PEOPLE: PIERPAOLO GARDELLA

Name: Pierpaolo Gardella
Nationality: Italy

Pierpaolo Gardella has been involved in the sport since he was 18 years old when he began working as assistant team manager with Pino Trivellato's Formula 3 team - which had enjoyed much success in the 1970s with drivers such as Carlo Giorgio, Riccardo Patrese, Elio de Angelis and Siegfried Stohr. After a brief period in a similar role with Guido Forti's Forti Corse F3 team, Gardella was hired by Stohr to establish and then run the Siegfried Stohr Racing School at the Misano circuit near Rimini in Italy.

Three years later Gardella was hired by Ferrari team manager Marco Piccinini to work as his assistant in Formula 1. In the five years which followed Gardella worked for the Maranello team, surviving the turbulent era after the death of Enzo Ferrari and the takeover of the team by Fiat management. After Piccinini departed Gardella stayed on, working under the Cesare Fiorio regime. In 1990, however, he was offered the chance to become sporting director of the Scuderia Italia team and he ran the Brescia team for the next three seasons.

Having done a lot of negotiating work with Bernie Ecclestone in his Ferrari days, Gardella found himself hired by the F1 boss in 1993 to look after Ecclestone's interests in motorcycle racing. This was fading away at the time and by midseason Gardella found himself back in F1, acting as Ecclestone's right-hand man and secretary at FOCA meetings.

At the end of the year he returned to his native Rome and took up a job as secretary-general of the Italian national sporting authority - working once again with Piccinini, who was by then president of the organization. That lasted less than a year before Piccinini quit the sport completely. Gardella came close to becoming the circuit manager of Imola and turned down the offer of a job at the FIA. He decided that he wanted to get back into a race team and so joined Williams Grand Prix Engineering in 1996. He stayed for a couple of years but has since been running the World Superbike Championship for Octagon, the sports management company belonging to the Interpublic Group.

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