Bernie Ecclestone, the F1 kingpin emeritus, might be out of the official Formula 1 game, but his influence remains potent as does his nose for a good deal.

So, when Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo reached out to Ecclestone for advice on how to right the Alpine ship, the 93-year-old former F1 supremo knew just the “bandit” for the job.

Flavio Briatore, a name synonymous with controversy and success in F1 and a man who has never shied away from disrupting the established order, was the perfect candidate.

With a reputation for shaking things up and delivering results, the flamboyant Italian’s return to the fray as Alpine’s executive advisor was seen as a bold move.

“I spoke to Renault boss Luca de Meo on the phone for a long time,” Ecclestone told Blick. “He was desperate.

“Then the word Briatore came up. We quickly agreed that in such a confusing situation only a doer, a bandit among angels, could help. And there are enough saints in the grand prix circus.”

For de Meo, Ecclestone’s endorsement was more than just a suggestion; it was a call to arms, a challenge to reclaim the glory days of Renault.

“Flavio’s great strength has always been: ‘Keep the discussions short, do and think big!’” added Ecclestone. “You don’t need friends in Formula 1, you just need success.”

Briatore’s return to Enstone signals a new chapter for Alpine. Known for his risk-taking and unorthodox methods, Briatore is poised to inject a fresh wave of energy into the team.

Just days after his appointment as executive advisor, with ‘carte blanche’ from De Meo to change whatever he sees fit, the Italian made two concrete moves.

He tabled a late bid for Carlos Sainz’s services and recommended that Alpine abandon its 2026 F1 engine program to become a customer team, possibly with Mercedes as its power unit supplier.

As Alpine gears up for the future, the paddock buzzes with anticipation, eager to see if this “bandit among angels” can lead the French squad to glory once more.

If so, de Meo will have one valuable consultant to thank: one Bernard Charles Ecclestone.

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