Flavio Briatore has said he is confident that two-time World Champion Fernando Alonso will make a return to Formula 1, given the opportunity by Scuderia Ferrari or Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport.
The Spaniard made the decision to leave the sport at the end of the season, following a succession of poor results achieved by the McLaren F1 Team.
Briatore said that he may follow in the footsteps of greats Aryton Senna and Alain Prost.
“If Mercedes or Ferrari knock on Fernando’s door, he will undoubtedly return. I think that after so many years, he needs a little break, many have done it, Prost, Senna… he will take a sabbatical but I am not so sure he will not return again,” said Briatore, speaking to Motorlat.
Although Briatore is confident of Alonso making a return, it will only happen if he is in a position to win, whether it be races or championships.
“There are only two teams: Mercedes or Ferrari, there are no other solutions. The other options are finishing fourth, fifth or sixth. Someday teams will realise that to win the [F1] Constructors’ Championship they need to have two strong drivers in the team. So, we will see what happens in a few months or a year.”
Briatore argues that Alonso is one the few recognisable people in the sport, alongside Kimi Räikkönen, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.
“Formula 1 without Alonso is like Real Madrid without Cristiano, he is one of the few recognisable stars. If you remove the overalls from the current guys I only recognise Lewis, Vettel, Räikkönen and that’s it.”
The Italian made the point that Alonso needs some time to relax after three difficult seasons which didn’t allow him to demonstrate his capabilities.
“Alonso needs a period of time to relax, he had three very frustrating years in which he behaved impeccably, the performance of the McLaren was ridiculous and yet he still fought for positions where he had no place being with that car.”
He will now turn his focus to the remaining three WEC races of 2018/19 SuperSeason, and try to win the remaining part of the Triple Crown, by winning next year’s Indy 500 racing for McLaren.