Stefano Domenicali has stepped down as Ferrari F1 team principal after an inauspicious start to the 2014 season.

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Italian steps down following Ferrari's disappointing start to 2014 F1 season

"It is time for a significant change. As the boss, I take responsibility," Domenicali says

Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo thanks 48-year-old for "constant dedication and effort"

Marco Mattiacci, currently President and CEO of Ferrari North America, to take over as team boss

CNN  — 

Stefano Domenicali has resigned as team principal of the Ferrari F1 team following a poor start to the 2014 Formula One season.

The 48-year-old, who has led the Italian team since 2008, said in a statement on the Ferrari website Monday that the time had come for “a significant change.”

Ferrari is the sport’s oldest and most successful team with 16 constructors’ championships but the Maranello-based manufacturer has struggled in recent seasons and is currently lying fifth after three races of the 2014 with just 33 points and no podium finishes.

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

Domenicali went on to thank the team, fans and Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo “for having always supported me.”

In a separate statement, Di Montezemolo also expressed his gratitude to Domenicali for his dedication stretching over nearly a quarter of a century.

“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,” Di Montezemolo’s statement said.

“I hold Domenicali in esteem and I have watched him grow professionally over the 23 years we have worked together, I now wish him every success for the future.”

Marco Mattiacci, who is currently President and CEO of Ferrari North America, will replace Domenicali, Di Montezemolo said.

After taking over from Jean Todt as team principal in 2008, Domenicali made a successful start to his reign winning the constructors title in his first season.

The seasons since have been less happy. A fourth place in 2009 was followed by two third place finishes before they ran Red Bull a close second in 2012 before falling back into third place last season.

Despite having former world champions Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso at the wheel, Ferrari have made little impact in the opening three races this year and continue to struggle with the new engine and chassis regulations.

Alonso managed to finish fourth in the opening two races of the season but a new nadir was reached at the Bahrain Grand Prix earlier this month.

While Mercedes’ duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were recording a second successive one-two finish, Alonso and Raikkonen were scrapping around for single-figure points, eventually finishing ninth and 10th respectfully.

Ferrari’s quest for a first podium of the season resumes at next Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix.