Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff has paid a glowing tribute to the late former Ferrari head Sergio Marchionne, adding his “shoes will be impossible to fill”.

Marchionne, who took over as Ferrari CEO and chairman after Luca di Montezemolo’s resignation in 2014, died earlier last week following a recent illness.

The 66-year-old Italian was renowned as a key player in the automotive industry, and was the figurehead in the turnaround of the FIAT-Chrysler group, before helping to spearhead Ferrari’s revival in recent years.

“Sergio [Marchionne] was a bigger personality than life, somebody that in the meetings and in the strategy group and in the negotiations with Formula 1 and FIA had the most powerful voice and these shoes are impossible to fill,” Wolff said.

Hungarian GP - Best Moments

Ferrari named Louis C. Camilleri as its new CEO, with John Elknann being promoted into the role of chairman as part of a succession plan formed as a direct result of Marchionne’s declining health.

While Wolff has no doubts both Camilleri and Elknaan will get up to speed quickly in their respective positions, he reiterated how crucial Marchionne’s influence was on the Scuderia.

“With Ferrari, they have a management structure that remains unchanged. Maurizio [Arrivabene] was very much in charge for running the team and remains our sparring partner in the sport,” he added.
“Maurizio and Mattia [Binotto] and the group somehow are guaranteed that the Formula 1 team and the operations of the Formula 1 team is going to continue going forward like it has in the past. For negotiations with F1, Maurizio is also very much up to speed.

“He was part of most of the discussions, he represents Ferrari in the strategy group so I think it will give the new man coming in a lot of know-how and a lot of information and insofar I think he’s going to be able to catch up pretty quickly but obviously there was only one Sergio Marchionne.”