If you were looking at fixing Formula 1’s reputation and overall package, why not get the effusive and enigmatic Italian and former team boss Flavio Briatore? That’s what F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone told team in Hungary last week.
It seems that Ecclestone thought that having Flavio back in F1 working in a special group focused on improving F1 might be a good idea. According to AUTOSPORT, he later recanted in the German press.
Regardless, Mercedes whip-cracker, Niki Lauda (An elderly F1 fan), says the sport needs Briatore like it needs another DRS-ish system.
“Why do we need Flavio?” said Lauda. “Bernie is the man in charge, and he should stay in charge.
“I think we should think together with Bernie, as he is the master of what we can improve.”
He’s right, of course, the sport is ran by many smart people who have many smart ideas on how best to improve the racing program but all of those people have personal interests and this is where it have been good to have Ecclestone or even a removed party such as Briatore to make a decision that all teams must live by.
Many years ago, when the team were threatening to leave the sport under the banner of FOTA (Formula One Teams Association), Ecclestone said something that has always remained true. He said that the teams could never agree with each other no matter what they tired to do because of the differing self-interests each team has. I’m paraphrasing here as Ecclestone said it much more succinctly and with a measure of bravado.
In the end, he’s proven to be right and the only person in recent memory who has gotten all the teams together on one goal is Ecclestone himself. He’s used divide and conquer as well as unification tactics when the sport needed it.
For Niki, the sport needs tweaks, not big Flavio-style panache. Lauda suggested the recent rein-pulling on race stewards has paid dividends:
“I have to say the change that we had with the stewards, to not get involved as much as before, was a great move,” said Lauda.
“Even the Sauber in the middle of the road [in Hockenheim] was exciting. If there was a safety car, everyone would have got bored.
“So Hockenheim was an improvement, and in Hungary there was no investigation as there were a lot of things that could have been looked at. It is going in the right direction.”
If Flavio would bring too much “spice” to the show, is Niki not thinking of enough to get F1 back on the radar? Maybe it’s a combination of both but to be honest, Flavio might be an interesting character to have in the meetings for levity alone. No one can wear a mankini and get away with it like Flavio and that is worth a seat at the table alone.