Flavio Briatore’s risky gamble on Fernando Alonso may not pay off

Flavio Briatore, Fernando Alonso, Renault, Melbourne, 2008, 470150

After leaving McLaren and returning to Renault, Fernando Alonso is a happy bunny now, right. Apparently not – in an interview with a Spanish publication he showed he was already thinking of moving on again:

I’m at Renault because I wanted to get back to winning, like in 2005 and 2006, if not this year then next year. But I have an option to leave so I can be in the best possible car, and it is clear Ferrari is one of the best.

Flavio Briatore has rushed in to stick up for Renault but it seems if the team don’t put up the goods the two times champion will indeed walk to Ferrari.

Briatore said:

At the moment we are in a very promising development run, because it would be completely unrealistic to think we can find those missing seconds to McLaren and Ferrari within days.

Alonso has confirmed what many suspected – that he was reluctant about returning to Renault and secured tough performance clauses from the team to allow him to break his two-year deal at the end of 2008 should they not prove good enough.

Perhaps his somewhat fortunate fourth place in Melbourne will prove decisive in that equation? Regardless, at Sepang he must have seen the writing on the wall – Renault are slower than Red Bull, the team they supply engines to.

Alonso has an exit strategy but for Briatore the stakes are higher. When Heikki Kovalainen said out loud that he didn’t want to be number two to Alonso in 2008, Briatore shipped him out of the team even though Renault had backed the Finn’s career for six years, to keep Alonso happy.

Give Alonso a half-decent car and he’ll wring the most out of it – but how long is it going to take Renault to give him a good enough car? That is Briatore’s dilemma.

Fernando Alonso biography
Flavio Briatore biography
Renault team information

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50 comments on Flavio Briatore’s risky gamble on Fernando Alonso may not pay off

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  1. Dan M said on 25th March 2008, 19:42

    Surprise surpise!

  2. Wesley said on 25th March 2008, 19:46

    I think it was big mistake to let Heikki go,that is what Briatore is going to look back on and regret.But,I am sure Heikki is MUCH better off where he is now.

    I think Massa will lose his seat to Fernando next year.Kimi and Fernando in the two Ferraris,the racing between those two would be incredible!I don’t think we would see anyone else get close to them though.

  3. Oh! The perspective of Alonso not winning another championship ever is very pleasant indeed.

    Now don’t be silly, last year Massa had a terrible first two races and then he was fighting for the championship. He’ll get back on form.
    Kimi won’t drive in Ferrari with Alonso alongside, he’ll be out that team before that happens.

  4. Daniel said on 25th March 2008, 20:06

    I don’t think Kimi would be bothered at all by Alonso’s occasional arrival… On the other hand, probably Alonso wouldn’t like to have such a competitive team mate… let’s wait and see!

    As for Briatore’s gamble, I think that, anyway, it’ll pay off… without Alonso it would be much worse, and, even if he stays only for 2008, he’ll already give a huge contribution to their car’s development…

  5. It is very strange that BBC has writen this. I have read that interview in the AS, and the highlights would have been this one if the Q&A was in that way.
    Instead he said it till But I have an option to leave so I can be in the best possible car, when I read I want to be in the best possible car, and asked about Ferrari the answer was of course everybody knows that Ferrari is one of the best cars.
    That does not mean he is joining Ferrari next year, and for sure the bit of I have an option to leave never has been said in public so far.

    As I´ve said, very strange to me.

  6. Brad Pitney said on 25th March 2008, 20:40

    Alonso in a BMW could be interesting.

  7. I’m with Santiago, I’m quite surprising how the BBC has written the article in particular the title.  I also read the original on Sunday and it was consistent with all the interviews that Alonso has given since winter testing (its going to be hard to get into Q3, we won’t get podiums, I’m going to fight for every point but the reallity is the car is not competitive, the team is doing what it can etc..), which I’ve always assumed to be an attempt on his part to manage the expectations of his diehard fans (not whining which I guess is the preferred interpretation for many).
    The quote on Ferrari was an answer to a direct question from the reporter, it was not a case of Alonso stirring up trouble and putting pressure on Massa which seems to be how its been interpreted on the internets.
    As to him leaving at the end of the season, I think everybody knew that.
    The other thing that surprises me is why this is news or reportable now when its what he’s been saying it for some time. Far be it from me to be cynical, but is it an attempt to distract what could be perceived as a bad weekend for Hamilton by bringing out the bogeyman?

  8. Scootin159 said on 25th March 2008, 20:53

    I’m skeptical he will be going to Ferrari, simply because Ferrari is unlikely to let Raikkonen go, and there’s no way Raikkonen will agree to be a #2 to Alonso, and there’s no way Alonso will accept "equal status" to Raikkonen.

    So where’s that leave Alonso if Renault doesn’t do it for him?  McLaren? year right…
    BMW? They seem happy with what they have…
    Williams? Perhaps… if Rosberg moves to Ferrari…
    Red Bull? DC is getting slower by the year…
    Toyota? Looking stronger this year…
    Honda? They’re going the wrong way…

  9. If Alonso and Raikkonen are team-mates they will gift the championship to Hamilton. With the two of them stealing wins from each other, it will be easier for Lewis to rack up the wins.

  10. roadbiker20 said on 25th March 2008, 21:26

    I agree that this possibilty an attempt by British Media to turn the attention from Lewis’ bad weekend to Alonso and Renault.  I don’t see Alonso going anywhere next year in regards to Ferrari, they have their drivers set, unless Massa just continues to screw it up, then his seat will be filled by someone else.   Even so I don’t think it will be filled by Alonso.

  11. Architrion said on 25th March 2008, 21:26

    OOops…. I think Arnet hasn’t seen last Ferrari’s coast to coast championships…. It was some kind of Schu – Ru -Schu – Schu – Schu – Ru …. etc etc etc… and I couldn`t see no serious competitor for driver’s championship because the most anyone could get was a 3rd place….. That would be the story with a Fred – Kimi lineup…. the rest fighting hard to be third…. really boring

  12. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th March 2008, 21:36

    We get some crazy theories here sometimes but they’re usually offered as jokes. The idea that the ‘British media’ (by which I assume you mean the BBC) used this story to cover up Hamilton having a ‘bad weekend’ at Malaysia is just insane. It’s not as if BBC didn’t write about what happened to Hamilton.

    If you have any sources quoting Alonso saying both that he has an option to leave Renault and would like to drive for Ferrari I’d be interested to read them.

  13. gav d said on 25th March 2008, 21:38

    It’s always good to hear a driver making some troublemaking noise, but seriously though, would any team put two world champions together?

    Has any team done that in the past?

    One would think that there is only enough head-butting room in a team for one world champion.

  14.  Scootin159  do not be that skeptical. I will post this only once and wont talk any more about this matter.
    Alonso does not care about equality, in terms of cars, but strategies. Tell me only one time you have heard about equallity from his mouth. He complained last season of being unfairly treated, he felt that was talked before the season was not applied later on. Althouh he never said literaly hamilton is treated as Nº1 from his body lenguage and silences looked like that. The only one who said Alonso demands Nº1 status was Ron Dennis, but, within the contex of too many lies and trying to save him and himself from the spying saga, it is difficult to believe. Nevertheless, Alonso cannot comment anything about that because of a silence clause for leaving Mclaren without penalty.

    He, on the other hand, has said that he would like to do his own strategy for the races, but in the context of the modern F1 that is almost impossible because of the way things go in this sport.

    Alonso knows he is fast but not the faster, and also that he is probably the stronger in strategies and setting up the cars for the races, that is where he wants to be, although his dreams are very difficult to go through.

    You may like or dislike the pilots, but I can tell you, if you want to be Nº1 in any sport you have to be a killer, and to be a very pretty chap in public (wich seems to be the Alonso´s case this year), specially in front of the media.

  15. gav d said on 25th March 2008, 21:42

    The Gaurdian today http://sport.guardian.co.uk/formulaone2008/story/0,,2267946,00.html

    Alonso takes about clauses in his contract so he can walk to, for example, Ferrari.

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