Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene was seen crying after Kimi Raikkonen’s victory in Austin, but not because the Finnish driver had claimed his first win of the season, but because of the sudden and unexpected passing of the team’s head of performance Daniele Casanova.
Raikkonen’s victory in Texas served as a fitting tribute for the life and work of Casanova, one of the team’s most respected and revered engineers.
Casanova went into cardiac arrest and was declared dead after both his wife and paramedics attempted to resuscitate him.
The Italian technician was just 48-years-old and leaves behind his wife and two sons.
He brought a lot of experience to the team in Maranello after stints at Renault F1, Toyota, Red Bull Racing and Lotus, and was considered a potential successor to Arrivabene as team principal.
Arrivabene was spotted wearing sunglasses after the race in Austin, and the 61-year-old confirmed with Sky Italia that he was elated by the victory, but was still grieving the death of his good friend and colleague.
“You see, I’m wearing glasses, and I never do that.
"At this moment in time we are thinking of our Daniele Casanova, who we lost recently. He’s up there now, but I know he’s with us too,” said Arrivabene.
The Ferrari chief also revealed that it was his decision to replace Raikkonen at the end of the season in favour of rookie Charles Leclerc, as the Maranello-based outfit look to maximise the huge potential shown by the 21-year-old Frenchman this season.
Arrivabene has confirmed just how difficult it was to deliver the news to the Finnish former champion, but has claimed in an interview with Autosport that he has the full backing of Ferrari’s new upper management, including Louis Camilleri and John Elkann.
“For me, Kimi is also a friend, so you can imagine how heartbreaking it was to tell him. Drivers are just as human as I am, but in situations like that they are treated as professionals,” said Arrivabene.
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