From Schumacher to Alonso: Five of Briatore's greatest successes

20-10-2021 16:16 | Updated: 20-10-2021 17:23
by GPblog.com
F1 News
From Schumacher to Alonso: Five of Briatore's greatest successes

Exactly what he will do is still unclear, but former team boss Flavio Briatore appears to be working with Formula One boss Stefano Domenicali on a comeback. The announcement comes as the premier class of motorsport is about to embark on a new era. We previously looked back at the flamboyant Italian's career in detail, but what were his greatest successes in Formula 1?

When you think of Briatore's successes, you think of Renault and Fernando Alonso, Benetton and Michael Schumacher. These were undoubtedly two of the highlights in the career of the 71-year-old Italian, but they were certainly not the only ones. We made an overview of five important successes from Briatore's Formula 1 career.

Benetton

Briatore made his entrance in Formula 1 at Benetton, where he was appointed commercial director of the team. He had no previous experience in motorsports and even stated that he had never had much interest in Formula 1. For Benetton that turned out to be the key to success: Briatore led the team like any other company. Emotion played no role because the passion was not there.

With this purely businesslike attitude, he immediately fired the entire management of the team and recruited former McLaren and Ferrari designer John Barnard, among others. When Barnard left Briatore replaced him with Tom Walkinshaw. This approach brought about a turnaround at Benetton, which transformed into a competitive team within a few years.

Michael Schumacher

One success led to another. Briatore had made Benetton a competitive team but was still looking for the right driver to complete the picture. Then there was the debut of Michael Schumacher in the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix. Schumacher's talent did not go unnoticed: despite the fact that he had to abandon his debut race after only a few hundred meters, Briatore had set his mind on hiring the young German. Schumacher was immediately snapped up by Jordan after his debut race and switched to Benetton, where he won his first world titles in 1994 and 1995.

Supertec

After Schumacher's departure to Ferrari, Benetton's results dropped. In 1998 Briatore took a new direction: he sold customer engines from Renault to Formula 1 teams, including Benetton and Williams, on behalf of the new company Supertec. In doing so, he created the opportunity for a return to the sport. In 2000, Renault announced the takeover of the Benetton team, after which Briatore was appointed team principal.

Fernando Alonso

Arguably one of Briatore's greatest successes came in the form of Fernando Alonso. When Alonso was 18, the Italian became his manager and secured him a Formula One seat at Minardi, where the young Spaniard made his debut in 2001. A year later he was promoted to test driver at Renault. In 2003 Briatore showed his ruthless side by dismissing Jenson Button and replacing him with Alonso. The decision caused a lot of indignation, but Briatore only reacted by saying 'tell me I'm wrong.' That he was not wrong was proven in the following years: Alonso became world champion in 2005 and 2006.

Mark Webber

Briatore had the reputation of a good talent scout, especially thanks to the acquisition of Schumacher and Alonso. But Mark Webber also owes his Formula 1 debut to Briatore. The Italian appointed him as test driver at Renault in 2001 and financed the Australian's Formula 3000 season. The following year he moved Webber to Minardi, where he launched a successful Formula One career.

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