Analysis: Briatore Celebrates 2nd Double

Flavio Briatore stood on the Chinese Grand Prix podium on Sunday with sodden hair and champagne dripping down his shoulders

Analysis: Briatore Celebrates 2nd Double

The Renault team boss, more familiar outside Formula One for his appearances in celebrity magazines with a supermodel on his arm, looked like a man who had won the lottery for a second time.

In a sense he had, with Spaniard Fernando Alonso and Renault pulling off a Drivers' and Constructors' Championship double 10 years after Briatore achieved a similar feat with Michael Schumacher and Benetton.

Few enough team bosses have won one title, let alone two with different teams.

Luck, however, plays little part in the Italian's extraordinary success.

Briatore has minimal mechanical know-how, describing himself as a 'T-shirt seller' when he arrived in Formula One with Benetton, and little interest in what lies under the car's heavily-sponsored outer skin.

But the playboy, for all his exclusive nightclubs, yacht and luxury 'Lion in the Sun' Kenyan retreat, has proved yet again that he has the political skills and business acumen to deliver the goods.

As Williams' Australian Mark Webber, another promising driver managed by Briatore, puts it: "Flavio, he has the bloody crystal ball...he's so bloody sharp, he knows. He has a great bullshit meter."

Wheeler-Dealer

Briatore snapped up Schumacher after he had done just one race with Eddie Jordan's team in 1991 before the Irish entrepreneur could lock him into a contract. Then he signed up Alonso before others were aware of the then-teenager's potential.

"I am very pleased for Flavio," said Toyota technical director Mike Gascoyne, who previously occupied that role at Renault under the 55-year-old Briatore.

"He is a great guy to work for, very flamboyant but you have to take your hat off to him. He deserves his success.

"Flavio understands business and he understands how to motivate people," said Gascoyne.

"He understands the business of Formula One, he's a wheeler-dealer -- and a lot of people are in this pit lane - but Flavio is good at it. He built the team, he went out and got people," said Gascoyne. "He's not just all mouth."

When Briatore opens his mouth, in English at any rate, what often comes out is a husky rush of words that makes sense in an impressionistic sort of way.

Formula One, the Italian once said, is "just cars racing on a Sunday and grid girls". Yet there is no doubting his passion for the show.

When Alonso won the title in Brazil, Briatore slipped away from the pit wall and did not join in the usual post-race celebrations.

Instead, he sat alone in his office considering what he had achieved, before heading for the airport to address the factories in France and England.

"I don't know what happened, the emotion. Like Fernando said before, he was thinking about what happened in 2005. I was thinking about what happened in my 15 years of Formula One. I think I needed some privacy," Briatore said later.

"Flavio is very much the essence of our team and typifies a lot of it," said Renault's head of engineering Pat Symonds on Sunday. "We are good at handling change and part of that is because we are lateral thinkers.

"And if you want to find a lateral thinker in this paddock, where do you look? It's Flavio. He instils that sort of ethos in everyone," added Symonds, who was also at Benetton in 1995.

"I've stuck with Flavio for a long while and it's not because I'm unemployable anywhere else," said the Briton. "It's because I really have a lot of respect for him and what he's done for the team."

shares
comments
Bahrain Welcomes F1 Theme Park Idea
Previous article

Bahrain Welcomes F1 Theme Park Idea

Next article

McLaren are No Failures, Says Dennis

McLaren are No Failures, Says Dennis
How Ferrari’s Monaco headache became its Silverstone migraine Plus

How Ferrari’s Monaco headache became its Silverstone migraine

OPINION: Ferrari won the British Grand Prix with Carlos Sainz, but it ultimately cost Charles Leclerc a chance to make a bigger dent in Max Verstappen's title lead by leaving the Monegasque out on old tyres towards the end. Like Monaco, indecision over strategy proved to be the Scuderia's biggest issue - and if the team doesn't reflect, the headache can only intensify

The five factors behind Sainz winning a British GP he’d twice lost Plus

The five factors behind Sainz winning a British GP he’d twice lost

Formula 1 has a newest race winner, in a grand prix the victor appeared to have lost twice, only to charge back to headline a sensational and dramatic British Grand Prix. From a massive start crash to a late sprint finish, here’s how five factors saw Carlos Sainz take his maiden grand prix win

Formula 1
Jul 4, 2022
Why there was no case to answer in Aston’s latest F1 copycat saga Plus

Why there was no case to answer in Aston’s latest F1 copycat saga

The appearance of a revised Aston Martin in Spain caused controversy but PAT SYMONDS explains why the FIA investigation found the Silverstone team had no case to answer

Formula 1
Jul 3, 2022
Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone Plus

Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone

After a slow start to Friday at Silverstone, all the Formula 1 teams had to effectively cram in a day’s worth of practice into one hour. But there was still plenty to learn and while Ferrari topped the times, a three-way battle is brewing ahead of the British Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jul 2, 2022
Why the future is bright for the British GP Plus

Why the future is bright for the British GP

It wasn’t so long ago the situation looked bleak at Silverstone with the future of the British Grand Prix under threat. But a transformation has seen it restored to one of the most important races on the Formula 1 calendar, with bigger and better to come

Formula 1
Jul 1, 2022
Could mixed fortunes for F1's leading Brits turn around at Silverstone? Plus

Could mixed fortunes for F1's leading Brits turn around at Silverstone?

For the first time in many years, none of the local racers starts among the favourites for the British Grand Prix. But George Russell, Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris could have reasons for optimism

Formula 1
Jun 30, 2022
Verstappen exclusive: Why F1’s champion isn’t fazed by Silverstone return Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why F1’s champion isn’t fazed by Silverstone return

Max Verstappen is the world’s number one racing driver… and he’s determined to keep it that way. Speaking exclusively to GP Racing's OLEG KARPOV, the Red Bull driver explains why he’s relishing the 2022 championship battle with Charles Leclerc – and why he’s not worried about returning to Silverstone, the scene of the biggest accident of his career last year

Formula 1
Jun 30, 2022
Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team Plus

Why Red Bull’s RB17 hypercar can help its F1 team

On Tuesday, Red Bull laid out its plans to develop and build a new hypercar - the RB17 - penned by Adrian Newey. As the project itself sates Newey as a creative outlet, it also offers Red Bull's Formula 1 team a number of new and exciting avenues to pursue

Formula 1
Jun 29, 2022