Flavio Briatore, who returned to Formula 1 this year, has spoken about his new role in the paddock and what he can bring to the pinnacle of motorsport.
Flavio Briatore, one of the most iconic figures in F1, has made his official return this year. He is in charge of the entertainment reserved for sponsors and guests in the Paddock Club during the Grand Prix weekends, and he owns several luxury restaurants managed by his company “Billionaire Life”.
The Italian was excluded from the world of Formula One following the Crashgate scandal at the Singapore Grand Prix in 2008, when the former Renault team boss instructed his driver Nelson Piquet Jr. to drive his car into a wall to cause a safety car to leave the track in order to help his teammate Fernando Alonso win.
Flavio returns to the F1 circus
Briatore was initially banned indefinitely from F1 before the decision was overturned in 2010, with the businessman declaring that he would not return to the sport. However, 12 years later, the flamboyant 72-year-old Italian is frequently seen on the grid before races as he now has an ambassadorial role in charge of developing F1’s commercial collaborations.
“My contact with Bernie [Ecclestone, former Formula One boss] has never been broken. And neither has Stefano Domenicali [current F1 CEO]. I am a close friend of Stefano and I only came back because of him,” Flavio Briatore told Sport Bild.
“With the takeover of Liberty Media, Formula 1 has changed in recent years – for the better. The races are more exciting thanks to the new cars. But the environment is also different,
“All the entertainment for sponsors and special guests is good, but I want to raise the level with my experience,” the former team boss said of his new role.
Founded in Porto Cervo, Italy, in 1998, his company Billionaire Life quickly established its position in the world of elite entertainment and hospitality with destinations across Europe, the UK, Middle East and Africa. Today, Billionaire Life continues its global expansion with a growing number of iconic brands in capital cities and luxury leisure destinations.
“We have 1,300 employees worldwide. Stefano asked me if I could bring my contacts and professional experience to the new Formula 1. I didn’t hesitate for a second. I’m delighted and happy to be back, I feel at home.”
“I can bring all this experience and my international contacts to F1. It doesn’t matter if it’s negotiations with new sponsors and circuits or a special service for VIP guests. The money doesn’t matter, I do it for Stefano with pleasure.”
“I have put managers in all my businesses and I don’t want to do everything myself anymore. I’ve done this long enough.”
The Italian obviously keeps a close eye on what’s going on in the sport and his preference is of course for Ferrari:
“It was very surprising for everyone, including Ferrari, to see how well the season had started. With such a change from last year, mistakes naturally happen. But they have a very, very good car and are a top team again. We shouldn’t forget that after last year’s bad season.”
One of those (few) lucky scapes in a Pit Lane🙏 https://t.co/LAC7MvlgyQ
— Pedro de la Rosa (@PedrodelaRosa1) September 26, 2022