FIA president Jean Todt says that Sergio Marchionne was much more positive regarding Ferrari's future in Formula 1 before his sudden death earlier this year. The Italian passed away in July due to complications following surgery.
After Liberty Media's initial presentation of the next set of engine regulations, former Ferrari CEO Marchionne did not agree with the proposals and threatened to pull the Maranello squad out of F1 if he did not see the series shaping up in the right way going forward.
However, Todt says that before his unexpected passing, Marchionne was much more positive about the future of the sport: "On June 28 we had a dinner in my office in Geneva," Todt revealed. "It was him, [Liberty CEO] Chase Carey and myself, to speak about the future of F1.
"And on the 29th, he sent me as SMS to say it was a great meeting, and 'we will move positively for the sport'. Normally this dinner was due to be on the Sunday night after the Austrian GP. But he sent me a message to say unfortunately he could not make it, could we change and do it before? So we did it on the 28th.
"I am sure about those dates. But I am not sure about when he went to hospital," Todt continued. "And then the tragedy occurred. It is a big loss. Not only about all that he did for the industry, but the passion he had and with his style which he had.
"For me he was somebody with a great personality. I used to work with him before I was appointed as president of the FIA. We did not always agree, but in the end I quite liked him and I had a lot of respect for him," he added.
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing