Flavio Briatore, the Renault F1 Team's Managing Director, discusses the current politics of Formula One. Q: Mr Briatore, how important is the world title for you? Flavio Briatore: It is first and foremost important for Renault. The company...
Flavio Briatore, the Renault F1 Team's Managing Director, discusses the current politics of Formula One.
Q: Mr Briatore, how important is the world title for you?
Flavio Briatore: It is first and foremost important for Renault. The company must get a return on its investment. For me, it would be a proof that the titles I won with Benetton were no fluke.
Q: Who do you think will win the championship?
FB: If we slip up again and Kimi scores heavily, then it could get close. But I think the whole situation is great. It is exciting, and good for Formula 1.
Q: Since Indianapolis, the teams have been pitted against Max Mosley. What is your view?
FB: Max Mosley has done a very good job in recent years. He is an intelligent, capable man who has good ideas. That doesn't mean that everything he suggests is perfect but I am in agreement with his most important points.
Q: What do you mean exactly?
FB: The spectators are the people who matter most, and we must improve Formula 1 to make it safer and more entertaining. To do that, we need a strong FIA President like Mosley as a regulator. But for the unity and the attractiveness of the show, we need Ferrari too.
Q: But Ferrari are already doing their own thing with the FIA and Ecclestone, rather than your planned manufacturer series.
FB: And so what? If Ferrari sees the new series working, then I am sure that will get rid of their doubts and they will join it.
Q: How should that happen?
FB: All the people involved in Formula 1 should get together around a table like adults, and start talking to each other and working together as soon as possible.
Q: Is that some kind of peace offering?
FB: No, because there is no war in Formula 1 and there won't be. We all know what Formula 1 needs. We need unity, a strong FIA that supervises everybody, but also more money for the teams and manufacturers than we have at the moment. The FIA has nothing to do with that, it is Bernie Ecclestone, but he only has 25% of the shares. The rest belongs to the banks.
Q: And how can a solution be found to the problem?
FB: The manufacturers develop a system with the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone, to which everybody is bound under new terms -- including Ferrari. Then everybody will be going in the same direction for 2008.
Q: Without the banks, but with Ecclestone and the FIA?
FB: Yes, because the agreement between the teams (Concorde Agreement) and FOM (Formula One Management) expires in 2007. FOM is currently owned by the banks, and its chief executive is Bernie Ecclestone. In 2008, it is possible to create a brand new Formula 1 series that includes the teams, Bernie Ecclestone and with the FIA as a regulator, without the banks.
Q: Does that mean that Mosley's latest rule proposals that severely limit engine, electronic and aerodynamic technology as well as restricting tyres, would be accepted by the manufacturers?
FB: If I have understood Mosley correctly, the proposed rules from 2008 are a basis for discussion. However, these proposals must be confirmed by the end of the year, otherwise they will inevitably become the rules after being imposed by the FIA.
Q: Do your counterparts share your opinion?
FB: We are looking for a compromise with the FIA and Ecclestone. We accept both positions. We don't have a problem with Bernie nor with Max or the FIA. We simply need to restructure everything in a sensible fashion.
Q: Could the manufacturers carry out their threat to set up their own championship?
FB: That is not the issue. The real question is, what will ultimately help all the stakeholders? That is the only thing that matters.
This interview originally appeared in the 10 July edition of Welt am Sonntag.