'Frustration of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen was approaching danger levels'
Ross Brawn expected to be Stefano Domenicali's long-term successor
By Pete Gill. Last Updated: 14/04/14 4:27pm
The mounting frustration of Fernando Alonso is believed to have been critical in the departure of Stefano Domenicali from Ferrari.
Domenicali's exit from the Scuderia was announced on Monday, but the writing has been on the wall since last Sunday when the team's tepid performance in the Bahrain GP prompted President Luca di Montezemolo to leave the arena long before the chequered flag had fallen.
Despite the appointment of Kimi Raikkonen alongside Alonso in Ferrari's all-champion driver line-up, the team are yet to score a podium finish this season and trail runaway leaders Mercedes by 78 points in the Constructors' Championship after just three rounds of the nascent 2014 campaign.
Raikkonen remains the last driver to win the Drivers' World Championship in Ferrari colours, with the Finn's 2007 success occurring one year before Domenicali replaced Jean Todt as Team Principal. While Alonso and Raikkonen have reined in their frustration in public, it's believed that their angst at the woeful displays of the F14 T was pivotal in Domenicali's exit after 23 years' service.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, the patience of 'Alonso and Raikkonen' was 'approaching dangerous levels' with the team locked into a 'crisis'.
Alonso, repeatedly linked with a return to McLaren in recent months, has twice come agonisingly close to winning the Drivers' World Championship since joining the team five years ago but, with Ferrari so far adrift of the frontrunners, the Spaniard's ambition of landing a third title already seems unlikely to be realised in 2014. If his patience with Ferrari's status quo did snap, the only surprise would be that it lasted so long.
"Alonso's influence in this has been absolutely key, he is more fed up than anyone that Ferrari are, once again, unable to deliver him a race-winning car," Sky F1's Ted Kravitz noted.
"Alonso would have been in the background saying to di Montezemolo 'Come on guys, we really need to get this sorted'. Alonso was instrumental in getting in [Chassis Technical Director] James Allison and he would have been saying 'Come on, we need a big change now' - the same 'big change' that Stefano Domenicali talked about in his resignation remarks."
Domenicali has been replaced with immediate effect as Team Principal by Marco Mattiacci. As the current President and CEO of Ferrari North America, Mattiacci is a relative unknown in F1 circles, leading many to suspect that the Italian may only prove to be a brief stand-in before Ross Brawn, out of work since leaving Mercedes six months ago, returns to Maranello.