Renault prepared for ‘long-term’ F1 investment

Date published: February 27 2021 - Jamie Woodhouse

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Ex-Renault team boss Flavio Briatore says Luca de Meo, the new Renault CEO, will provide “long term” Formula 1 investment.

After taking over the CEO role in 2020, De Meo quickly secured the future of Renault in Formula 1, rebranding their Formula 1 team Alpine, believing their high-performance division would be a better fit for Formula 1.

And with the rebranding, the team also brought Fernando Alonso back into the fold, whom Briatore first introduced into Formula 1 back in the early 2000s.

The future certainly looks bright for the Alpine team and Briatore said De Meo is prepared to put “long term” funding behind the outfit.

“We had a guarantee from Renault. Luca de Meo is the chairman of Renault and is very motivated to invest money into Formula 1 for a long time,” he said in an interview with Peter Windsor.

“With me, Renault was very good because whatever money I needed I had it. Sure, the money goes into the performance of the car.

“You know how many times I had the worst motorhome in Formula 1 because if you have a good motorhome it doesn’t make you go quick in the car. I prefer spending all the money on the performance.

“I’m happy for him [Alonso] because Renault is a family, with talking with Renault everyone was very happy, everyone was very motivated.

“Now this year, Fernando is ready to go. You see the test in Bahrain after the season, he was very quick immediately. And Fernando was driving all the time, was racing all the time. Unfortunately what happened was his accident but already he was walking again, he’s fine. I believe he is ready for the first test already.”

Fernando Alonso Michael Schumacher

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Just like he took Alonso to Renault, Briatore had already pulled off that trick almost a decade earlier with Michael Schumacher at Benetton. Both went on to World Championship glory and Briatore said the computer-like consistency of both drivers set them apart as elite racing drivers.

“When you have a talent, the same as Schumi, the talent is something very special because all the drivers in Formula 1 are quick, but the line to be a superstar driver is very thin,” said Briatore.

“And Fernando and Schumi, whatever you put in the computer when doing the simulation for the race, Fernando was doing the same time. The preparation of the race with Fernando and with Schumi is like the computer telling you what’s going on.

“The consistency in the lap time was very impressive by Schumi and by Fernando. I was lucky to work with the two best talents at the time and the motivation was the same.

“Schumi made everybody go to the gym. If you remember the gym, was Prost in the pictures doing some exercises. Michael was four hours in the gym and when he finished the race he was not sweating, and Fernando as well.

“And Michael made everyone go back in the gym from Senna to Alain Prost to Nigel Mansell to everybody because physically Michael demonstrated to everybody physical preparation was very important, because if you are fit your mind is much better and not your tyres when driving the car.”

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