He also rubbished rumours that he is to return to the F1 paddock with 2011 tyre-supplier Pirelli as 'bullsh*t' – 'Who cares about tyres?' he quips with characteristic irreverence – and when asked if he is evaluating a comeback to life in the fast lane, the 60-year-old is unequivocal in his response.
“Hardly,” he fires back. “I have won seven titles with different teams. I want to have fun with what I'm doing – that is my motivation, not the need for a job. At the moment I am happy with what I am doing – being a dad, husband and taking care of my investments. I enjoy all of it. It's very satisfying being a dad. I am more relaxed than ever before in my life – life can be so beautiful.
“At the moment I wouldn't have fun in F1. I do like to remember that time – F1 was a big part of my life and some people have grown dear to me – but now I watch the races like every normal spectator, when I'm at a track, but mostly I watch on TV. Races are always spectacular when something extraordinary happens – for example, when it starts to rain. Then things take off. If the 'extraordinary' is missing, then it's mostly a holding position from the start to the chequered flag.
“Very often, people in the paddock seem to forget that it's only the fight of the drivers for positions that draws the crowds – not the work of the engineers. That doesn't knock anybody's socks off. Fans are not interested in the fact that it takes 600 people and $200 million to get a reasonable car on the grid. They want to see their heroes fighting each other. What people want to hear about are stories about the drivers, stories about Ferrari. That is what people want.”
Briatore also has outspoken opinions on two of the hottest topics of the campaign – the Hockenheim team orders furore, and Schumacher's distinctly underwhelming return to active competition at the highest level with Mercedes Grand Prix. Here is what he had to say...
“Honestly, this team order regulation is completely crack-brained,” he mused. “This rule was implemented because of what Ferrari did in Austria in 2002 – and that was a completely insane action back then, because Michael in effect had already won the title. What happened at Hockenheim was something completely different – Fernando can become champion, [Felipe] Massa cannot, so it's logical to make sure that Fernando gets the maximum points possible in a race because he is the spearhead of Ferrari. Everybody would have done the same in this situation. On top of that whole discussion, this rule cannot be controlled if it's cleverly bypassed. A rule that cannot be controlled shouldn't exist.
“[Regarding Schumacher's return], I stick to what I said. I think when he signed the contract. he honestly believed that it was the right decision – the same way I think he already knew it was a mistake at the first serious test. Then he awoke to the fact of how alarmingly fast these youngsters are today. At 41, you simply cannot keep up with [Nico] Rosberg and all the other guys...”