Fernando Alonso is mentally prepared to make a sensational Formula 1 comeback with his old team Renault, according to his former boss Flavio Briatore.
Briatore, who combined with Alonso to win consecutive constructor’s and driver’s titles in 2005 and 2006 at the Enstone outfit, believes he is in the right frame of mind to compete in F1 once again.
“Fernando is motivated, a year out of F1 has done him well,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport. “He has detoxified, I see him more serene and he is ready to return.
“We hope he can make his return, but we have to wait for the development of the coronavirus. I think they made the right decision to quit, but now we really have to start again.”
First meeting Alonso as a teenager, Briatore has been a long-time supporter of the Spaniard, and has continued to talk him up even though he is now in his second year removed from the sport.
Likewise, Alonso has refused to shut the door on a return to F1, although he has maintained he would not content himself with a noncompetitive drive.
Fifth in the 2019 standings, it remains to be seen whether Renault can transform into a contender, but even before that any partnership could be scuppered by the French company’s reported financial difficulties.
Per Auto Hebdo, Renault is trying to secure a €5 billion loan from the French government, which could be an indication the company might not be able to afford an F1 program much longer, let alone a high-profile driver.
Nevertheless, Briatore remains confident his former charge will return to the grid, but does not share the same optimism for his one-time rival Sebastian Vettel.
“I don’t know [about Vettel]. I was a little surprised at the timing of Ferrari’s decision, there is still 2020 to race and here we are already talking about 2021.
“I don’t think he will go to the Mercedes, it’s the same as Ferrari. They’ve got Hamilton who’s in great company with Bottas, would it make sense to change?”
Pressed on the possibility of Vettel stealing the Renault seat from Alonso, Briatore indicated he was unconcerned.
“It’s early: let’s see how this world goes,” he said.