Flavio Briatore has played down the contribution made to Renault’s recent success by the now departed back to back champion Fernando Alonso.
The Spanish racer, who has switched to McLaren for a new challenge, scored 267 points compared to 2007 team leader Giancarlo Fisichella’s 130 in 2005 and last year, but boss Briatore insists that the Enstone based team is the real star.
“Fernando is good,” the Italian told Auto Motor und Sport, “but not as good as many people think.”
Briatore is putting his faith in the Roman 33-year-old Fisichella, to be partnered at Renault this year by rookie Finn Heikki Kovalainen.
Referring to Fisichella, he said: “He beat all of his teammates until he came to Fernando.”
Briatore also enthused about 25-year-old Kovalainen, who he says “reminds me of a young Schumacher or Alonso”, even if Flavio admits that pressuring Heikki to immediately emulate Alonso’s feats would be “wrong”.
But he said: “There is no reason why he cannot become as good as Fernando. Heikki is our investment into the future.”