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Flavio Briatore vs. Ron Dennis: Tracks of an Enemy

The Italian playboy and the English company leader: In Formula 1 of the 1990s, the paths of Flavio Briatore and Ron Dennis crossed. A good 20-year later Briatore explains in the podcast Beyond Victory”by Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg:”I got along with everyone in Formula One in my 25 years. But not with one: Ron Dennis.”

That’s not surprising, after all, the similarities between Briatore and Dennis may have kept to manageable limits. The characters are too different for that. Briatore didn’t know how to start with Dennis, as he says today: “I really couldn’t stand standing next to him. That was the feeling I had.”

Briatore and Dennis, it just didn’t fit together.” It was impossible for me to have a conversation with him,”explains Briatore.”I’m sorry. He gave me the impression from the beginning that I had no idea of anything, but he knows everything.”

One stings back

How many of these animations go back to the end of the season 2005 is not known. But: Immediately after Fernando Alonso’s first World Cup title win with Renault under team leader Briatore, Dennis made the upcoming change of Spanish racing driver to McLaren public for the season 2007, thus over a year in advance. That was not very nice,”even the long-time Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone found at the time. He pissed off Flavio. Ron is Briatore’s worst enemy.”

And of course Briatore’s return coach followed: A few years after the construction of the futuristic plant, Briatore branded Dennis’megaproject, the McLaren Technology Center, as”irrelevant”and said,”The bigger the factory, the less efficient it works. You probably need a taxi to get from one end to the other.”These statements again called Dennis on the plan, which fired verbal poison darts at Briatore:”Everyone can say what they want. But his comments are not based on facts.”

Another episode of these tricks, this time from the year 2006, depicts Briatore in the Rosberg podcast. In it he says: “After our World Cup title win we had a press conference in China. Ron Dennis and I talked to [potential sponsors] and [sponsors] representatives about this and that. He told everyone that his team was number one, the best wide and wide. When it was my turn, I said, “Just for the record, but the Lord was behind us.” His team had become third this year. And he didn’t like that at all.”

Briator’s unusual negotiating strategy

Briatore Dennis’aversion to himself probably provoked some early in his Formula One career. At the beginning of the 1990s, we [for many] were just a T-shirt manufacturer. Nobody thought we meant it,”Briatore says today. Indeed, he himself had contributed a great deal to this image, for example in driver negotiations, as he now admits. He even once made a fuss about the long-time McLaren pilot Ayrton Senna, who was driving for Dennis.

“I called Ayrton and said:’Maybe I have a sponsor who could pay you a certain amount.’Briatore bluffed, but Senna didn’t go for it anyway.” He just said, “Impossible. No matter how much money you offer me, I’m not going for Benetton.’And that’s all that remained. Did Dennis Wind get that “offer”? It’s possible. And if so, it was obviously not the only thing he resented Briatore…