Mattiacci thought Ferrari job offer was a joke
18 April 2014 – Newly appointed Ferrari Team Principal Marco Mattiacci says he thought President Luca di Montezemolo was joking when he gave him the chance to succeed Stefano Domenicali.
Domenicali resigned from the team earlier this week and Ferrari announced Mattiacci, who was working as President of Ferrari North America, as his replacement with immediate effect.
Mattiacci made his first public appearance as Ferrari's Team Principal in China on Friday and says that he was in New York when he received a phone call from Montezemolo.
"I received a call at 5:58 on Friday morning and the chairman Montezemolo was on the phone and told me 'this is my idea'," he said.
"I thought that April fool was already 15 days earlier so in the second or third minutes of the discussion I understood he was serious, and I understood that because there was already a ticket ready to go from New York to Milan in three hours. I arrived on Saturday morning in Maranello at the Fiorano track."
Mattiacci does not have experience of running a Formula 1 team but insists that he is extremely motivated to turn around the fortunes of Ferrari.
"It is very motivating for me," he said. "I accept it because sometimes you can bring a new perspective when looking at issues and opportunities. The fact is I need to prove that I am at the level of Ferrari first and the level of Formula One, so you see in front of you an extremely motivated person.
"I love racing, I race myself in my spare time. I spend probably 20 or 22 weekends at the track last year and I attended the 24 hours of Daytona sleeping at the track and trying to learn as much as I could. It's not Formula One, but I love racing, I love continuous improvement, challenging a team to give a better car and get as much as we can from the track."