Briatore plans to quit next year

Renault boss Flavio Briatore has said that he has no intention of carrying on with the French car manufacturer beyond the end of next season - and has hinted that he could turn his back on Formula 1 altogether

Briatore plans to quit next year

The flamboyant Italian's contract with Renault runs until the middle of next year although he has made no secret of the fact that he will see the 2005 campaign through to the end.

However, in an interview with Italian weekly Sportautomoto, Briatore has responded to speculation about his future by confirming that next year will be the last in his current position.

He said: "There are lots of rumours around the paddock and they come all the time. But 2005 is my last year at Renault and we will see what happens after that. Maybe I will leave F1."

Briatore is optimistic that he has done everything he can to put Renault in a position to challenge for next year's championship but believes the pace of its tyre supplier Michelin will dictate the ultimate form of the team.

"In 2005 we will have a competitive pair of drivers and the only question is the tyres," added Briatore in the interview. "I like the Michelin guys but they need to understand that they are behind Bridgestone and we need to work hard to be better. If you stand still in F1 you fall behind."

Speaking about his 2005 driver line-up, Briatore believes his future pairing of Giancarlo Fisichella and Fernando Alonso will be as strong as the Ferrari duo of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello - even if there is no doubt about who is the fastest driver in F1.

"Alonso and Fisichella are at the same level as Schumacher and Barrichello, although I still believe Schumacher is the best. We need to give him [Michael] more pressure because he is human and he can make mistakes."

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