Sergio Marchionne has told Liberty Media to back off and let Ferrari get on with the business of making F1 cars. Recently, the Ferrari president said he disagreed with Liberty's apparent post-2020 direction for F1 and threatened to quit after 2020.
But Marchionne said at the Geneva motor show that he believes a compromise will be found. "We want a clear protection of the DNA of this sport. We do not want it to be diluted by commercial and entertainment factors," he is quoted by Corriere dello Sport.
"We are engaged in the technical side, while I believe Liberty does not understand a thing about this. So let us work. If one competitor cannot be distinguished from the next - if Ferrari cannot stand out from Mercedes - then we'll do something else," Marchionne said.
When asked if the Bernie Ecclestone era was better, the Italian-Canadian said: "I saw Bernie this morning. I don't know. Liberty's commercial commitment is very serious, but Bernie had a unique strength -- he was not going to interfere in the technical choice," he said.
As for Ferrari's chances of winning the title in 2018, Marchionne said he is feeling "relaxed". "It's definitely the quietest season I've faced since arriving in 2014," he revealed. "The boys are in control more than before. We have all the conditions we need and I think the car can be a winner at 51 per cent of the races this season."
Marchionne ruled out moving Ferrari into Formula E, saying the category is "too funny to watch on TV with all those car changes". "For Alfa Romeo, we thought about it but we're not ready to talk about it. I do not think the technology is suitable."
As for the rumour about Maserati teaming up with Haas, Marchionne said: "We have thought about it and there is that possibility, but first I want to see how it goes with (Sauber and) Alfa." (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing