‘No decision’ about scrapping engine program – Briatore

Sun, 23 June 2024, 08:46

Jun.23 (GMM) Alpine’s new F1 advisor Flavio Briatore is not denying that the team’s manufacturer parent Renault could totally scrap its 2026 engine project.

“I don’t comment on these kinds of rumours,” team boss Bruno Famin told Canal Plus in Barcelona.

Briatore, the struggling Enstone based team’s former ultra-successful boss, has been appointed by Renault CEO Luca de Meo to end the performance crisis.

“I’m now looking at the whole situation now,” the 74-year-old Italian told Sonntagsblick newspaper. “I’ll quickly find out where the problems are.

“I’m returning thanks to Luca. I wouldn’t have done it with anyone who was previously at the top of the Renault group,” Briatore also told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“He is one of the geniuses we exported from Italy, a fantastic person who wants results right away. He’s not getting them and so he took someone who knows how to get results. More or less that’s how the whole thing started.”

Interestingly, on the demanding Barcelona layout, Alpine’s woeful 2024 car suddenly performed better. “Now we have to understand why,” smiled Pierre Gasly.

“I wish I could give you the answer, but I don’t have it.”

What is clear is that Renault has struggled to ever produce a competitive ‘hybrid’ engine dating all the way back a decade. And now, with the electric elements ramping up even more for the 2026 rules, there are rumours Alpine could simply become a Red Bull or Mercedes engine customer.

“I will be the boss’s advisor and will do whatever I can to help the team win races,” said Briatore. “Therefore I will do what I know how to do.”

As for whether that might involve giving up the team’s works engine status, however, he told La Repubblica newspaper: “There is no decision and no ongoing negotiations.

“We are evaluating all options to become competitive again.”

Team boss Famin, though, sounded furious to be asked about the swirling speculation.

“We don’t know who makes the rumours, but one thing is certain – they are extremely destabilising for the team,” he said. “We are looking for every opportunity to develop the team’s performance as quickly as possible.”

Briatore joined Famin and Renault CEO de Meo, meanwhile, in ruling out a team sale.

“100 percent not,” Briatore said in Barcelona.

One of Briatore’s tasks will be to advise on the 2025 driver lineup, with Gasly likely to keep his seat.

As for the other seat, former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher is hoping Briatore’s old relationship with Michael Schumacher might give young Mick’s chances of a race return a boost.

“Flavio wants to see performance first,” Ralf told Auto Bild. “That is crucial. But it is certainly not a disadvantage that there are still good contacts with the family.”

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