Briatore’s acid comments

Flavio Briatore is never one to shy away from the limelight and after the Melbourne grand prix at the weekend, he has let his feelings about the race known, aiming acidic comments at the wayward backmarkers and the not-so-stellar performances of Renault and Heikki Kovalainen.

According to Briatore, the slower rivals are ‘ignoring’ blue flags. “You need to rifle to get these guys moving,” he exclaimed to reporters. “I hope the Federation is doing something.”

Briatore was not impressed with the debut of Kovalainen after the Finn drove a mistake-ridden race. “Everyone saw it on TV,” he said, obviously not feeling the need for team solidarity. “There’s no point trying to defend him. If I said he did a good job, I would be a complete idiot.”

Briatore’s mood was probably not helped by Renault’s race pace. Expecting to be amongst the front runners, on the day, Renault were outpaced by not only Ferrari and McLaren but also BMW Sauber.

Briatore continued to moan by switching topics to the 2007 tyres. “We know we are behind,” Briatore said. “We knew this from the beginning. We have a problem because the moment we put the Bridgestone on the 2006 car, immediately McLaren was quicker than us. Our car was so well-balanced with the Michelins, we lost more than anybody. The performance today really was a little bit worse than what we expected.”

Briatore will also not be pleased with the performance of his lead driver, Giancarlo Fisichella, although he refrained from passing any comment. Fisichella finished the race fifth, picking up points for the team, however he was over a minute behind race-winner Kimi Raikkonen. Raikkonen’s team-mate Felipe Massa was hot on Fisichella’s heels, finishing just 0.4 seconds behind him – an impressive feat considering he started from the back of the field. Had Massa not had technical problems in qualifying, many believe he would have earned himself a podium.