Briatore: Alonso cannot win title with Ferrari car

Flavio Briatore is ever more pessimistic about Fernando Alonso’s chances of winning the 2012 championship.

Some days ago, the Spaniard’s former Renault boss said Alonso only has a 30 per cent chance of beating Sebastian Vettel to the chequered flag next month. Briatore is now quoted by Italy’s Tuttosport as saying: “With a (Ferrari) car like this, you do not win the championship.”

Alonso looked disappointed on the Korea podium after finishing third and losing his championship lead, but afterwards told reporters he was “happy”.

“Ferdi is telling lies — he is not happy at all,” Briatore, still involved in Alonso’s management, insisted.

Alonso replied to Briatore’s comments: “He could have said all that in March as well.”


Briatore: Alonso’s title chance is just 30 percent now

Fernando Alonso’s title prospects for 2012 have dwindled to just 30 per cent.

That is the claim of former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore, who is still involved in the management of the championship leader’s career.

Recently, Briatore said the Spaniard has all but wrapped up the drivers’ title for Ferrari.

But the flamboyant Italian said at the Genoa boat show: “I think Vettel has a 70 per cent chance of winning the title, while Alonso’s chance is 30,” Briatore is quoted by the Ansa news agency.


Briatore: Alonso is better than Schumacher

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.


Briatore: Ferrari should keep Massa for another season

Flavio Briatore thinks Ferrari should sign Felipe Massa for another season.

The Italian team is openly undecided over its choice of teammate for Fernando Alonso next year, but former Renault boss Briatore said: “I would keep Massa for another year”.

“Massa is a good driver but he should never compare his times with those of Alonso,” Italian Briatore is quoted by Corriere dello Sport.

Briatore, who remains involved in Alonso’s management and was in charge at Renault when the Spaniard won his back-to-back titles, baulked at reports linking Sebastian Vettel with Ferrari.

“I would never put Vettel and Alonso together so long as there is only one title for one driver,” he insisted. “We have seen it so many times in F1: Prost-Senna, Mansell-Prost, Alonso-Hamilton. They were experiments that divided the team and cost the drivers as well.

“Put it this way: if I had a slow driver, I would put someone beside him who is even slower,” he smiled.

Massa said at the weekend he is hoping to hear “good news soon” about his future.

“I have no news yet, but results help, and I think that it won’t take long,” said the Brazilian.

David Brabham, the son of triple world champion Sir Jack and a former Simtek driver, spoke in support of the struggling Massa whilst competing at a sports car race in Sao Paulo at the weekend.

“It is common in any sport to lose confidence after a serious accident,” the Australian is quoted by Globo. “He probably didn’t come back the same, but he’s getting there. I don’t know what Ferrari will do, but I believe he (Massa) would have a better year in 2013,” said Brabham.


Briatore writing rules for ‘GP1’ series

Flavio Briatore could be readying to burst back into F1. Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport said the ousted and formerly banned Italian is busily writing regulations for a ‘GP1’ championship. They could be adopted should the FIA not sign up to the 2013 Concorde Agreement, according to the report.

Apparently, the political rumblings in F1 at present are not limited to the sport’s planned floatation, or Bernie Ecclestone’s spat with Mercedes.

Cost-control is also a buzzword. As reported recently, the vast majority of F1’s teams want the FIA to enshrine cost-cutting in the actual sporting regulations, even to the point of pushing for a once highly-controversial budget cap.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone, however, is not famously close with the FIA’s new president Jean Todt, and according to Auto Motor und Sport he is not convinced that the Paris federation needs to write and control the rules.

Enter Briatore. The German report said Ferrari will be a fan of the former Renault chief’s rumoured regulations, as they steer away from the premium on aerodynamics.


Briatore speaks out (again) about diffusers

REN2008110197660 PVRenault team principal Flavio Briatore has again spoken out about the diffuser controversy that he believes is causing his team’s lack of performance this season. The Italian told Autosport he was conscious of all three “diffuser gang” teams’ superior speed, and that everybody else was suffering.

“Like everybody else, excluding three teams, everybody is having a tough time,” Briatore said.

“Malaysia was tough as well, especially with the weather, and our downforce is very poor. And this is very clear.

“But we do not give up, absolutely. We have the hearing [of the FIA’s Court of Appeal] on April 14 and we need to see what happens as well,” he maintained.

In a vicious dig at Williams, Briatore said that the team’s diffuser entirely explained their drivers’ competitiveness.

“This weekend it was so clear what happened. It is not normal. In this moment, Kazuki Nakajima is a fantastic driver, but these people did not make such a big improvement from last year…It is very clear there is a lot of downforce and a lot of ground effect.”

Briatore faces more difficulties up ahead if his car’s performance fails to improve. Star driver Fernando Alonso, although performing brilliantly so far this season, will most probably leave if Renault do not become competitive soon. Meanwhile, Nelson Piquet’s errant performances have raised concerns in the paddock about his ability to remain at the pinnacle of motorsport.

Briatore pelted with sand

Flavio Briatore hit a spot of bother during his August holiday. The Renault boss is reported to have tried to land his luxury yacht on Capriccioli beach in Sardinia only to be pelted with sand and water by angry bathers.

Briatore was in the area mixing business with pleasure Formula One is currently taking a three week break and Briatore is taking a holiday, however he is also in the area to check on his Billionaire night club, and to inaugurate a new restaurant.

He chose to try and land his yacht on the beach however sunbathers were less than impressed with his behaviour and according to Italian newspaper La Stampa, he scared some of the swimmers, many of whom were children, on his approach to the beach. Some were so incensed at his actions that they tried to push his dinghies back to sea. Others were said to hurl sea water and sand from buckets at him.

Briatore is unhappy with the welcome he received and told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, “We are nice people are we get treated like this. I will close everything down I pay my taxes and it s my right to.”