Somewhere in Italy, Filippo Preziosi might be smiling.
Wolfgang Durheimer, the chief of research and design of Audi, was fired by the company this week, European media sources reported. He held that job only since September 2012.
Durheimer isn't widely known in motorcycle circles, but as head of Audi R&D, he also oversaw the same branch at Audi's new acquisition, Ducati. Durheimer reportedly was responsible for the removal of Ducati Corse godfather Preziosi from his post as technical director of the team after last season, as Ducati has been winless in MotoGP since 2010.
Reportedly Durheimer was removed for political reasons and not related to anything regarding Ducati.
Despite leading technical matters for Audi, Durheimer came from a motorcycle background. From 1986-98, he was involved in the motorcycle industry for BMW, including serving as research and development. He then moved to senior roles in the automotive industry for Porsche, Bentley and Bugatti before moving to Audi.
German media reported Durheimer's role will be filled by Volkswagen R&D chief Ulrich Hackenberg. The effect on the technical direction or development of Ducati's MotoGP team remains to be seen.
Officially, Filippo Preziosi, a paraplegic since a desert crash in the early 2000s, left Ducati citing health issues.
Since leaving Ducati, Preziosi has been fighting a number of major and minor health issues, and spending time with his family.