Flavio Briatore predicted Fernando Alonso’s unsuccessful McLaren move believing Lewis Hamilton was in Ron Dennis’s “pocket.”
The former Benetton and Renault boss was one of the biggest and most controversial characters in F1 during the 90s and 2000s. However, he also remains one of the most successful, with his inimitable style leading Benetton and Renault to multiple championships.
Not a dream move for Fernando
During the F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast, Briatore discussed the two times world champion’s unsuccessful McLaren saga:
“He went to McLaren and this I was not happy. This was not Schumi to go to Ferrari. This was Fernando to go to McLaren, and for Fernando, McLaren was never in [his] dream.
“Especially I tell him: You have the new guy, and the new guy was Lewis Hamilton. The new guy is in the pocket of Ron Dennis, as you with me! And I promise you, you [will] have the fighting and the guy is protected by Ron Dennis.”
Alonso was aware of the concerns, according to Briatore, but believed that his speed would be enough to overcome any prospective obstacles.
When asked about how Alonso countered his concerns, Briatore replied: “No, no, no. I am quicker. But the point is nobody including Ron Dennis understood how quickly was Lewis Hamilton.
“Because if Ron Dennis understands how quick was Hamilton, he [would] not spend the amount of money he paid Fernando. If I know in my house I have a driver so quick, why do I need another one? And it was a big fight.”
— Wally (@Wally_F1) January 17, 2022
“I just watched”- Briatore on helping Alonso during his McLaren tenure
When Ron Dennis and Alonso’s relationship fell apart in 2007, Briatore says he decided not to intervene.
“Ron Dennis did everything by himself. You don’t need to help him,” he said. “I was just watching and he did everything.
“I just watched. I know what happened. After two races when you see the change of tires was done first by Hamilton and second by Alonso it was enough because I knew Fernando”