‘Sensational comeback’ at Alpine? Renault boss orders return of Flavio Briatore – report

Sam Cooper
Flavio Briatore

Flavio Briatore left F1 in disgrace in 2009.

Flavio Briatore could make a surprise comeback to the Renault F1 team after CEO Luca de Meo reportedly requested the 71-year-old return to the side he once managed.

Briatore was the enigmatic face of the Renault team in the early 2000s but left in disgrace following the ‘Crashgate’ incident in 2008 but according to reports in Italy, he has kept close ties with those in the paddock.

Renault opt for Flavio Briatore return?

The Italian may have left F1 in 2009 but has often been spotted in the paddock having had his ban overturned. He even serves as Fernando Alonso’s manager, but he has reportedly now taken an even more hands on role with a return to Enstone.

According to Corriere della Sera, Renault CEO has called Briatore to ask if he would return to the team and that offer has reportedly been accepted. The role given to the Italian is that of a special supervisor and does not include constant involvement in track activities.

A spokesperson for the Alpine team told PlanetF1.com:”As a team, we are in frequent contact with a number of industry experts in pursuit of improving overall performance.

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

It comes at a time the team endures its worst start to the season in recent memory and more controversy in Monaco with Esteban Ocon facing the possibility of a race on the sidelines after crashing into team-mate Pierre Gasly.

The team has also lost a number of senior technical figures including Alan Permane, who was fired last year, before moving to RB as well as technical director Matt Harman and head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer, who both left earlier this year. One name coming in through the door though is David Sanchez who landed on his feet after a failed move to McLaren.

Amongst Briatore’s reported duties are trying to entice new staff to join and he has reportedly spoken to Adrian Newey over the possibility of the departing Red Bull designer making the move to Enstone.

Esteban Ocon benching under ‘serious consideration’

Another problem facing the team is that of Esteban Ocon who crashed into his team-mate in Monaco, much to the fury of team boss Bruno Famin.

Speaking to Canal+, Famin hinted at a dropping of Ocon for the next race in Canada and Sky Sports’ Craig Slater has suggested it is not a hollow threat.

“Bruno Famin, he was actually on the pit wall with Canal+ who called him up immediately in the aftermath of that first-lap crash and Famin spoke angrily and he talked about taking a tough decision, which everyone has interpreted as benching Esteban Ocon for the next race in Canada,” Slater began.

“What I can say to you is that that is still a serious consideration for the Alpine boss, Bruno Famin. He will do what is best for the team. But if he decides that leaving Esteban Ocon out for a week as a demonstration of how team discipline needs to be, he is prepared to do that, but that decision has yet to be taken.

“There were face-to-face meetings between Ocon and Famin in the aftermath of the Grand Prix yesterday. Ocon apologised, both privately face to face and publicly afterwards via social media. So let’s see what happens.”

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