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Formula 1 Spanish GP

Briatore returns to F1 with Alpine advisory role

Former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore returns to role in Formula 1 team he left over Singapore 2008 crash controversy

Flavio Briatore

Flavio Briatore

Photo by: Michael Potts / Motorsport Images

Alpine has announced the return of former Renault Formula 1 team boss Flavio Briatore in an advisory role, 14 years after he resigned for his part in “Crashgate.”

Following weeks of speculation that Alpine was sounding out Briatore about a role in the squad as it evaluates its F1 future, the French manufacturer confirmed on Friday morning that the Italian had taken on a formal position.

A short statement from the team said: “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 1 Division.

“Briatore will predominantly focus on top-level areas of the team including 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.”

While Briatore helped steer the Benetton and Renault teams to its most successful years in F1, as it won world titles with Michael Schumacher in 1994/1995 and Fernando Alonso in 2005/2006, his tenure at the squad ended in one of F1’s biggest controversies.

He resigned and was initially given a lifetime ban by the FIA, for the role he played in what became known as the “Crashgate” scandal from the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

Briatore had been implicated in a plot that involved driver Nelson Piquet Jr. crashing deliberately early in the Marina Bay race to trigger a safety car that helped his team-mate Alonso win.

The conspiracy only came to light the following season after Piquet Jr. revealed all the details following his dismissal from the squad.

While the FIA sanction taken against Briatore initially imposed a lifetime ban, Briatore managed to overturn this in the French Tribunal de Grande Instance in 2010.

The courts concluded that there had been irregularities in the sanctions that were handed down by the FIA against both Briatore and the team’s then-director of engineering Pat Symonds, who left the team and was initially given a five-year ban.

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524

Esteban Ocon, Alpine A524

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Despite the controversial end to his tenure as a team principal, Briatore continued to have involvement in F1. He remains part of Alonso’s management team and also played a part in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Briatore’s appointment to Alpine comes amid an interesting point in the team’s history, as it ponders abandoning becoming a manufacturer squad and switching to become a customer outfit from 2026.

It is understood that Renault CEO Luca da Meo, who Briatore will report to, is evaluating whether the huge investment needed for Renault to produce its own engine is worth it, considering the success that customer teams can enjoy in F1.

Briatore will likely be tasked with finalising a decision on the power unit front, with Mercedes a likely target for a supply deal.

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