Flavio Briatore makes a return to Alpine as executive advisor

Flavio Briatore makes a return to Alpine as executive advisor

Alpine F1 Team has confirmed Flavio Briatore as Executive Advisor marking another significant move ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Alpine has made the shocking news that Flavio Briatore – the man behind the Crashgate controversy and former Renault Team principal – is set for a return to the Enstone-based outfit as an executive advisor.

The unexpected and controversial move was taken 14 years after Briatore’s bizarre sacking and suspension from Formula 1 in the aftermath of the 2008 “Crashgate” incident which rocked the sport.

Rumours about the 75-year-old’s possible return had been circulating for weeks as De Meo courted Briatore for several weeks ahead of the most recent change to Alpine’s constantly changing leadership structure.

“BWT Alpine F1 Team can confirm that Flavio Briatore has been appointed by Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo as his Executive Advisor for the Formula One Division,” Alpine’s statement read.

Briatore now holds the role of “scouting top talents and providing insights on the driver market, challenging the existing project by assessing the current structure and advising on some strategic matters within the sport,” according to the statement.

While Briatore is a controversial personality in the F1 ranks, it’s likely that his hiring will bring about some discord within the Alpine team and the sport, which remains determined to grow its popularity to new heights under Liberty Media.

When Alpine competed as Benetton under Briatore’s leadership, the team faced allegations of cheating in bid to win the 1994 championship by using traction control – a device that was against technical regulations.

Although that infraction was never proven, Briatore is best remembered for his key role in the Crashgate controversy, despite the fact that he led team Enstone to world championship glory in both its Benetton and Renault guises.

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Briatore orchestrated a scheme to have his driver, Nelson Piquet Jr. intentionally crash during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix so that teammate Fernando Alonso would have the advantage of a timed safety car to lead him to victory.

Alpine is currently using a “revolving door” policy with its leadership team following a sharp decline in performance. Former Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi, Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer, and Sporting Director Alan Permane were all ousted with former Chief Technical Officer Pat Fry deciding to leave the team for a role at Williams.

Bruno Famin took over as Team Principal mid 2023 but Alpine continued to face further criticism when it became apparent that it was running an uncompetitive and overweight car at the start of the current season.

That resulted in the sacking of Head of Aerodynamics Dirk de Beer and Technical Director Matt Harman after the season started, and were replaced by a new three-personnel technical team.

Former McLaren and Ferrari driver David Sanchez currently leads the technical team, but further departures such as long-serving Operations Director Rob White and Bob Bell, who left his advisory position to join Aston Martin, have added to Alpine’s turbulent season in which the team has only managed to secure only five points after nine races.

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