APRIL 21, 2016
F1 must look beyond Ecclestone era says Marchionne
F1 needs to be looking ahead to the post-Bernie Ecclestone era.
That is the view of Sergio Marchionne, the Ferrari and Fiat president, amid rumours the powerful manufacturers including Mercedes may be pushing for the retirement of the F1 supremo in the coming months.
"There is much work to do," said Marchionne when asked about the general state of the sport amid a tumultuous political climate at present.
"Ecclestone is very good at negotiations but sooner or later we all have to retire," the 63-year-old is quoted by Italy's La Repubblica.
"And when that is, we will have to re-think everything and build a more solid F1. With a real structure," Marchionne added.
He said the sport would get a big boost if more manufacturers decide to compete, like Audi.
"It would be perfect," said the Italian-Canadian. "Ferrari built its myth by beating the best -- beating Manor does not build a myth."
Marchionne has said repeatedly in recent times that Alfa Romeo could be the next big name on the grid, but when asked if he was joking he insisted: "No, it's a real project.
"First we have to make some money with Alfa and then we will try to enter. Remember, we have more success with that brand than a lot of people who are already here," he said.
Asked if Alfa Romeo would be a mere branding or sponsorship exercise, Marchionne said: "No, no, I think of a commitment as a team. We have the history and the ability.
"And we have our cousins here (Ferrari) that can lend a hand. Instead of helping others, or while they help others, they can help Alfa as well," he added.