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

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

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