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Exclusive interview - Flavio Briatore 23 Mar 2005

Flavio Briatore (ITA) Renault Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd1, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 5 March 2005

Renault boss on why 'less is more' in racing

A decade after he took Michael Schumacher and the Benetton team to their first Grand Prix victory Flavio Briatore looks to be back on the road to championship success.

Winning the first two races of the new season – with Giancarlo Fisichella top of the podium in Melbourne and Fernando Alonso victorious in Malaysia – ‘The Flav’ has obviously retrieved his Midas touch

Q: With a relatively small budget compared to the other big teams how do you explain Renault’s surprising winning streak?
Flavio Briatore:
The key is efficiency - to manage a company the most efficient way, whatever company it is – Formula One is just one example. To use human and financial resources in such a way that it produces the best possible result.

Q: That is easily said. Can you give an example?
FB:
When we started the Friday testing two years ago with the so called ‘poor’ teams the people laughed about us. Now we still do much less testing than the other so called ‘rich’ teams – and now nobody is laughing any more. We worked out a perfect balance between the necessity to test and the need to cut costs. This was a process that took some time but now we are at the point we had identified as our target when we started to set efficiency measures to all our actions.

Q: But that alone cannot explain this steep rise in success. What else is behind it?
FB:
We are doing everything different than the others – and when I say others I naturally mean the paddock elite. We have less people, we test less – we do everything less. We are a racing team and not the empire. Some teams here are run like they were the empire – but this here is about racing, nothing else. It is still a sport – true a sport with a strong entertainment character – but still a sport. My motorhome is five years old – and it is still sufficient. I don’t need a castle in the paddock – all this megalomania displayed is ridiculous.

Q: Formula One racing is said to be dominated by engineers and that’s one of the reasons for the cost explosion. How is this situation handled at Renault?
FB:
Renault is not run by engineers. Period. Technical advancement has to have a good reason and not find the reason in itself – or in the fact that something is feasible. Too many cost-intensive gadgets never saw daylight but burned big holes into the budgets of teams.

Q: You are attributed with a good nose for talent – drivers and technical staff alike. Is this also a factor contributing to Renault’s current success?
FB:
Sure. But this is a development that does not come over night. It is a selection process that at the end brings together a team that can operate under my efficiency concept.

Q: And your Midas touch for picking drivers?
FB
: Yes, I guess in picking drivers I am the best. And I discover the drivers with the least salary.