Flavio Briatore is set to return to Formula 1 as the head of a new popularity working group with the task of ‘improving the show’ in the sport.
Following a fall in the global TV audience of 50m and low attendances for some of the grands prix this season, there has been a focus on improving the racing in Formula 1 and making it more appealing to fans.
In an attempt to keep the world championship alive, a double points round has been introduced at the end of the year in Abu Dhabi, and standing restarts after a safety car period will become commonplace in 2015.
According to reports in the Hungarian Grand Prix paddock, former Renault team principal Flavio Briatore has been asked to head up a popularity working group that will come up with other ideas. Introducing a success ballast is reportedly one option that has already been proposed, penalizing the winners with a heavier car for the next race.
Briatore left Formula 1 in 2009 after he was found to have played an instrumental part in Renault’s fixing of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. Nelson Piquet Jr. was told to deliberately crash his car to allow teammate Fernando Alonso to jump ahead of the field under the safety car, with the Spaniard eventually winning the race from 15th place on the grid.
However, it now appears that he has a way back into the sport with this role. It will be interesting to see what ideas are brought forward, and how his vision for the future of F1 compares with that of the F1 Strategy Group.