Flavio Briatore has denied that he is to step down from his position as Renault F1 managing director within the next two years – and insisted that, despite speculation to the contrary, Renault is not
the team most in danger of following Honda's lead in making a rapid exit from the top flight.
It was reported last month that Briatore would relinquish his role at the end of the 2010 Formula 1 campaign [see separate story – click here
], and with repeated question marks over his health in recent years, few were genuinely surprised by the revelation.
Not only has the Italian now claimed that he never made any such assertion, however, but he is adamant that he intends to remain a key part of the top flight over the coming years, as the sport attempts to manage the current economic 'crisis' and come out of it the other side even stronger.
“My plan is – well I don't know really – but I never said that to the Italian newspapers,” Briatore is quoted as having told The Sun
on suggestions that he would stop 'in two years'. “We are living in a very crucial moment in F1. I believe with this crisis we have something that makes everybody tick, and what I want is to make sure we give F1 the possibility to survive this crisis – and to change the business.
“I think that we have a responsibility to the people working for us to give them a future. We have never had a moment like this in history, and I want to be part of this change in F1. This is what I want to do, whatever it takes. It is a unique opportunity. After that we will see.”
Moreover, the 58-year-old is confident that with the sport's commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone, FIA President Max Mosley and the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) all whole-heartedly committed to the goal of significantly cutting costs in the uppermost echelon, F1's future can be saved – and he claimed that if anyone is in danger of joining Honda on the grand prix scrap heap, it is not Renault.
At the launch of the Régie's
new 2009 R29 challenger in Portugal earlier this week, the French concern's president Bernard Rey insisted that the manufacturer is fully behind the F1 cause – despite falling car sales as a result of the global credit crunch and an overall CEO in the shape of Carlos Ghosn who has no real interest in the sport.
“We as a team work very well together with FOTA, Max and Bernie,” Briatore explained. “We have been talking about costs, and finally we are there and finally we are trying to structure F1 in a different way. I want to be a part of that. I hope it doesn't take ten years, but I hope as well that we all live up to our responsibilities and do the best possible.
“It is funny, because everybody was talking about Renault and in the meantime Honda stopped. I have never had any problems with the budget – I just don't want to spend money unnecessarily, it's as simple as that. Whatever money I need for the budget, I never had a problem.