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By Alan Baldwin
(Reuters) - Formula One should not fear any Ferrari favouritism if the Italian team's former boss Stefano Domenicali replaces Chase Carey at the helm, Red Bull principal Christian Horner said on Friday.
The appointment of 55-year-old Domenicali as F1's next chief executive, expected by next season, has yet to be confirmed officially by Formula One's owners Liberty Media.
Former Ferrari chief to replace Carey as F1 CEO: reports
Former Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali is set to become the new CEO of Formula One after leaving the Italian team earlier than expected, media reports said Wednesday. The 55-year-old Italian is to replace Chase Carey, who has been in charge since US group Liberty Media took over the sport in 2017, according to the BBC and Autosport. While Formula One officials would not confirm the appointment of Domenicali, senior sources in F1 told the BBC it was a done deal.The news -- which will also see American Carey remain as chairman in some form -- has been communicated to the team bosses.
"Obviously the news about Stefano seems to be a fairly open secret," Horner, now the longest-serving of the 10 team bosses and once linked to the F1 job himself, told reporters at the Russian Grand Prix.
"If he takes that role I think it's great for the sport. He's one of the good guys.
"Having competed against him when he was team principal of Ferrari he had a lot of integrity, he was a racer, a competitor, he understands the business."
Domenicali is chairman and chief executive of Italian sportscar maker Lamborghini and also heads the governing FIA's single-seater commission. He ran Ferrari from 2008-14.
His appointment would leave Formula One's three top jobs in the hands of ex-Ferrari bosses -- Jean Todt is FIA president and former technical director Ross Brawn is F1's managing director for motorsport.
Domenicali to replace Carey as F1 CEO from January
US-MOTOR-F1-DOMENICALI:Domenicali to replace Carey as F1 CEO from JanuaryCarey, who replaced Bernie Ecclestone in 2017 when U.S.-based Liberty took over the sport, will move to the role of non-executive chairman.
"You look at the make-up of the top end of the sport with Jean Todt, Ross Brawn and Stefano and it looks like a mid-1990s or early 2000 Formula One setup," said Horner.
"But I don't think there's any particular bias or love towards Ferrari from any of those individuals. I'm sure Stefano, if he takes the role, will be scrupulous in his impartiality."
Rival fans have long sensed a bias towards the oldest, most glamorous and successful team -- cynically referring to the FIA in times gone by as Ferrari International Assistance.
"I'd be delighted for Stefano if that is indeed the appointment that is going to be made," said Mercedes technical head James Allison, also an ex-Ferrari employee.
"I think we'll be in safe hands with Stefano at the helm."
Renault's Cyril Abiteboul said the Italian, whose current Volkswagen Group-owned employer is not in Formula One, knew what was needed to support manufacturers.
"He also knows probably why they are not in Formula One," added the Frenchman. "I guess he's got an interesting perspective to offer in relation to that."
McLaren principal Andreas Seidl called the Italian "a great choice."
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis)
Günther Steiner: Callum Ilott not on Haas' list .
Although Callum Ilott will take the wheel for Haas in training at the Nürburgring, according to Günter Steiner, the Briton is currently not an option for the team in the 2021 season. Next weekend will be Callum Ilott driving a Formula 1 car for the first time as part of an official racing weekend. The Briton will do a free practice session for Haas in order to collect important data for the team.