Naturally aspirated Ferrari V12s are here to stay, says Sergio Marchionne

Published: 12 March 2017

► Ferrari V12s won’t be turbocharged
► ‘Zero’ chance of a manual gearbox
► ‘We will not produce a car the market doesn’t want’

Few automotive CEOs are more outspoken and less fazed by press conferences than FCA and Ferrari chief Sergio Marchionne.

Holding cantankerous court at Ferrari’s 2017 Geneva motor show media forum in his trademark jumper and laconic drawl, here’s his take on turbocharging, future production numbers, the F1 team’s championship hopes, and Ferrari’s friends in Sant’Agata.

Naturally aspirated V12 engines are here to stay – but may be combined with hybrid powertrains

‘The answer is no [to turbocharging] – the V12 has to stay, without turbos.

‘It’s a challenge to combine the electric motor and the engine for the highest power. [The next step] is only two years away, just wait.’

How many cars will Ferrari build in 2017?

‘Probably less than 8500 units. More than in 2016.

‘The waiting list for some of our cars is long. [Today at the show I’ve met] a couple of guys that missed the cut; this is the worst thing you can do to a customer.’

Ferrari California - 'the hardest car to bring to market'

How many more cars will Ferrari build next year?

‘The real question is what [areas] we can expand into. I think there is an unexplored place in the market.

‘The California was the hardest car to bring to market. There was space for the California, but the way we came up with it was important.

‘We are looking at possibilities, but we will not produce a car that the market does not want.’

On the Ferrari F1 team’s 2017 chances

‘We had two objectives in [the pre-season test at] Barcelona – to be reliable and not to be uncompetitive in comparison with Red Bull. Right now Mercedes is still ahead. McLaren – I wish them a speedy recovery.

‘It’s going to be an interesting season. The cars are so much faster than last year, the drivers are having to work their asses off to earn their paycheque, which I think is good to see. They’re getting out of the car really sweaty.’

Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari at the 2017 Barcelona pre-season test

On manual gearboxes

[A journalist tells Marchionne he wants to buy his first Ferrari in five years’ time, and would like it to have a manual gearbox]:

‘You can buy a car from my classic side.’

[‘What are the chances of a new one?’ the journalist asks]:


On Lamborghini

‘I have a lot of respect for [former Ferrari F1 team principle and now Lambo CEO] Stefano Domenicali. But a lot of people buy Lamborghinis because they can’t get their hands on a Ferrari.’

Ferrari’s new 812 Superfast (below) at the 2017 Geneva motor show

Ferrari 812 Superfast at Geneva 2017

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer