Credit to Flavio Briatore for being super tenacious, the ‘retired’ Formula 1 team chief as well as mentor, manager and confidante of Fernando Alonso remains adamant that the Spaniard would be lured back to the pinnacle of the sport if Mercedes or Ferrari came calling.
Although Alonso has turned his back on Formula 1, no longer able to stomach another year of struggles with McLaren, the two times World Champion remains one of the most respected drivers in the business, his loss lamented by rivals and fans alike.
But Briatore, ever the optimist, told Motorlat that there is still a chance that Alonso can be tempted back to the top flight at some point, “If Mercedes or Ferrari knock on Fernando’s door, he will undoubtedly return.”
“For now he needs a rest. I think that after so many years, he needs a little break, many have done it, Prost, Senna… he will take a sabbatical but I am not so sure he will not return again.”
However, Briatore believes Alonso will only return if he has a chance of challenging for victories and ultimately the title, “There are only two teams: Mercedes or Ferrari, there are no other solutions. The other options are finishing fourth, fifth or sixth.”
“I think with the talent he has, put him in the right car and he could be one of the strongest drivers, up there with [Lewis] Hamilton.”
“Someday teams will realise that to win the [F1] constructors’ championship they need to have two strong drivers in the team. So, we will see what happens in a few months or a year.”
“Formula 1 without Alonso is like Real Madrid without Cristiano, he is one of the few recognisable stars. If you remove the overalls from the current guys I only recognize Lewis, Vettel, Raikkonen and that’s it.”
“Alonso needs a period to relax, he had three very frustrating years in which he behaved impeccably, the performance of the McLaren was ridiculous and yet he still fought for positions where he had no place being with that car,” Briatore pointed out in closing.
For now, Alonso is expected to focus on the remaining three WEC races of the 2018/2019 SuperSeason and attempting to complete the final piece of the rare Triple Crown of Motorsport by winning next year’s Indy 500 with McLaren.
Big Question: Would Ferrari or Mercedes call Fernando in the future?