Ex-team principal banned after ‘Crashgate Scandal’ set to return to Formula 1

Flavio Briatore was banned from Formula 1 for four years in 2009 after his involvement in the "crashgate" scandal in 2008.

Former Renault team principal Flavio Briatore is expected to make a return to Formula 1 this year in a commercial capacity.

The Italian left F1 part-way through the 2009 season after he was initially banned for life following the “Crashgate Scandal”, in which Nelson Piquet Jr was instructed to collide with the barrier on purpose at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, extracting a Safety Car that would help team-mate Fernando Alonso win the race.

Pat Symonds, who knew about the idea but failed to intervene, was banned for five years, and Briatore’s ban was reduced significantly, ending in 2013.

He was initially anticipated at the end of last year to be making a return to the team with whom he disgraced his name and soiled his reputation, now known as Alpine, and this would have been in a consultancy position.

“A return for Briatore is very difficult, but in F1, these very difficult things can come true. I’ve seen it many times,” said a source

“If he (Briatore) comes back, it would be in that role – not as a boss or in team management, but as a consultant.”

Now, however, it appears as though the 71-year-old, who has previously worked with world champions Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button among other big names, will be working for F1 to help grow relationships with prospective promoters and sponsors.

“In his capacity as a long-serving ambassador to Formula 1, Flavio Briatore will continue to support us in building our relationships with existing and potential promoters and partners and developing commercial and entertainment partnerships so we can continue to grow this incredible sport,” an F1 spokesperson told De Telegraaf.

This would be Briatore’s first involvement in F1 since his time at Renault came to an end in 2009, and he has since been an advocate for the provision of better entertainment in F1.

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