Briatore effect on GP2
September 23, 2009 19 Comments
The recent suspension of Flavio Briatore for an “unlimited period” is causing doubts and confusion regarding its impact on GP2.
Currently, the FIA ruling bans Briatore from any FIA-sanctioned event, threatening also to not sanction any event in which Briatore is involved or grant licenses to teams, entities or drivers engaged with him.
The first interpretation of this ruling is easy: Briatore is out of F1 for an unlimited period, though not necessarily a lifetime ban.
After that, we need to get past all the legal crap and get to the point.
- Basically, if Briatore launches a racing series it will not be sanctioned by the FIA.
- If a driver is represented by Flavio, their FIA license will be revoked or not renewed for next season. Currently, and if I’m not mistaken, this affects Alonso, Webber, Kovalainen and Grosjean in F1 – plus surely many drivers in other categories
- If a team is legally “engaged” with Briatore, it will not be able to participate in FIA sanctioned events. I’m not clear on the extent of this “engagement”, but surely if Briatore is a shareholder in a team it will be banned. For GP2, the question is if Flavio actually has shares in Barwa Addax or Ocean Racing – the 2 teams that come to mind that could be involved with him.
- The final point is related to the word “entity”. GP2 is an entity, owned by private equity group CVC, though I do not know in what percentage. Whether Briatore or Ecclestone also own a share, even the smallest share in GP2 Motorsports Limited, I have no idea. Point is, though, if Briatore does own even a share, the entitiy (GP2) will not race under the FIA flag anymore.
- Whether this affects his business partners, mainly Bruno Michel, I cannot infer that from the FIA ruling. It seems anti-natural that Michel is able to stay as the GP2 head given his close and incontestable ties to Flavio. Apart from the ethics, I have no information to conclude that he has to leave.
- Another “entity” is Mecachrome, and whether Briatore is a shareholder. I believe he is, though it is just speculation from my part. If so, legally Mecachrome cannot continue to supply engines to GP2. The only alternative would be for Flavio to sell his stake – if he has one.
My personal opinion and prediction for GP2:
- Dallara will continue to supply the chassis.
- Mecachrome will continue to supply the engines – until the next generation of GP2 cars are launched. At this point, a new engine supplier will be introduced, if not due to Flavio, due to the declining quality and reliability of these engines. As discussed in previous posts, an F1-link such as Mercedes-Benz or Ferrari would be a good option.
- Bruno Michel will step down as GP2 boss, arguably in favor of Marco Codello – always with co-GP2 organizer Laurence Eckle at his side.
Bottom line, the category will live on, past characters such as Briatore and Michel.