May 20 (GMM) Fernando Alonso on Tuesday said Renault team principal Flavio Briatore is more a "fatherly figure" to him than a mere boss.
The Spaniard, who won back to back drivers' titles with Briatore in 2005 and 2006, returned to Renault this season after falling out with his McLaren colleagues last year."I owe him so much because he believed in me from when I was 17; he brought me into formula one," the 26-year-old said in an interview with the Italian magazine Grazia."He is not just the boss but almost a fatherly figure to me," Alonso added.In the interview, he also insisted that - despite his grand prix superstar status - he still regards himself as a completely "normal person" away from the track."For me, what matters most is my family and loyalty to friends. But I am not boring -- in my spare time I play a lot of sports; tennis, cycling, skiing. Or I just relax with my family."We are quiet and reserved; like all Asturians," Alonso explained, referring to his home region.He said he struggled to adapt to life as a celebrity a few years ago."The sudden popularity was destabilising for me, but then I realised that is the price of success."Now I have adopted systems that enable me to continue to have a private life, which is what I want. In Switzerland there is a strong sense of respect for privacy," Alonso said.