The Ferrari president was notably critical of 37-year-old Kimi Raikkonen after a lacklustre performance in China, triggering rumours the team might be eyeing Daniel Ricciardo for 2018.
But Ricciardo’s Red Bull teammate Verstappen, 19, might be another Ferrari target.
When asked about the exciting Dutch driver, Marchionne said: “He is young and he has his whole life ahead of him. Ferrari has existed for 70 years.
“Now he is busy with something else, he is developing — that is the best way to describe it,” the Italian-Canadian is quoted by Italy’s Corriere dello Sport.
More generally, Marchionne says he is happy with Ferrari’s performance so far in 2017, vindicating the group of Italian engineers who are responsible for the car following the departure of James Allison.
“We have a group of young guys, not an English superstar, and I’m proud of them. This machine belongs to them,” he said.