Former Ferrari team principal Jean Todt has hailed Sergio Marchionne as a “visionary leader” following his death on Wednesday.
Marchionne, who was stood down as Ferrari chairman only on Saturday, died in a Zurich hospital, aged 66, following complications from shoulder surgery.
He helped to re-establish Ferrari as a Formula One championship contender after he took over from Luca Di Montezemolo in September 2014.
Marchionne was also an outspoken and influential voice away from the track, and threatened to pull Ferrari out of the sport.
“It is with great sadness that I learned that Sergio Marchionne tragically and unexpectedly passed away,” Todt said. “Sergio achieved a colossal amount for the automotive industry and motor sport 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.”
Frenchman Todt, who is now serving his third term as president for F1’s governing body, the FIA, added: “He was an endearing, upstanding and brave man, an unconventional and visionary leader. His death is a considerable loss.”
Ferrari are eight points behind Mercedes in this season’s constructors’ championship, while their lead driver Sebastian Vettel is second to Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ standings.
The famous Italian team are expected to pay tribute to Marchionne at this week’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
F1 chairman Chase Carey added: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Sergio Marchionne. He was a great leader of not just Formula One 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 One are immeasurable. He was also a true friend to all of us and he will be deeply missed.”
Marchionne formed a strong allegiance with Mercedes following concerns over Liberty Media’s vision for the sport beyond 2020.
“This is a sad day for all of us in F1,” Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff added. “We have a lost a huge supporter of our sport, a fierce competitor, an ally and a friend.”
Six days after he collided with Valtteri Bottas in France, Vettel will start the Austrian Grand Prix from only sixth after he was penalised for blocking another driver in qualifying.
Hamilton was beaten to pole position by Bottas in the sister Mercedes, but the Englishman, 33, will take huge comfort from Vettel’s latest setback.
Hamilton’s Mercedes boss Toto Wolff celebrated Vettel’s penalty with a fist-pump as news of the stewards’ verdict emerged during the Austrian’s media briefing.
Vettel qualified third at the Red Bull Ring, but was demoted three places after he was adjuged to have impeded Carlos Sainz as the Renault driver attempted a flying lap.
Vettel argued that his Ferrari team did not tell him about Sainz, and he was unaware of the approaching Spaniard. However, Vettel also admitted to briefly taking his eyes off the road.
BREAKING: Sebastian Vettel will serve a three-place grid penalty at Sunday’s #AustrianGP
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 30, 2018
Speaking before the penalty was issued, Vettel said: “I was looking down on the main straight, and I didn’t see him. I wasn’t told on the radio, so I can only apologise to him. Obviously, there was no intention.”
But the German was summoned to the officials, and following a 90-minute investigation, he was hit with the grid penalty.
“It is the belief of the stewards that notwithstanding the absence of a radio call, the driver of car 5 (Vettel) should not have been so slow and on the racing line during a slow-down lap,” F1’s governing body, the FIA, said in a statement.
The error marked Vettel’s sixth high-profile mistake in the last calendar year. He banged wheels with Hamilton in Azerbaijan, crashed out in Singapore, tangled with Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the start in Mexico, and fell from second to fourth when he ran off the road in Baku earlier this season. He also lost 15 points to Hamilton last Sunday after his crash with Bottas at the start.
“In order to win a championship you need to be as fast as possible, as reliable as possible and with the least errors,” Wolff said. “Sometimes it is difficult to put of all these things together.
“Sebastian’s biggest strength is certainly his ambition, but sometimes, as in France, it goes against him.
“Every team is aware that you need to get out of the way in order not to have a penalty, and all drivers are instructed by their engineers about what is happening behind them.”
— Formula 1 (@F1) June 30, 2018
Wolff added: “It is important to collect every single point. If you leave something on the table, it can bite you. The situation is more comfortable like this.”
With Wolff’s Mercedes cars locking out the front row, Vettel will now start behind team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, Red Bull’s Verstappen, and the Haas of Romain Grosjean.
Hamilton is 14 points ahead of Vettel and now looks set to establish an even greater championship lead ahead of his home race at Silverstone a week on Sunday.
Bottas denied Hamilton his 50th career pole for Mercedes after edging out the four-time champion by just 0.019 seconds.
Hamilton made a mistake on his penultimate run after he ran wide at turn two which left him with too much to do to.
“Valtteri did a fantastic job, and he deserved the pole,” Hamilton said. “I made a mistake and when you don’t have your first lap in Q3 as a banker, you’re building from scratch for the second one. There’s lots to play for tomorrow.”
The Italian team confirmed that the experienced Cigarini had broken his tibia and fibula in the accident when Raikkonen was pulling away after his second pit stop.
In a brief statement on Twitter, the team said: “Apparently a shinbone and fibula fracture, our thoughts are with Francesco, stay strong.”
Raikkonen was criticised by fans on social media for a lack of emotional reaction to the accident caused by problems with his left-rear wheel.
“I don’t know what shape he is in,” Raikkonen, dubbed the ‘Ice Man’ for his taciturn nature, told reporters immediately afterwards.
“It’s not great for him. I go when the light is green… Not much to say.
Apparently a shinbone and fibula fracture, our thoughts are with Francesco, stay strong #BahrainGP
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) April 8, 2018
“We did not finish the race so it is not great, but this is what happens sometimes.”
A green light in the Ferrari pits had indicated to Raikkonen that he should drive away even though the left rear wheel had not been changed.
The mechanic working on that wheel, Gigarini, was knocked down and run over.
One fan on Twitter said that Raikkonen had to be “one of the most emotionless men in the world”.
Cigarini was taken to the circuit medical centre on a stretcher after the incident.
Raikkonen’s Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel won the race for his second straight victory to start the season.