Stefano Domenicali has been Ferrari team principal since 1997. (Photo: Getty Images)

has been working with since 1991, but says that he takes responsibility for the team’s disappointing start to the 2014 F1 season. (Photo: Getty Images)

Stefano Domenicali has resigned as team principal of Ferrari in the wake of the disappointing start to the team’s 2014 season.

He will be replaced by high-flying Ferrari road car executive , who will be in China next weekend.

Mattiacci worked at Jaguar/Ford before joining Ferrari in 1999. He quickly rose up the ranks to become President and CEO of Ferrari Asia Pacific in June 2006, before taking the same role at Ferrari North America in May 2010. He is clearly highly regarded within the Ferrari camp.

Domenicali’s decision came after discussions with Luca di Montezemolo, who recently extended his contract as Ferrari president for another three years.

The 48-year-old Domenicali joined the company in 1991 on the administration side. He became F1 team manager in 1997 and later had the title of sporting director, before he followed Jean Todt into the team principal role.

Domenicali’s future is not year clear, although he is highly respected in the motor sport world and would have little trouble finding a new role. He has been linked with Audi in the past.

Stefano Domenicali says he has left Ferrari with the aim of shaking things up and thus helping the Italian team to get back on track.

The news of his departure was officially confirmed by Ferrari after it had leaked out this morning.

“There are special moments that come along in everyone’s professional life, when one needs courage to take difficult and very agonizing decisions,” said Domenicali in a statement.

“It is time for a significant change. As the boss, I take responsibility, as I have always done, for our current situation. This decision has been taken with the aim of doing something to shake things up and for the good of this group of people that I feel very close to. With all my heart, I thank all the men and women in the team, the drivers and the partners for the wonderful relationship we have enjoyed over all these years.

“I hope that very soon, Ferrari will be back where it deserves to be. My final words of thanks go to our President, for having always supported me and to all our fans. I only regret that we have been unable to harvest what we worked so hard to sow in recent years.”

Meanwhile Luca di Montezemolo said: “I thank Stefano Domenicali, not only for his constant dedication and effort, but also for the great sense of responsibility he has shown, even today, in always putting the interests of Ferrari above all else. I hold Domenicali in esteem and I have watched him grow professionally over the twenty-three years we have worked together, I now wish him every success for the future.

“I also want to wish all the best to Marco Mattiacci, whom I know to be a highly regarded manager and who knows the company well. He has accepted this challenge with enthusiasm.”

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