Ferrari engine man Sassi was no phenomenon - Marchionne

© DR

Sergio Marchionne says the departure of Ferrari's chief engine designer Lorenzo Sassi has not been much of a loss.

Sassi was ousted by Marchionne last summer, a decision which came as a relative surprise given the improved performance of the Scuderia's power unit in 2017.

The Italian engineer was initially expected to remain within the Fiat-Chrysler group but has ultimately decided to join arch-rival Mercedes.

The move has left Marchionne indifferent however.

"I don't know who said Sassi is a phenomenon, but I don't remember saying it," the Ferrari president told Spain's Marca.

"What is true is that our problems were not only due to him. Our intention was to keep him in GTs, but unfortunately he decided to leave and continue his career elsewhere.

"For the team it's a normal change and now we have Corrado Iotti and we're fine with him," Marchionne added.

Ferrari continues to play catch-up to Mercedes on the engine performance front. The German manufacturer is reportedly closing in on a 1000bhp output for its V6 1.6 litre hybrid engine.

According to Auto Motor und Sport, extrapolation from GPS measurements puts the Mercedes engine currently at 949bhp, while Ferrari is close behind with an estimated 934bhp, followed by 907 for Renault and Honda's 860hp.

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