Stefano Domenicali has admitted he considered quitting after Ferrari dramatically lost the 2010 title with a bungled race strategy in Abu Dhabi.
The Italian said during an interview with La Repubblica newspaper that if F1 was football, he would probably now be looking for a new job.
“I know that people see me as the coach of Ferrari,” he said. “But a team principal is something different. This is a business and I have to manage all the different aspects, not just the sporting ones.
“I take care of everything, so I delegate a lot, but saying that, you have to be ready for anything especially if there have not been the results you want for two years.
“But thank god it’s not football!” said the 45-year-old.
“To rebuild in F1 is takes months and years and from that point of view I have always felt a great support from the president and the shareholders,” continued Domenicali.
Although he did not fear Ferrari’s wrath after the ill-fated Abu Dhabi finale, the Italian admits he didn’t sleep for two days and spent that time contemplating resigning.
“After Abu Dhabi I raised the issue personally. I wondered if it was the right thing or not to stay.
“I take it as a duty and I am not attached to my chair. But I came to the conclusion that stopping would be a mistake. I know the team and I think I’m the right person to capitalise on all that we have sown in recent months.
“From a methodological point of view, we have changed almost everything at Maranello and I am sure we will soon see the results of our hard work.”
And he denied that severing other heads for the strategy mistake would be an appropriate response.
“The mistake had a devastating effect,” said Domenicali. “But in a normal race it was a normal error. So you can’t jettison everything – even the good things – because of it.”
It is rumoured that one major change for 2011 is a more prominent role for former McLaren designer Pat Fry.
“We will officially announce something in the coming hours and make sure that those who are making decisions in the crucial moments have all the tools to do not repeat the mistakes,” said Domenicali.
He also denied that Felipe Massa’s poor season was due to the Brazilian’s serious head injuries sustained in 2009.
“We made all the checks; as a driver and a man Felipe is perfectly intact,” he insisted, arguing that as well as the technical explanations, Massa struggled psychologically at times in 2010.
“I am sure we will see a great Massa in 2011. He knows that he can’t afford another season like that,” added Domenicali.
And as for the car at Massa and teammate Fernando Alonso’s disposal, he explained: “The car of 2010 we had to start from scratch (after 2009).
“Now we have a good starting point and a regulation change, so we have to make maximum use of our imagination for extreme solutions,” said the Italian.
© RIF | GMM