Sergio Marchionne passed away at the age of 66, after helping Ferrari re-establish themselves as a Formula One championship contender.
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.”