After being spotted in Paris, Flavio Briatore re-uniting with Fernando Alonso at Alpine is being called “very difficult”, but not impossible.
Briatore is one of the most recognised, and controversial team bosses that Formula 1 has ever seen, possessing a keen eye for spotting emerging racing talent.
He lured the now seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher to Benetton following his stunning debut at the 1991 Belgian GP with Jordan, later recruiting another future multiple World Champion.
This time it was Alonso, who he sent to Minardi for his rookie season in 2001, before the Spaniard earned his shot with Briatore’s Renault team from 2003.
Alonso would then win back-to-back titles with the French manufacturer in 2005 and 2006.
Alonso is now back in Formula 1 with the team rebranded to Alpine, marking his return season with a podium at the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix, scoring 81 points across the campaign as Alpine secured P5 in the Constructors’ Championship.
It has been an off-season of change though for Alpine, with both non-executive director Alain Prost and executive director Marcin Budkowski exiting, while former Aston Martin team boss Otmar Szafnauer is expected to arrive, and bring Austrian water treatment firm BWT and their pink livery design with him.
Alpine was very invested in @Prost_official’s role as an advisor. They released a special series of podcasts last season towards Alain’s role & memories in #F1.
Alain in his comments: my departure from Alpine isn’t related to Flavio Briatore/Otmar Szafnauer’s arrival.#InsideF1 pic.twitter.com/hB5gd7pKpx
— Kunal Shah (@kunalashah) January 18, 2022
And according to reports, Briatore could also be on his way back to the Enstone outfit.
‘Cuatro’ journalist Javi Rayo reported that Briatore was seen recently in Paris, stating that it was not impossible that he was there to hold talks with Alpine.
Marca ran a report to expand on this, quoting a source close to Alpine as having told them that a Briatore return is “very difficult, but in F1 the very difficult can become a reality. I’ve seen it many times.”
This source added that if Briatore did come back, it would be to fill Prost’s position as an advisor.
“Alain Prost, who had a mainly symbolic and image position, has left and that position is vacant, as much as they have said that Alpine does not need an advisor,” the source explained.
“If he [Briatore] returns, he would do so in that role and never as a boss or related to management, but as a consultant.”
Marca state that since Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi is also Italian, this works in his favour, as does the fact that when Briatore was leading Renault’s F1 team, he always “made the most of Renault’s positions in the regulations and power distributions”, knowing exactly what was going on behind the scenes in F1 across the teams.
It was only a few months ago that Briatore’s return to Formula 1 seemed imminent, after he posted an Instagram video showing him at a meeting headed by Formula 1 president Stefano Domenicali, where documents were being signed.
In an accompanying caption, Briatore wrote: “A brand new chapter in Formula One is about to start: we will bring you all the excitement, the entertainment, the fun and energy that this fantastic sport deserves!”
This was back in October 2021, but no official news has followed since.
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