Flavio Briatore has quipped that trying to get the movers-and-shakers in the world of F1 to cut down on spending is about as futile an exercise as 'sending an alcoholic to rehab in a bar' – as rumours about a possible future in scarlet for the disgraced 'Singapore-gate' protagonist continue to spread.
Briatore has long been an advocate of the need to reduce expenditure in the top flight, but the Italian fears it will ultimately be impossible to convince the key players in the world's most glamorous and expensive sport that when it comes to money, less can in fact be more.
“You'd have to throw 100 people out of the paddock,” he joked, insisting that F1 needs to be serious about its desire to rein in spending if it is to survive long-term in a more austere financial age. “With today's decision-makers, this is not possible. You can't teach them how to save because they never have. It's like sending an alcoholic to rehab in a bar.”
Briatore has been repeatedly linked with a position alongside Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive Bernie Ecclestone on the commercial side of affairs once his FIA-imposed race-fixing ban expires in 2013, but off the back of a visit to Ferrari's Maranello headquarters in July and two more such trips over the past fortnight, rather wilder speculation has also placed him at the Prancing Horse in the not-too-distant future, either in some kind of consultancy role or even as a replacement for current team principal Stefano Domenicali, who himself took over from Jean Todt in 2008.
Briatore spent some time in the Ferrari pit garage over the Italian Grand Prix weekend at Monza, in company with the Scuderia's
president Luca di Montezemolo, and John Elkann and Sergio Marchionne from parent company FIAT. German newspaper Die Welt
reports that the 60-year-old – who still manages Fernando Alonso – is endeavouring to get his paddock ban reduced.
“It's fantastic to be back, to see friends and to be in Italy,” he told German and Italian channels of Sky TV
at the race, revealing that he had a meeting scheduled with Ecclestone before heading back to London. “I'm feeling very good and I'm happy with the way things are. We will see what happens in the future. I will not be in Singapore; I am also perfectly happy at home.”
Meanwhile, during an appearance on Austrian television show Servus
, Briatore reflected on Michael Schumacher's arguably ill-fated return to F1 competition this year, having run the German legend at Benetton from 1991 to 1995 and helped to guide him to the first two of his record-breaking seven world championship crowns.
“The comeback was wrong,” he mused. “His car is not the best, but he isn't competitive. [Team-mate Nico] Rosberg is usually better. Sometimes I just feel sorry for him.”