“Ferrari must be reset”, Flavio Briatore says
Flavio Briatore is an icon of Formula 1, a former team manager who won 7 world championships with Benetton and Renault.
In an interview with “l’Insider” magazine, he talked about contemporary Formula 1, Mercedes domination, the Ferrari crisis, and the drivers, speaking bluntly as usual.
Supremacy, the Mercedes one, imposed by a technological overwhelming power that makes the drivers secondary to the importance of the car. Mercedes’ dominance is so strong that nobody in the online betting world would wager on other drivers rather than Hamilton.
“A driver makes a difference if he has a good car”, Briatore says, speaking on his protégé, Fernando Alonso, who is about to return to the big circus.
Ferrari needs a new organizational set-up
The ex-team leader is straight to the point about Ferrari: the team has to be totally reset. Binotto is a team principal but “he’s like an army without a commander”. This is why Ferrari needs a total restructuring because now it is following a difficult road, for an organizational point of view. There is no real leadership, and the team is unguided.
This led for example to the accident between Leclerc and Vettel in the last Grand Prix. Sainz’s early engagement was also wrong, disheartening for Vettel and burdening for Leclerc, who is dealing too many responsibilities now. But he’s still too young to bet on him for the final victory.
The attitude must be changed, not the men, who must work in a team and with a defined leadership. In fact, Ferrari has the budget and the technical means more than enough to win, but it is unable to do so precisely because of the team structure, confused, without a guide.
The sign of the crisis is Ferrari’s car behaviour on the wet. For Briatore, the wrong car goes badly on the dry and good on the wet, but Ferrari fails to be competitive in all weather conditions. Everything must, therefore, be reset, starting with the aerodynamics.
Alonso is coming back in Formula 1
Today, Briatore is out of the world of Formula 1 as a team manager and is only looking after Fernando Alonso, managing the agreement with Renault. He goes to see some races, but a return with a starring role is not even among the top ten things he would do today. He still has many friends in Formula 1, but opportunities are lacking. No second thoughts, no nostalgia, he says.
Speaking of Alonso and the two sabbatical years away, Briatore finds the Spanish driver very motivated.
Briatore knows Renault very well. With the team, he has won a lot, in eight years, with Alonso, and he knows that they know how to work.
Alonso has lost 5 kilos since leaving McLaren, full fit, and the goal is to be competitive for 2022. Technically good, Renault’s weak points are the Enstone part and the chassis part.
Renault is already working with Alonso to collaborate on the new project, with daily contacts, to go back to the times of the victories in which Briatore was the team manager.
Technology killed the show
Briatore talked about drivers also. About the 90s, Schumacher was a true champion who made the difference. A driver can make a difference of two or three-tenths of a second, but he must have a competitive car.
When you arrive in Formula 1 you are already a good driver, but the difference is in knowing how to react to pressure. The two drivers he managed and were able to make a difference are Schumi and Alonso, who were able to be faster and faster with rain or dry conditions.
These drivers know how to push the car to the limit and fully unveil its characteristics. When the car is at its limit it cannot lie.
Today the car is much more important than the driver, so much so that, according to Briatore, at least 4 or 5 drivers could win now if they drove the Mercedes. Hamilton is a very good driver, but as the former team manager points out, the only time the Englishman had a real opponent, Rosberg, he lost. This is because having a super competitive car, he drives without any pressure, except in the year when Rosberg won.
This is true in all sports, but even more so in Formula 1, wherewith a similar car you can see the real driver. The current Formula 1 is unspectacular due to technology and Mercedes domination, which nobody wants.
To solve the problem of the show, Briatore would like more similar cars, as in Gp2. The show is the struggle between pilots, and the technology must be balanced.
“People want to see gladiators, and the more technology there is, the less spectacular the sport is”, he says.