Flavio Briatore, who has won titles with both drivers, believes Fernando Alonso is better than Michael Schumacher.
“He (Alonso) is the best of the last 20 years,” said the former Benetton and Renault boss, whose two-decade timeline would take F1 back to the Senna era.
Briatore told Italy’s Sky Sport 24: “He (Alonso) is above Schumacher, but we are talking about very high levels and minimal differences.
“But Fernando makes very few mistakes, even under pressure, and his impression of the race is spectacular.”
The Italian, who remains involved in the Spaniard’s management, continued: “Sometimes a team can make mistakes with strategy but he can pull it back.
“And when he’s ahead, 90 per cent of the time he will win the race, even if the car is not competitive.
“He lives and breathes racing only,” added Briatore, who was banned from F1 amid the ‘crashgate’ scandal of 2008/9.
On the 2012 season more generally, Briatore thinks Alonso can win the championship but “Ferrari has to improve the car so that Alonso can win at least one more grand prix without McLaren being second.
“There are many points, but if you’re not first or second, there are only crumbs,” he said.
Told that Red Bull’s era of dominance is over, Briatore insisted “I don’t think so”, while he praised the Swiss team Sauber, who are “proof that money doesn’t make the difference”.
As for Romain Grosjean, who – once championed by Briatore – is emerging this weekend from an ultra-rare FIA race ban, Briatore said: “The federation did well.
“He (Grosjean) uses the car as though it’s his, so he must begin to respect the work of the (Lotus) people because he causes many accidents.
“I would like to see what Alonso could do in his place,” he added.