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F1 super-cheat Briatore returns with Alpine

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Flavio Briatore has made a return to the Formula 1 paddock as the sport’s super-cheat has been appointed as executive advisor at Alpine.

The beleaguered F1 squad made the announced on Friday of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, confirming the appointment of Briatore was the decision of Renault CEO Luca De Meo.

A short statement from the team said: “BWT Alpine F1 Team can confirm that Flavio Briatore has been appointed by Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo as his Executive Advisor for the Formula One Division.

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“Briatore will predominantly focus on top level areas of the team including: scouting top talents and providing insights on the driver market, challenging the existing project by assessing the current structure and advising on some strategic matters within the sport,” the statement explained.

Briatore was banned from F1 for life after being found responsible for what is now known as the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix crash gate, where he instructed his then driver Nelson Piquet Jr. to crash, bringing out a Safety Car from which the team’s other driver Fernando Alonso benefitted and won the race.

Piquet Jr was fired from the team in 2009 and went on to reveal what went down in Singapore in 2008, which meant Briatore was banned as well as the team’s tech boss at the time, Pat Symonds who received a five-year ban.

However, the Italian managed to overturn the life ban in a French court back in 2010, and while he was never back in the F1 paddock in an official function, he remained connected behind the scenes, primarily as part of Alonso’s management team.

The announcement comes amid turbulent times at Alpine with speculation regarding every aspect of the team who seem to have lost their direction for the past few years failing to recover.

There were rumors that team was up for sale, something De Meo staunchly denied, while reports also emerged claiming Alpine were shopping around for a new power unit supplier in 2026 with Renault power being ditched.

So Briatore now returns to the team he previously ran under the Benetton and Renault monikers, where he was highly successful. Benetton won the F1 Constructors’ Championship in 1995 with Michael Schumacher winning the Drivers’ Title. Schumacher won his maiden F1 Title with Benetton in 1994. He moved to Ferrari in 1996.

When the team was Renault, Alonso won two consecutive Title in 2005 and 2006 ending the streak Schumacher and Ferrari started in 2000. Renault also claimed the Constructors’ Titles in those two years.

Briatore will reportedly answer directly to De Meo in his new role and will probably be advising him on the way forward with the team and the evaluation of Renault’s F1 power unit operation.