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2016-04-21 15:17

FUTURE OF F1: Fiat-Chrylser CEO Sergio Marchionne (pictured) says Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone won't be in charge 'forever'. AFP / Luca Bruno

London - Formula 1 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.

Marchione said: "There is much work to do", when asked about the general state of the sport amid a tumultuous political climate at present.

The 63-year-old is quoted by Italy's La Repubblica saying: "Ecclestone is very good at negotiations but sooner or later we all have to retire."

Marchionne added: "And when that is, we will have to re-think everything and build a more solid F1. With a real structure."

Audi and Alfa to join F1?

He said the sport would get a big boost if more manufacturers decide to compete, like Audi.

The Italian-Canadian said: "It would be perfect, 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."

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."

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