Ferrari sporting director, Laurent Mekies admits “surprise” at the sudden retirement of company CEO, Louis Camilleri.
On the eve of the season finale it was revealed that Camilleri is to step down from his positions at the Italian manufacturer and Philip Morris International with immediate effect.
It was subsequently revealed that he had been hospitalised at one point with COVID and though in recovery had been particularly badly affected by the virus.
It was Camilleri who appointed Mattia Binotto as team boss, replacing Maurizio Arrivabene, and who has consistently defended the Italian over the last couple of seasons.
While speculation over Binotto’s future is now back in the spotlight – the Italian having returned to Italy on Thursday after complaining of feeling unwell, sporting director, Mekies admits Camilleri’s announcement came as a surprise.
“It was a surprise for all of us when we saw the note from our chairman last night,” he told reporters. “I think we have seen what our chairman communicated in terms of the reasoning, it is understandable that Louis apparently has been hit badly by COVID.
“Even though it was not life-threatening it has been very tough,” he continued, “and I’m sure it is not the only reason but certainly it is something that at the stage where he is in his own path and achievements it probably is something that makes you think about your priorities differently.
“It’s a shame,” he admitted, “because the level of support we got from Louis, from Piero Ferrari, has been incredible through these two years, and especially this year in these crisis times.
“You always say it is in crisis times that you find out how these things go, so the level of support we got was incredible, he was a strong driver in that,” he added.
“The good news for us is our chairman (John Elkann) is stepping in for the interim role so it could not be better to give us stability and the right continuity in terms of support.”
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