Stefano Domenicali has resigned as the team principal of Ferrari with immediate effect.
The Italian team have struggled this season, failing to register a podium finish in the opening three races.
Domenicali, 48, who will be replaced by Marco Mattiacci, had been in charge since replacing Jean Todt in 2008.
“There are particular moments in all of our professional lives where you need the courage to take difficult and very painful decisions,” said Domenicali.
“It’s time to make an important change. As boss, I take the responsibility – as I always have – for the situation we are going through.”
Ferrari have not won the world title since Kimi Raikkonen’s success in 2007.
Domenicali, who had been with the Italian team for 23 years in various roles, added: “This decision has been taken with the aim of doing something to shake things up.”
The team acknowledged their shortcomings, and aimed to rectify them through their re-employment of Kimi Raikkonen, as Fernando Alonso’s team mate. Any lack of results was clearly therefore no fault of the drivers, is admitted by Ferrari.
Fernando Alonso has claimed two fourth places and a ninth in his three races for Ferrari so far this season, while team-mate Raikkonen has come seventh, 12th and 10th.
Alonso revealed his concerns at Ferrari’s lack of competitiveness following the last race in Bahrain.
The team’s predicament was not helped when testing at the same track had to be abandoned early because of problems with the car.
“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,” said Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo.
Mattiacci, who is the current president of Ferrari North America, will take over for the next F1 race, which is the Chinese Grand Prix on 20 April.
The news came today, following speculation that chairman Luca di Montezemolo was considering renowned Ross Brawn and Flavio Briatore as immediate successors to Domenicali.
The Italian joined Ferrari immediately after graduating from Bologna University in 1991. He was promoted to team principal in 2008, with the team winning a sole constructors victory and no drivers titles ever since.