In the 11th episode of Formula 1’s ‘Beyond The Grid’ podcast, Stefano Domenicali speaks on his time with Ferrari, weighing Michael Schumacher & Fernando Alonso, Lamborghini and more.
The 53-year-old starts the podcast talking about his journey into motor racing where he started working for Ferrari in the accounts department alongside being a race director at Mugello for MotoGP, DTM and other series.
He then talks about working in various departments within Ferrari for years before getting drafted in the F1 team where he worked under Luca de Montezemolo and Jean Todt. He eventually replaced Todt and then became the team principal.
Crediting both Montezemolo and Todt for helping him to reach where he had, Domenicali said it was his decision to leave Ferrari after 2014 as he thought he won’t be able to lead the hybrid project and the time for him was right to leave Ferrari after 23 years.
On the topic of Michael Schumacher, the Italian revealed another side of the German where he worked with the team, even taking some blame for the mistakes made by them. On the controversies, he felt it was a normal driver situation.
When asked to compare with Fernando Alonso with whom Domenicali worked as the team principal, the Italian said it was impossible since both are two different drivers. He though admitted that by pure numbers, Schumacher is well ahead.
Talking about the Spaniard, he felt his heritage may have played some role in the stories of rift but overall Domenicali enjoyed working with Alonso and felt he never divided the team per say as being said.
He also recalls the famous 2008 Brazilian GP where Felipe Massa almost took the title but for Lewis Hamilton sneaking through. Domenicali admitted that he was looking at the GPS data and knew Hamilton will pass Timo Glock to win the title.
He was proud nevertheless for the fight out up by Massa and also for Ferrari to win the constructors’ championship. He then remembers the 2010 season where Alonso almost took the title but for Sebastian Vettel prevailing to win it.
The Italian said the proudest moment apart from the titles was to keep the team intact amid several changes and difficulties. He then speaks about the brief work with Audi which didn’t materialise.
He eventually landed in Lamborghini where he currently works alongwith being the FIA’s single-seater commission head. Domenicali talks about working for a rival Italian manufacturer to Ferrari and its progress while touching on the F1 subject too.
[Listen: Romain Grosjean]