F1 world rocked by icon’s tragic death
FORMER Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has died aged 66.
Complications arising from surgery on his shoulder had led to the Italian-Canadian being stood down with "profound sorrow" as the head of the Ferrari and Fiat-Chrysler car companies last Saturday.
On Wednesday, the holding company of the Fiat founding family said that Marchionne had passed away.
"Unfortunately, what we feared has come to pass. Sergio Marchionne, man and friend, is gone," said chairman John Elkann in a statement.
"I believe that the best way to honour his memory is to build on the legacy he left us, continuing to develop the human values of responsibility and openness of which he was the most ardent champion.
"My family and I will be forever grateful for what he has done. Our thoughts are with Manuela, and his sons Alessio and Tyler."
Marchionne was regarded as one of the most powerful and successful chief executives in the automotive world.
And, after adding the title of Ferrari president to his responsibilities in 2014, he became one of F1's most influential figures too.
Marchionne joined Fiat in 2004 and five years later oversaw the Italian car maker's takeover of Chrysler, which saved the American firm from bankruptcy.
He succeeded the long-serving Luca di Montezemolo as Ferrari president in 2014 and in recent seasons F1's most famous team have returned to title-contending form in a fierce battle with Mercedes.
Speaking in a statement last Saturday, Elkann described Marchionne as someone who "always made a difference".
"What struck me about Sergio from the very beginning, when we met to talk about the possibility of him coming to work for the Group, even more than his management skills and unusual intelligence, were his human qualities, his generosity and the way he understood people," said Elkann.
"Over the past 14 years together we have lived through successes and difficulties, internal and external crises, but also unique and unrepeatable moments, both personal and professional. For so many, Sergio has been an enlightened leader and a matchless point of reference."
Elkann has assumed the role of Ferrari chairman with Louis Camilleri named CEO.
Tributes poured in for Marchionne. F2 chairman Chase Carey said: "We are deeply saddened by the passing of Sergio Marchionne. He was a great leader of not just Formula 1 and the automobile world, but the business world overall.
"He led with great passion, energy and insight, and inspired all around him. His contributions to Formula 1 are immeasurable. He was also a true friend to all of us and he will be deeply missed. At this difficult time we extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and colleagues."
FIA president Jean Todt said: "It is with great sadness that I learned that Sergio Marchionne tragically and unexpectedly passed away. Sergio achieved a colossal amount for the automotive industry and motorsport worldwide. He dedicated himself fully to turn around the Fiat-Chrysler group and put all his energy to bring Scuderia Ferrari back to the top.
"He was an endearing, upstanding and brave man, an unconventional and visionary leader. He was an eminent member of the FIA F1 Strategy Group and of the FIA High-Level Panel for Road Safety. His death is a considerable loss. On behalf of the entire FIA community, all my thoughts go out to his family, his friends and his Ferrari and Fiat-Chrysler group teams".