Briatore, 74, named Alpine adviser

Flavio Briatore
Alpine are eighth of 10 teams in the championship after nine races this season [Getty Images]

Former Renault Formula 1 team boss Flavio Briatore has been appointed executive adviser to the Alpine team.

The move marks the return of the 74-year-old to the team from which he was forced to resign in 2009 in the wake of the controversy over the fixing of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

Briatore has been appointed by Luca de Meo, chief executive officer of Alpine's parent company Renault, to "predominantly focus on top level areas of the team", a statement said.

It added that his roles would include "scouting top talents and providing insights on the driver market, challenging the existing project by assessing the current structure and advising on some strategic matters within the sport".

Briatore's recruitment is the latest development at a team that has been through a period of management turmoil in the past year.

Since July 2023, the former chief executive Laurent Rossi has been dismissed and Alpine have lost a team principal, sporting director, technical director, head of aerodynamics, operations director and engineering consultant.

Alpine have also slipped in competitiveness, falling from fourth to sixth between 2022 and 2023 before starting this year with one of the slowest cars in the field. They lie eighth of 10 teams in the championship after nine races this season.

De Meo is attempting to restructure the team under new principal Bruno Famin, and Alpine have recently hired respected former McLaren and Ferrari engineer David Sanchez as their executive technical director.

Briatore's return to a leading executive role in F1 completes his rehabilitation following the so-called 'crashgate' scandal, when Renault driver Nelson Piquet deliberately crashed in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix on the instructions of his team.

The incident advantaged his team-mate Fernando Alonso, who went on to win the race.

Briatore was banned by governing body the FIA from its events indefinitely after he was found guilty of orchestrating the incident.

He has always denied involvement - and in 2010, France's high court overturned that ban.

Since then, Briatore has retained a peripheral role in F1, primarily through his involvement in the management of Alonso's career.

Famin said: “Flavio is going to bring his experience. He is a 40-year experience guy in F1. He knows how to operate a winning team. He has a good record and a number of world titles and he will bring this fighting spirit to the team."

Asked to comment on the controversial nature of the appointment given Briatore's past, Famin said: "I don’t really mind about the past. I am always looking to the future and how we get better. Flavio can help us. He has a very high level knowledge of F1. He knows a lot of people.”

Before 'crashgate', Briatore had carved a reputation as one of the sport's most effective managers.

Briatore, who was convicted of fraud in Italy in the 1980s, became a successful manager for the fashion brand Benetton in the US, and the company appointed him boss of their F1 team in 1988.

Briatore was instrumental in forging the team's climb to the top of the sport, winning drivers’ titles with Michael Schumacher in 1994 and 1995.

His stewardship was marked with controversy, especially in the 1994 season, when the team’s car was found to have illegal traction control software buried in a concealed menu system. Benetton were not penalised because the FIA could find no proof it had been used.

He was replaced as boss of Benetton in 1997, and from 1998-2000 led the Renault-affiliated Supertec company that supplied engines to F1 teams. He was brought back as managing director and team principal when Renault bought Benetton F1 in 2000.

That began another period of success, culminating in winning the drivers' and constructors' titles with Alonso in 2005 and 2006.