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Sergio Marchionne on Tuesday said the serene winter pre-season enjoyed so far by Mercedes makes him “worry”.

Earlier, the Ferrari president had targeted a winning start for the red team at the forthcoming Melbourne season opener.

But that was before Mercedes began dazzling its rivals with lap after lap in Barcelona testing. “Around the world in four days,” Marchionne smiled to Italian journalists at the Geneva Motor Show.

He said Ferrari is also having a good winter, as the “power unit and the car are matched well and the drivers are happy, even if there is still work to do.

“I hope we can put it on the front row at the first grand prix,” said Marchionne.

“I’m hesitating,” he added, “because I see that Mercedes is so calm, and that makes me worry.”

Marchionne also spoke about F1’s proposed new ‘musical chairs’ qualifying format, apparently warning that Ferrari might wield its famous veto once again.

“I think there is still a great need for discussion,” he said. “We must take good care not to turn the system on its head without first understanding.

“I’m not sure whether the proposals from Bernie Ecclestone are acceptable to Ferrari, and nor do I believe this new elimination process enjoys the support of all the other teams.”

Finally, he spoke yet again about speculation Alfa Romeo might launch an F1 foray.

“It would be a great thing,” said Marchionne, also the Fiat Chrysler president, “but first we have to establish the brand commercially.

“Ferrari might be willing to help with engines as we did for Toro Rosso,” he added.
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