Flavio Briatore: Career Wrecker?


World Champion

Well they did have a dickhead principal in Briatore who has shafted a lot of drivers careers - Herbert, Brundle, Wurz, Fisichella, Trulli

Button (nearly), Kovalainen (nearly),

Now that they have new backers it would be interesting to see if they can now stay at the front because i really did not think Genii capital were in it for the long term and would to sell if a suitable buyer came

As for their future only time will tell ? Firstly they had better sort out the engine they want first for next year
The only person who shafted Wurz career was Wurz by simpley not being a good enough F1 driver. There is no argument to that.

Brundle had a long career of being a nearly man long before he got anywhere near Briatore. Herbert was brought into Benneton where he won two Grand Prix after spending years at the back in a failing Lotus before signing a deal with stewart so not quite sure how Flav busted his career (surely you are not suggesting he was a match for Schumacher?).

Kovi he had for exactly one year as a race driver. He brought him in from GP2 to put him in F1 and after a ropey start he eventually pulled off enough results to have a strong enough rep at the end of it to get signed by Mclaren. How was his career destroyed?

Truli I'll give you(although lets face it Jarno contributed big time) and the jury is out on Fisi I think.

Don't get me wrong I'm not Flavs biggest fan just think your seeing things that aren't there. If you'd listed Nelshino, Versteppen, Lehto, Moreno etc I wouldn't have been able to argue too much.

Wurz did beat Fisichella in 98 when Richards was in charge . In 1999 he seemed to struggle and I wonder if its because Flav ran No 1 and No 2 policy for his then golden boy

Brundle - he was the closest challenger to Schumacher and the reason for dropping him was because he was not a good qualifier. His replacement Patrese was nowhere near as good the following season

Herbert - was shafted twice - 1989 Flavio replaced him with Pirro and the results afterwards did not justify it. 1995 - once Schumacher knew he was quick enough to give him problems he played politics with Briatore to undermine Herbert.
He was not told he was dropped - he had to find out on Ceefax that Berger was signed
It is difficult to say if he was going to be a match for Schumacher but he would have taken more points off him

Flavio barely spoke to him or acknowledged him

Kovi I said nearly first of all hardly words of encouragement and the usual the pressure if he did not perform he would be dropped he hardly had time to settle
then Flavio kept him hanging around in the hope of getting Alonso back

Trulli - he got a carpeting for one mistake and his new contract included Flavio wanting a bigger slice of his increased earnings
and when he refused it seemed to drive a wedge permanently

( the same thing happened with Button - basically have an improved contract but sign to Flavio's stable as well)

Fisi - was naturally talented but seemed to always move into the wrong team at the wrong time. He was Flav's golden boy until Alonso came along. He was shafted in 2008 when Flavio desperately wanted Alonso

Lehto - never had a chance after his pre season crash

Verstappen - thrown into the deep end too early

Moreno - unlucky that the car was not good and Schumacher emerged

Nelsinho - I have been his biggest critic because he threw himself into the lion's den but then Flavio was up to his old tricks again by making sure Grosjean is in the paddock every weekend until he could not take it anymore and got his revenge

- I did not think he was cut for F1 because his successes owed to his dad running a team for him
- it was obvious when Alonso was his teammate he was always going to be No 2
Hmmm you have an odd view on things. The Wurz theory is just that, a theory and a pretty mad one at that as he'd never shown anything in his career to suggest he was anything other than exactly what he was and if he was such a talent how come he was not picked up by anyone else?

I struggle even you really believe that Johnny Herbert was ever anywhere near Schumachers pace or even got close enough for Schumie to have to play politics. If you really saw that in the 1995 season I'm not sure what you were watching.

Fisi was poor in 2008 and if you call a team replacing an off pace driver who had just been beaten a rookie with a two times world champion neing shafted then yes I guess it does.

I think you see the evil of Flav in things that aren't always there.

I just don't get what happened with Wurz up to end of 98 he was considered by Richards as a potential race winner and it did not happen for him in 99 when Flavio was in charge

Herbert - a lot of that had to do with Schumacher realising Herbert is fast enough to cost him points and decided to tell Flav to make sure Herbert had no access to telemetry and limited testing. He might not have beaten Schumacher over a season but probably the odd race here and there on his merit if given the chance

I don;t deny Schumacher was the best driver in 95 but probably would not have won by such a comfortable margin and Herbert probably would have at least got 3rd in the championship

Fisi - made the wrong move by the time he returned to Renault - he should have gone to Williams instead. They gave him his crumbs at Renault but that is about all he deserved.

- he had this long contract with Benetton ( Briatore) was being moved around too much I feel because his contract dictated it and not because he really wanted to

- he should have achieved more in F1

I say Flav shafted him because him and Heikki were left right until the last minute to know if they were driving for the team or not and he had to be shoved to Force India as the only option left

The only thing Flav was good for was being a hit with women and managed to knock up Heidi Klum
Il_leone said:
Herbert - a lot of that had to do with Schumacher realising Herbert is fast enough to cost him points and decided to tell Flav to make sure Herbert had no access to telemetry and limited testing. He might not have beaten Schumacher over a season but probably the odd race here and there on his merit if given the chance

I don;t deny Schumacher was the best driver in 95 but probably would not have won by such a comfortable margin and Herbert probably would have at least got 3rd in the championship

Sounds like thats what you've decided if you ask me. Herbert picked up two lucky wins in 95 and did a goid job in a car that was not best in the field but lighting up the times he was not. You got any backing for this Schumacher was scared of Herbert so got Flav to cut him out story ir is it all conjecture? Because from where I was sitting Herbert never looked close to taking points off Schumie.

As for Wurz I'm not sure why you put so much stock in Dave Richards opinion but it looked clear to me that after he had to set his own car up and could no longer jump into Gerhard Bergers Wurz looked distinctly average.
There is a lot of evidence to back up Il_leone 's point of view.

In 1995, Herbert really was shafted by the team as a whole. It is reasonably well known that in the Argentinian Grand Prix (Herbert's second proper Grand Prix for Benetton - he had filled in at the end of 1994, but wasn't really part of the team), that Herbert beat Schumacher in first practice. Up until that point, there had been equality between the two, and telemetry sharing and so on. Immediately, what happened was that information started flowing in one direction only. Furthermore, during the season, Herbert got one testing session... At Silverstone before the British Grand Prix, but on the South circuit! Herbert really wasn't given a chance at Benetton when he was there - and that had a lot to do with Briatore!

I suppose you could just look at the progression... Brazillian Grand Prix; Herbert qualified 4th, 0.5 seconds behind Schumacher. At San Marino, Herbert qualified 8th, 2 seconds behind Schumacher. What changed? Well, the flow of information!

I am glad Briatore was made to look like an absolute fool in signing both Berger and Alesi and finally admitting under Schumacher it was a one man team whereas Berger and Alesi was attempted equal status

the 1996 car was good enough to win a few races but reliability and mistakes cost them

Berger and Alesi only mustered 1 win between them

to further prove it Berger crashed 3 times in the 1995 Benetton during testing citing it was not unforgiveable due to its severe oversteer which is what Herbert had been referring to the car being twitchy all season throughout 1995

Wurz is actually a good driver at setting up cars.. Richards gave him the freedom to race hard and Fisichella and they were good in 1998

In 1999 under Briatore it just seems something was wrong Wurz was struggling whether it was the extra grooved tyres or the change in team focus.. it just did not work
What shafted Brundle was that he had no more than a journeyman's talent.

Herbert was never the same after his big wreck in, as I recall, 1988. He lacked consistency after that, although he could, on rather rare occasions, still show considerable speed.
To be honest I think Berger and Alesi's performance in the Benneton just highlighted how much Schumacher had been driving the wheels of it. It was far from the best car. I don't remember Berger's time there being so bad and I certainly don't remember Wurz being this world beater that got shafted. Apart from a couple of impressive sub performances he never showed much.

As for Berger and Alesi replacing Herbert. I think you'll find at the time they were both higher rated than Herbert and bringing them in to cover Schumacher leaving was seen as a good move.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a Flav fan. Just think your seeing stuff that isn't there. The drivers you listed weren't succesful because they weren't good enough. Simple as that.
Like Christian Horner, Frank Williams, Ron Dennis, Ross Brawn, Jean Todt, Eddie Jordan and nearly every other team principle then?

Drivers have always had to deal with not being the favourite sometimes but if they are good enough they get picked up by someone else suggesting someone like Alex Wurz had his career 'wrecked' by Flavio is a bit daft as I think Wurz was punching above his weight being at Benneton in the first place. As for Herbert, if he was that good, how come Benneton were the only top team to give him a go?

Problem with Herbert he stayed at Lotus too long out of loyalty to Peter Collins and Peter Wright I think

People forget in 1992 he was actually a good match for Hakkinen and in some races trounced him quite convincingly

- he just did not get the breaks he needed he showed the speed but not the results

A good example was after a strong 1993... 1994 turned into a disaster with the Mugen Honda engine

When he did show good form the results did not prove it and the opportunities were gone in top teams later on in his career


In terms of favourites

Flav had a way of simply destroying the No 2 drivers confidence quite publicly... it did not matter if he performed well or not he would not get the praise

I understand Alesi replacing Schumacher but I did not get Berger given his inconsistency in races and he's never looked like a regular race winner or a potential world champion . He was a journeyman at that point of his career. Should add both drivers were beaten by Herbert in 1995 in the championship with Johnny tied with one hand behind his back for most of the season

What did Berger bring to Benetton over Herbert apart from costing more money to hire in the first place like Alan Jones said one weekend Berger challenges for race win and another weekend he's way down in 15th or something


Brundle was the closest teammate to Schumacher in terms of race performance and could actually beat him fair and square in a race despite not being a good qualifier
I think we're forgetting that both Brundle and Herbert were nearly crippled in accidents just as their careers were starting to blossom, and both raced thereafter under the legacy of their injuries. Last month's F1 Racing mag had a "Lunch With Martin Brundle" feature in which MB describes how difficult it was to rotate his ankle sufficiently to operate the pedals effectively. The fact that they were able to compete at all should be testament to their determination as much as their ability.
But Berger out classed Alesi at Ferrari and Benneton and came clse to beating Senna at Mclaren with one arm tied behind his back in 1992. Odd view as Berger was the bigger success at Bennetton. As for the inconsistancy quote the same could be said about Herbert who lets remember was soundly beaten by Barrichello and Irvine in his time too.
That isn't strictly true though. Consistancy wasn't Berger's strongest point. He occasionally had the capacity to surpass himself and he did grab Benetton's sole victory in the 1996-97 period at Hockenheim immediately following the death of his father in a stunning performance, but during their two years at the team Alesi was almost always the faster of the two.

That was Melbourne 1997 I remember there must have been a bust up because Flav blamed Alesi for his startline crash at Szuka for costing team 2nd place in 1996

Rumours suggested Brundle might replace him

Yeah I remember Melbourne when he kept refusing to come in and the board was hung out IN !

What is this man doing ? - James Allen

Next time I see Jean I will shoot him with fake bullets then real ones ? Flav's comment which was a classic

Berger had his moments but it was like a yo yo too often? At Hockenheim he was really brilliant but then why could not he do that more often then?
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