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Friday, March 28, 2008

Flavio Briatore still loves F1, but not after Bernie's job

Flavio Briatore insists he is looking neither to the future nor the past in 2008, and claims he has ‘done his time' with teams in the sport, suggesting once he leaves Renault, it will be to leave Formula 1 for good.

The flamboyant Italian has been a near-permanent fixture in the top flight since he was brought in by Luciano Benetton in 1988 as commercial director and shortly afterwards managing director of Benetton's grand prix outfit. Since then he has presided over seven world championship successes (four drivers' crowns and three constructors') and no fewer than 44 race victories, though the past two campaigns have been rather less sparkling.

“We are at the beginning of a new season, so why focus on the past?” Briatore stressed in an interview with the official Formula 1 website. “We will have to wait and see how it will be in the next couple of races.”

As to his future within the sport – something that has been the subject of much discussion in recent months, with some suggesting a deterioration in the 57-year-old's health following a minor scare last year – he was equally categorical.

“Formula 1 takes 90 per cent of my time,” he explained, when asked about his role at London football club Queens Park Rangers. “(Owning a team) was never an option. I have done F1 teams in the past with Ligier, with Minardi, with Benetton and now with Renault. I am not looking for another challenge in F1. I have done my time with teams.

“I don't waste a thought on it [the future] now. I want to see how the season unfolds. I am not looking for a new job – I am happy with the one that I have. The fire of enthusiasm for Formula 1 is still burning – sometimes stronger, sometimes on a half flame, but always burning.”

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