Disgraced F1 boss returns: Flavio Briatore back as Alpine adviser

Briatore won multiple world championships in the 1990s and 2000s before being disgraced in the Crashgate scandal.


It’s been many a year since Flavio Briatore last walked through the doors at the Enstone factory, home of Alpine Formula 1 team, after the Italian was famously banned from the sport for fixing the result of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, but now Briatore returns as an adviser to the team. So, what is his role and what is he there to do?

Briatore, aged 74, has a wealth of F1 experience in his back pockets after working with Michael Schumacher at Benneton and Fernando Alonso at Renault as both driver/team combinations went on to become world champions under his steady hand.

And in their time of need, Alpine, who were Renault from 2016-2020, have activated the Briat Signal as Briatore returns as Alpine adviser save them from the perils of fighting Sauber and Haas in 2024’s F1 season as he returns in the role of executive adviser.

The decision comes as per Luca de Meo, the CEO of Renault, and Bruno Famin is clearly on board as he explained how the Italian will improve the form of the struggling team, which had just five points to their name prior to the 2024 Spanish GP.

“He’s going to bring his experience for sure,” Famin, Alpine team principal, said of Briatore. “40 years of experience in F1. He knows how to operate a winning team.

“He has a very good record, quite a number of world titles and he will bring this experience and this fighting spirit to the team

“He is going to advise the team. We will work together, of course, as the adviser the [Renault] Groupe CEO, but he will advise the team on where we are going to work on. We’ll talk permanently together, for sure.”

In a press release announcing Briatore‘s return as Alpine adviser would scout future talent and analyse the driver market whilst challenging the structure of the team whilst focusing on improving the “top level” areas of the outfit.

It’s the latest change at the revolving door at Enstone that has seen Alpine lose seven personnel in 11 months, including a team principal, sporting director, technical director, head of aerodynamics, operations director and engineering consultant as well as their former CEO.

Esteban Ocon leads Alpine teammate Pierre Gasly in qualifying ahead of the 2024 Bahrain GP | Alpine F1 Team
Esteban Ocon leads Alpine teammate Pierre Gasly in qualifying ahead of the 2024 Bahrain GP | Alpine F1 Team

Why was Briatore banned from Formula 1?

Briatore was banned from Formula 1 due to his involvement in the Crashgate scandal that took place during the 2008 Singapore GP when a deliberate crash orchestrated by Briatore and his team at Renault manipulated the race outcome in favour of their own driver, Alonso.

During the early stages of the race, Nelson Piquet Jr. intentionally crashed his car on the 14th lap, causing a safety car period shortly after Alonso pitted. This saw Alonso go from languishing towards the back of the field into contention for the win in a matter of minutes, since he didn’t need to pit under the safety car and could jump all the cars during that sequence.

Initially, Briatore and his team of co-conspirators got away with it until Piquet Jr. revealed that he had been instructed to crash on purpose by senior team officials in 2009, after he was fired by Renault at the end of 2008.

Renault Team Launch 2006 - Heikki Kovalainen , Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella with Renault Team Boss Flavio Briatore and Patrick Faure, Boss of Renault Sport | Action Images / Crispin Thruston
Renault Team Launch 2006 – Heikki Kovalainen , Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella with Renault Team Boss Flavio Briatore and Patrick Faure, Boss of Renault Sport | Action Images / Crispin Thruston

The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) conducted an investigation into the allegations and in September 2009, after reviewing evidence and hearing testimonies, found Briatore guilty of conspiring to fix the race.

Consequently, the FIA imposed a lifetime ban on Briatore from any FIA-sanctioned events across all forms of motorsport oversaw by the governing body but in 2010, Briatore appealed the FIA‘s decision to the French courts, who ruled the ban was not legally valid.

Consequently, the lifetime ban was overturned, but Briatore agreed not to seek a managerial role in F1 until 2013 as part of a settlement with the FIA. As a result, the Crashgate scandal remains one of the most infamous events in motorsport history, highlighting issues of sportsmanship and integrity in motorsport.

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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