Wednesday 8 March at 09:35 :
Mar.8 (GMM) Sergio Marchionne says Ferrari "has to" return to the famous team's Schumacher-like glory years.
Until now, the Italian team has kept an awkward silence ahead of the 2017 season, but the new red car is performing well and Lewis Hamilton thinks Ferrari is even the "favourite".
"It's nine years that we haven't won (the title) -- this would be the tenth," president Marchionne is quoted by Italy's La Repubblica.
"It will end. There is still room to correct the problems. Ferrari has to go back to being unbeatable, as when (Michael) Schumacher was here," he insisted.
Marchionne's newly declared optimism coincides with the results of winter testing, with most experts thinking Ferrari could be at least on par with Mercedes this year.
The 64-year-old said at the Geneva motor show: "The new car is reliable, credible. It is a huge step forward.
"I've been following the results of the Barcelona test and things are going well. The drivers (Sebastian) Vettel and (Kimi) Raikkonen are happy," said Marchionne.
"Objectives? Winning for sure, but when it happens I cannot say. But I'm happy with how the car goes -- it's a better car than last year, and not just because they have changed the rules but with how it was designed and put on the track," he insisted.
Marchionne was also asked about F1's new Liberty Media era, after the end of the long Bernie Ecclestone reign.
"We must be very grateful to Bernie Ecclestone for what he did for the sport. But we should not talk about him in the past -- he is still alive," He said.
"As for the new people who have come into the sport, as I understand it the fans are being considered much more. (Ross) Brawn? He is a great manager with a lot of experience."