Briatore, Jordan, Ecclestone, Mallya… “F1 is a world of sharks!”

Three-time F1 race winner Giancarlo Fisichella has opened up on all of the big characters he encountered during his career, describing the sport as “a world of sharks”.
Briatore, Jordan, Ecclestone, Mallya… “F1 is a world of sharks!”

Fisichella enjoyed a lengthy career in F1, starting with Minardi in 1996 before racing with Jordan, Benetton, Sauber, Renault and Force India.

His best chance with a top team came with Renault alongside Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006.

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At the time, the team was run by Flavio Briatore, with Renault taking the constructors’ championship in those two years.

Reflecting on his time with Briatore, Fisichella admitted he had a good relationship with the Italian despite being the de facto “number two” driver at the team.

“He always got results in everything he did," he told "But he didn't forgive anyone: one mistake and you were out.

"He was and is Fernando's manager... But he loved me. There's always a "number one" and a "number two" driver, but at Renault it was acceptable and I've always gotten along well with Alonso: two hours before the GPs we played scopone together with Briatore.”

Fisichella spent three years at Jordan, winning the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix for them.

Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Force India VJM02, Turkish F1, Istanbul Park, 5th-7th June,
Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Force India VJM02, Turkish F1, Istanbul Park,…

Famously, Fisichella was forced to take legal action against owner Eddie Jordan.

“Because F1 is a world of sharks and Eddie too… gets away with it. It was important to me, but he didn't perform well. I signed for him, but then he told me he had sponsor problems: the contract was changed, however, and I had to sue him to get the money.

Reflecting on his relationship with former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone: “I have a discreet relationship with him, even without a great feeling: it may be that he helped me, but... without knowing it. His best gift? Knowing how to act in the shadows.”

His final F1 team boss (for a full season at least) was Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya.

Mallya’s airline - Kingfisher Airlines - went bankrupt during his time in F1.

“He travelled in a private plane; he had the Indian Empress, a 97-metre yacht; he owned football and cricket teams; he was the producer of Kingfisher beer, a name he also gave to a then bankrupt airline, the first Indian to have ordered the A380," he concluded.

“I know that they took away his passport: yes, he did some damage.”

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