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Flavio Briatore linked to potential Formula 1 comeback with Alpine

Flavio Briatore, the controversial and charismatic figure in Formula 1, might be on the verge of making a sensational return to the sport with Alpine.

The Italian, known for his flamboyant personality and contentious history, was infamously banned from F1 following the 2008 "Crashgate" scandal. This incident saw Renault driver Nelson Piquet Jr. deliberately crash during the Singapore Grand Prix to help his teammate Fernando Alonso secure a victory.

Despite the lifetime ban, Briatore's penalty was later overturned, and he has remained a familiar face in the F1 paddock. His impressive track record includes leading the Benetton team to success in the mid-1990s, helping Michael Schumacher win back-to-back Drivers' Championships in 1994 and 1995, as well as the Constructors' Championship in 1995.

According to reports from the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Renault's CEO Luca de Meo has extended an invitation to Briatore to join Alpine in an advisory capacity. This role is expected to focus on strategic input rather than direct involvement in trackside operations.

It is reported that Briatore has accepted the offer, signalling a potential new era for Alpine as they seek to overcome recent challenges.

A team spokesperson responded to the speculation, stating, "As a team, we are in frequent contact with a number of industry experts in pursuit of improving overall performance. We consider all relevant inputs and, when appropriate, seek advice from people with experience and previous success. We cannot comment on any individual matters."

Alpine has experienced significant turbulence over the past year, with several high-profile departures. CEO Laurent Rossi, team principal Otmar Szafnauer, sporting director Alan Permane, technical director Matt Harman, and head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer have all exited the team.

The 2024 A524 car has struggled with weight issues, although recent improvements have been made. The team have managed to score points in two of the last three races, with Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly both securing 10th place finishes in Miami and Monaco respectively.

To bolster their technical team, Alpine recently welcomed David Sanchez, a highly-regarded engineer who departed McLaren. This move is part of Alpine's broader strategy to enhance their competitiveness and performance on the grid.

As the F1 calendar progresses, the next race is the Canadian Grand Prix, scheduled for the weekend of June 7-9. This race will take place at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, spanning 70 laps of the 4.361-kilometre track. It will be interesting to see if Alpine can continue their upward trajectory and how Briatore's potential involvement might influence the team's fortunes.

This potential return of Briatore marks an intriguing development in Formula 1, promising to add another layer of excitement and speculation as the season unfolds.

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