Alpine reportedly in talks with Flavio Briatore to take advisory role

Alpine reportedly in talks with Flavio Briatore to take advisory role

According to reports in the French and Italian media Flavio Briatore has been claimed to be in talks to take over as the new boss of the struggling Alpine F1 team.

The 2024 Formula 1 season may take an unexpected turn as controversial figure Flavio Briatore makes a possible comeback. Corriere della Sera in Italy reports that Renault CEO Luca di Meo is considering hiring Briatore for an advisory role with Alpine in a bid to improve the struggling F1 team.

While Briatore is a close friend to F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and frequently visits the paddock, his last official participation in the sport dates back to 2009.

The flamboyant but controversial Italian was banned from F1 in the wake of the 2008 crash-gate controversy, where Renault driver Nelson Piquet Jr. deliberately crashed in Singapore to support team-mate Fernando Alonso’s bid for victory.

However, his lifetime ban from all FIA-sanctioned motorsport was later overturned, and he is now a regular in the paddock.

Briatore has a proven track record of achievement, despite the controversies. He steered Benetton—the forerunner to Alpine—to several world championships in the 1990s alongside Michael Schumacher. He later replicated that achievement in the mid 2000s with Renault, helping Fernando Alonso win the championship two times in a row in 2005 and 2006.

According to the report, Briatore won’t be making a return to a traditional team principal role but will serve as Alpine’s special supervisor, lending his expertise and leadership behind the-scenes.

The 74-year-old boss is reportedly being considered for an oversight role in spearheading a massive recruitment drive at Enstone, with prominent Red Bull technical chief Adrian Newey being one of the potential targets, albeit this sounds like a wildly unrealistic ambition.

“As a team, we are in frequent contact with a number of industry experts in pursuit of improving overall performance,” a team spokesperson told RacingNews365 after a request for comment on the claims.

“We consider all relevant inputs and, when appropriate, seek advice from people with experience and previous success. We cannot comment on any individual matters.”

The Enstone-based outfit has struggled since virtually the moment it rebranded as Alpine at the beginning of 2021. Alonso and a promising young driver Oscar Piastri were lost, while key technical staff and management staff were frequently reshuffled.

The French team only recently scored its first 2024 points and is currently tenth in the standings with only two points, making the original five-year plan seem far-fetched.

As if things couldn’t get any worse, Esteban Ocon and his teammate collided on Sunday. As a result, Ocon is headed to Canada with a five-place grid penalty and faces the possibility of being axed by the French squad, which is already slated to part ways with Pierre Gasly at the end of the season.

Besides fielding an unreliable car, the French team also suffers a powerless Renault engine, which has forced customer teams to avoid them.

Corriere reports that Renault believes Enstone needs nothing less than a total makeover, although some believe the team is already at a point where it needs “refreshing,” as Mohammed ben Sulayem might put it.

While the return of Briatore would inject much-needed colour into the paddock, one cannot help but believe that Alpine is already beyond repair, and even if it was possible, Renault would have to fork out a sizable sum of money.

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