Oct.3 (GMM) Amid strengthening speculation that Fernando Alonso is to stay at Renault next year, the Spaniard stayed behind in Singapore this week for a vacation with his team boss Flavio Briatore.
Briatore, 58, was then due to fly to Paris for the French capital's famous Motor Show, after a meeting with the Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn."We will talk about our plans for 2009, investment. And the new structure of Renault Sport," the Italian is quoted as saying by gazzetta.it.Briatore has announced that he will be backed by a new team director in 2009."I will no longer have a 360-degree role," he said. "I have already identified a director for the daily management of the team, so that I can concentrate on the most important things."He denied that his interests in football, including co-ownership of the London club Queens Park Rangers, are beginning to overtake formula one."What really matters is Renault," Briatore insisted. "My life is here, football is just a wonderful hobby."Briatore's first priority is to convince the team's former double world champion Alonso to stay."Fernando has not presented himself to anyone, I think he is happy to stay," Briatore insisted, "but we will talk about it more at the end of the season."What can we offer him? An innovative car and a shuffling of the cards that plays in our favour."Briatore said Renault's struggles in 2007 and 2008 were caused by the switch from Michelin to Bridgestone tyres. "Then Alonso returned to us and has motivated everybody again," he added."We had to renew our entire aerodynamic area, and then wait for 40 new people to integrate. Now we are ready to start again with the right people; young and capable."In F1, there are cycles," Briatore goes on."In the difficult moments, Carlos Ghosn did not seek to lower the budget, but the sport is not just about money, otherwise Toyota would win every grand prix."He admits that Alonso's win last Sunday was aided by the deployment of the safety car."But it should be noted that, when the safety car went away, our car was the fastest on the track, as we had been on Friday as well," Briatore said.