Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton doubts there is a better successor to Chase Carey as series CEO and president than Stefano Domenicali, who Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto has called the “ideal” choice.
Ex-Ferrari team principal Domenicali will take over the running of F1 from Carey next January.
He has been out of F1 directly since resigning from Ferrari in 2014 and ending a 23-year career with the Italian team, though has remained involved in motorsport through his FIA Single Seater Commission presidency alongside leadership roles at Audi and then Lamborghini.
Mercedes driver Hamilton said: “I know Stefano really well, and he’s one of the nicest guys that I know.
“I don’t think they could have really chosen someone better, to be honest, to replace some big shoes with Chase. He has done an amazing job and has always had such a great approach.
“I think Stefano, he’s got a great heart, good family and good morals. So, the future’s positive.”
Future Ferrari driver and current McLaren man Carlos Sainz Jr echoed Hamilton’s views.
“I know him and I think he’s a great guy and definitely the right person to lead this sport,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for him and I wish him the best in a tough job, but for sure a job that he enjoys.”
Domenicali will take charge after Carey guided F1 through a turbulent period with the coronavirus pandemic.
Carey has headed F1 since Liberty Media completed its takeover in early 2017 and he replaced long-time boss Bernie Ecclestone.
He has helped enforce a budget cap, which will come into effect next year, as well as new technical rules for 2022, and can count new commercial terms agreed by all 10 teams last month among his headline successes.
Ferrari team boss Binotto said “there have been many positive changes” under Carey’s leadership, “in particular the promoter’s relationship with the teams”.
“Very important decisions have been taken concerning the future of Formula 1, such as the new Concorde Agreement and the creation of an operational structure that will help the sport grow in terms of its audience and its appeal to the youngers generations,” said Binotto.
“And let’s not forget that Formula 1 has managed to put on a world championship this year under very difficult circumstances.
“We very much appreciate the fact that continuity is assured as Chase stays on as the non-executive chairman of Formula 1.”
Binotto will reunite with his former Ferrari colleague Domenicali, who he called a “good friend”.
Domenicali completes a trio of high-ranking ex-Ferrari personnel running F1, as he will be supported by F1 managing director of motorsport Ross Brawn (Ferrari’s former technical director) and work alongside FIA president Jean Todt (Domenicali’s former boss and predecessor as Ferrari team principal) until Todt’s presidency ends next year.
However, the prospect of Domenicali showing any bias has already been played down by team heads, including Red Bull boss Christian Horner.
Binotto said: “We are very pleased that Chase’s role will be entrusted to Stefano as from January 1.
“His talents as a manager and especially his knowledge of the sport, combined with his experience and personal qualities, make him the ideal choice to carry on Chase’s reforms.
“Personally, it will be a pleasure for me to work with a good friend, as we came through the ranks at Ferrari together.
“I look forward to working along with all the other stakeholders in this sport and with him to make Formula 1 even stronger and more spectacular.”