Ferrari sacks F1 principal Maurizio Arrivabene

You could say that the role of Ferrari team principal is the highest-pressure job in Formula 1. Anyone in the position must face constant analysis from the belligerent Italian tabloids and live up to the hopes of a highly vocal tifosi, not to mention the expectations of Maranello, which demands world titles. As team principal, the blame for anything less lands with you. Maurizio Arrivabene knows this only too well.

After four years in Ferrari's top F1 position without the results it demands, the 61-year-old Italian has been ousted and immediately replaced by Mattia Binotto, who gets promoted from the position of technical boss. If you think this sounds harsh, given that under Arrivabene's leadership Ferrari has gradually closed the gap to Mercedes, reports suggest Arrivabene would have actually lost the job sooner, were it not for the death of Sergio Marchionne in July 2018.

If rumourville is to be believed, Marchionne had never fully relinquished control to Arrivabene, continuing to provide guidance to the principal right up until the last days. Whoever controlled the ship, one thing's for certain - in the four Arrivabene years, Ferrari's 14 wins, 71 podiums and 12 pole positions were far, far below what is expected from the outfit.

Of course, the team has showed glimmers of its former unstoppable form in recent times, and it looked seriously capable of mounting a title charge in early 2018. But a series of strategic errors, coupled with mistakes by an increasingly frustrated Sebastian Vettel, hindered Ferrari's chances against the title juggernaut that is Mercedes. As ever, the pressure's now almost entirely on the new leader to make up lost ground in 2019.

Think of 2019 as a reset for Ferrari, then. Along with its new boss, 49-year-old Binotto, longstanding driver Kimi Raikkonen has been swapped for Sauber graduate Charles Leclerc. After years of stability, this season brings a real shake-up. Question is, will it be enough, or are the problems more deep rooted in Maranello?

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