Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica has reportedly backed Flavio Briatore’s campaign to reunite Renault with Fernando Alonso.
Coinciding with reigning world champion and Spaniard Alonso’s switch to McLaren, the Madrid based company – previously pledging $30m per year to Renault as a major sponsor – left the French team at the end of 2006.
But subsequent to reports that the Enstone based outfit’s team principal Briatore is planning a meeting with Alonso in Turkey later this month, the specialist magazine Auto Motor und Sport says Telefonica might be willing to return to Renault if the disgruntled 26-year-old also comes back.
Triple world champion and commentator Niki Lauda told Bild newspaper that he doubts Briatore would fork out the necessary money to re-hire Alonso — unless a big backer like Telefonica can help.
In addition to Alonso’s current (US) $27m per year salary, Briatore might also have to foot a multi-million bill to buy out Alonso’s McLaren contract.
“Briatore has never been willing to pay bills of that size,” Austrian legend Lauda noted.