Flavio Briatore and his team are working feverishly to play down the public spat between Renault and its reigning champion, Fernando Alonso.
Briatore, the Italian boss, was spotted in absorbed conversation with Pat Symonds and Alonso at Suzuka, after the Spanish racer hit out at team members and Giancarlo Fisichella for not supporting his quest for the drivers’ title.
”I told them both, Fisico and Fernando, I want it to be peaceful and quiet (this weekend),” Briatore said.
Reportedly, however, Fisichella’s manager Enrico Zanarini fumed at Briatore after hearing the Alonso tirade on Thursday, while Fisichella himself revealed his ‘surprise’ at the comments.
”Fernando is a nice guy,” he added. ”Maybe he is feeling the pressure.”
Renault’s press officer was also scratching his head at the scene of the Japanese grand prix, and speculated that Alonso’s original comments last week had been ‘misinterpreted’ by those who published them.