"Detoxed" Alonso "ready to return" to F1, says Briatore

18/05/2020
NEWS STORY

Although the future of the team remains in doubt, ever since it was confirmed that Daniel Ricciardo is leaving for McLaren, speculation has mounted over who might take the seat alongside Esteban Ocon at Renault next season.

While it is unlikely that Sebastian Vettel would be interested, the name consistently linked with the French team is that of Fernando Alonso, who won both of his titles with the Enstone-based outfit.

In the wake of Ricciardo's departure, team boss, Cyril Abiteboul talked of loyalty to the team, and in that respect Alonso might be just the thing to give the French outfit a much needed boost.

Furthermore, following his travails at McLaren and subsequent meandering in the motorsport wilderness, Flavio Briatore believes the Spaniard is up to the task.

"Fernando is motivated," he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "A year out of Formula 1 has done him good. He has detoxed himself and I see him more serene and ready to return."

"In F1 it has always been about having the winning recipe," he continued, referring to Vettel's split with Ferrari. "You must have one driver who is focused on the world championship and the other who collects big points, snatching them from rivals.

"Vettel paid for the fact that a very fast boy arrived at the team. It surprised him and the team, as happened at McLaren with Hamilton. Two drivers at the same level in a team eventually risk taking points off each other."

As would appear to be the case at Red Bull, Briatore believes the signing of Carlos Sainz is a clear signal that the Italian team feels it has a clear number one in terms of Charles Leclerc, with the Spaniard expected to support him.

"He is a good driver," said the Italian, who was barred from motor sport following the infamous Crash-gate saga, "and he had a good championship in 2019 if we consider the car he had available.

"The situation seems clear to me," he continued, "Ferrari is betting everything on Leclerc and it is good because, as I had the opportunity to say last year, he is a future star. Similarities with Alonso and Schumacher? You can see the good drivers right away.

"I remember well the numbers that Michael did, even if he was still very young, with Benetton. There were also the calls from Gian Carlo Minardi to tell me about the young Alonso. You understand immediately if one is special, and Charles is."

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Published: 18/05/2020
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