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Flavio Briatore joins Alpine as executive advisor

The former team principal returns by uniting with the French F1 team

Flavio Briatore doesn't have the best reputation in the F1 paddock. PHOTO FROM FORMULA 1

The Alpine F1 team is not in a good position, to say the least, as the constructor currently sits seventh in the standings. Mind you, it used to be a solid midfield team that sought to break into the top three ever since Renault’s second comeback in 2016. The situation is dire, so who do they turn to in this time of trouble? Flavio Briatore.

He has been appointed as executive advisor by Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo. With that role, Briatore will be “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.”

Michael Schumacher won the drivers' title with Benetton in 1994 and 1995. PHOTO FROM FORMULA 1

The name should ring a bell for longtime fans. But for the newcomers, here’s what you need to know about the Italian businessman. He first appeared on the scene as the managing director of Benetton’s F1 team. This was when Michael Schumacher won his first drivers’ titles in 1994 and 1995.

Fernando Alonso and Renault ended the dominance of Schumacher and Ferrari. PHOTO FROM FORMULA 1

Schumacher eventually moved to Ferrari and dominated the sport from 2000 to 2004. Meanwhile, Benetton was purchased by Renault as the French brand returned to F1, with Briatore retaining his role as team boss. He signed another promising driver known as Fernando Alonso. And in 2005, they toppled Ferrari and Schumacher, securing both the drivers’ and constructors’ titles. This was repeated in 2006.

Crashgate is one of the biggest controversies in F1 history. PHOTO FROM FORMULA 1

Flavio’s time with Renault didn’t end well. During the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, he, along with Pat Symonds, hatched a plan to get Fernando Alonso from P15 to P1. And this involved having his teammate Nelson Piquet Jr. deliberately crash. Informally known as Crashgate, the incident had deep consequences on the sport—including Briatore’s lifelong ban in motorsport by the FIA, which the French court eventually overturned.

Flavio Briatore’s return to F1 isn’t most welcome. But could it be the breath of fresh air that Alpine needs to get out of its slump? Or is it a sign of worse things to come for the French team?

Leandro Mangubat

Leandro is our staff writer. Although having a background in mechanical engineering, he enjoys photography and writing more.