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Briatore set for Alpine return, no suspension for Ocon

Briatore set for Alpine return, no suspension for Ocon
© Reuters
Flavio Briatore may soon make a significant return to managing a Formula 1 team, as Alpine has not refuted claims that the influential Italian is on the verge of becoming a major advisor.

Flavio Briatore may soon make a significant return to managing a Formula 1 team, as Alpine has not refuted claims that the influential Italian is on the verge of becoming a major advisor.

Previously, Briatore managed Renault's factory team until his departure - and banning - from F1 as a result of the 'crashgate' scandal. The team, now known as Alpine and based in Enstone, is currently navigating through a dip in performance.

"We do not comment on individuals," a spokesperson stated.

Reports from Italy's Corriere della Sera and France's L'Equipe suggest that Renault CEO Luca de Meo has approached Briatore to explore his interest in a consultancy role akin to that once held by Niki Lauda at various teams.

"The entrepreneur is ready to return to Formula 1 to revive the fortunes of Alpine," asserted Corriere della Sera.

L'Equipe has reported, "Even if the information is not official, the arrival of Flavio Briatore as special advisor at Alpine is considered done."

Thus far in 2024, Alpine has displayed some potential for a turnaround, yet the ongoing upheaval hints that current team leader Bruno Famin might be contemplating the exclusion of Esteban Ocon from the upcoming Canadian GP. This consideration follows Ocon's collision with teammate Pierre Gasly during the Monaco GP's first lap.

At the same time, rumours have connected Ocon with a potential 2025 switch to Haas. Amid the Ocon speculation, Gasly was quoted by Auto Hebdo, "I am confident about being on the grid next year."

L'Equipe states firmly that benching Ocon in Canada "was never considered," as the speculation stemmed from "a bad translation in England" following Famin's heated remarks at the Monaco GP's conclusion.

Red Bull's F1 consultant, Dr. Helmut Marko, described the Ocon issue as problematic for Alpine.

"We had this happen twice at Red Bull Racing," he recalled. "Once in 2018 with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen in Baku, and once with Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel in 2010 in Turkey."

"In both cases, we called both drivers into the company and discussed it openly with them and made it clear that such collisions with teammates are simply not acceptable," Marko explained.

Yet, Marko noted that sidelining Ocon would be "difficult."

"It is difficult to implement measures in these cases because you'd have to be able to prove clear intent, and that is not the case," he mentioned. "The driver (Ocon) says he misjudged the situation, and that means there is no longer intent. The problem at Alpine, however, is that it was not the first time, and I think that makes things even more difficult," he added.

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Helmut Marko at the Brazil GP on November 3, 2023
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