mercedes. You all know racing better than me, there are many variables that can influence a lap, a race or a championship. So, as this is the fourth race it is still very early to take a decision. But our objective is to close the gap to Mercedes as soon as possible, which is not an easy task. Will I be on the pit wall? For sure.

What's the reason you were wearing sunglasses this morning?
It's a very good question. If you do in four days almost forty hours of flying and you don't sleep in the last four days, probably you need sunglasses!

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