Stefano Domenicali’s career has followed a certain logic: team manager at Ferrari, CEO of Lamborghini, and now successor to Chase Carey at the head of FOM, working for Liberty Media. The Italian went through several stages and his profile was perfectly suited to this new role.
In Auto Bild, Stefano Domenicali confided in his two predecessors: Chase Carey and a certain Bernie Ecclestone. Who is he closest to? What is certain is that we feel a very personal attachment to Bernie Ecclestone …
“I was passionate about Formula 1 and as such the stars and especially Bernie Ecclestone were beyond my reach. “
“Over the years, I’ve been part of that world at Ferrari, and now I’m CEO of F1. I consider this a great privilege. Although I had a great job as president of Lamborghini. But I love this sport and I will give everything to make it suitable for the future. I don’t want to put myself on the same level as Bernie at all. He made Formula 1 a world sporting event. It is his baby that he raised. I’m taking over from Chase Carey, who started the next phase. “
Like Chase Carey, Stefano Domenicali has to deal with a unique case in F1 history: a pandemic. Yet F1 managed to organize 17 races last year, and are planning another 23 this year, which would be an absolute record! Why have this ambition in the midst of a pandemic?
“The pandemic, it’s true, is a challenge for everyone and we must remain flexible. But last year, F1 and the FIA managed to organize a world championship under conditions that were in fact impossible. So we’ve laid the groundwork for this year, which, with 23 races, will be the longest season ever. It won’t be easy, but all the organizers have let us know that they want to host the Grand Prix. “
In the medium term, how does Stefano Domenicali want to change F1? Make it less technological? To have closer performances between F1? Just apply the 2022 regulation and prepare for the arrival of the next generation of power unit?
“My vision of F1 is above all that it is a sport which must entertain the fans, offer the teams a sustainable platform and the drivers the opportunity to show their heroic talents. At the same time, we also want to offer manufacturers the possibility to develop their technology for the road as in a laboratory and to present it to the whole world. “
“We must not forget that our hybrid engines are the most efficient in the world. With only 100 kilos of gasoline, we cover 305 kilometers in a very short time. It’s unique and in the future we want to take this technology to the next level with sustainable fuel – to keep manufacturers present and attract new ones. “
“We have a basic contract with the teams and we have a budget cap. These two elements give us stability for the future. And don’t forget that there is a lot of interest in F1 in the financial market. Many investors are knocking on our door. It’s a good sign. Even and especially in times of crisis, people want to have fun through sport. “
Stefano Domenicali’s other project is to continue F1’s social commitment, for diversity and equality. In this context, he hopes to soon have a female F1 driver, which at least seems unrealistic in the short term.
“Diversity is an important part of our ‘We-race-as-one’ program. As a global platform, we have an obligation to spread the idea of diversity and inclusion and to fight racism. I really hope we have a female driver in F1 soon and I will make sure that there is no obstacle in that. In the end, it comes down to who is faster. And we don’t just need pilots, but also female engineers and mechanics. We want and must open up more. “
In this social commitment, a certain Lewis Hamilton plays a big role … too big according to the FOM?
“Lewis is important. First of all, he has an incredible challenge: to become the first and only driver to win eight world championship titles. Of course, he also actively campaigns against racism and for diversity. It is essential that he feels good in F1 because that is where he belongs and that is where we and the fans want to see him. “