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Briatore returns to F1 as Alpine advisor in bid to reverse struggles

The struggling Alpine Formula One team has brought back a controversial figure in hopes of turning their season around. Flavio Briatore, 74, has been appointed as an Executive Advisor to Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo.

Briatore boasts an impressive past in F1. As team boss of Benetton, he guided Michael Schumacher to his first two world titles (1994-1995). He continued his success with Renault (now Alpine), where his talent scouting skills unearthed Fernando Alonso, who secured back-to-back championships in 2005 and 2006.

However, Briatore’s career was marred by the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix scandal, known as ‘crashgate’. He was accused of orchestrating a deliberate crash by Nelson Piquet Jr. to benefit teammate Alonso. This resulted in a ban from F1, though it was later overturned.

While away from F1, Briatore pursued various ventures including nightclubs, restaurants, a holiday resort, and even a brief stint owning a football club.

Alpine is hoping Briatore’s experience and strategic vision can provide a much-needed boost. The team, currently in eighth place with just five points, has endured a sluggish start with their French drivers, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, even colliding in Monaco.

Briatore’s role will focus on “top level areas of the team,” including scouting talent, analyzing the driver market, and advising on team structure and overall F1 strategy. This is particularly crucial with Ocon departing at season’s end and Gasly’s future uncertain beyond 2024.

The return of such a controversial figure is sure to raise eyebrows, but Alpine is clearly betting on Briatore’s past successes to help them navigate their current challenges.

(Source: AFP)

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