Dakar Rally News: Renault Enlists Flavio Briatore as Special Advisor

    In a surprising move, Renault’s Dakar rally team, Alpine, has reportedly enlisted the services of motorsport veteran Flavio Briatore as a special advisor. The 74-year-old Italian, whose controversial past in Formula 1 is well-documented, has been tapped by Renault CEO Luca De Meo to help steer the squad towards better fortunes.

    “We consider all relevant inputs and, when appropriate, seek advice from people with experience and previous success,” the team issued a statement, stopping short of commenting on any individual matters.

    According to reports from Italian outlet Corriere della Serra and French newspaper L’Equipe, Briatore’s role will focus on bolstering Alpine’s recruitment drive at its Enstone headquarters and engine plant in Viry-Chatillon, rather than a more hands-on involvement in the team’s day-to-day operations.

    Briatore’s potential involvement is sure to raise eyebrows, given his past at the helm of Benetton and Renault, where he oversaw the team’s success with drivers such as Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso. However, his career was marred by the 2008 “Crashgate” scandal, which resulted in a lifetime ban from the sport โ€“ a ban that was later overturned in 2010.

    Alpine Faces Tumultuous Period

    Alpine has faced a tumultuous period in recent months, starting with the removal of brand CEO Laurent Rossi and the departures of team principal Otmar Szafnauer and long-time sporting director Alan Permane. The team has also struggled with technical issues, leading to the exits of technical director Matt Harman and head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer.

    In an effort to turn things around, Alpine has implemented a McLaren-like three-pronged technical structure, appointing David Sanchez from Woking as its overarching tech chief. The team has shown signs of progress in recent weeks, moving up the grid and challenging the likes of Haas and Williams.

    However, Renault Group CEO Luca De Meo is reportedly frustrated with the team’s lack of results and is keen to shake things up further. The potential arrival of the controversial Flavio Briatore could certainly achieve that, but it remains to be seen how the Dakar rally community will react to this high-profile move.

    ๐Ÿ”— Source