2016 will show if Ferrari on rise – Briatore

May 24 (GMM) 2016 will be the true test of the ‘new’ Ferrari.

That is the view of Flavio Briatore, the former Renault team chief who in recent days and months has been defending Fernando Alonso’s decision to leave Maranello.

Briatore and Alonso are still united in the area of management, and so the flamboyant Italian has been tackling those who say the Spanish driver was clearly wrong to join McLaren-Honda.

“Last year (in Monaco qualifying),” the 65-year-old told Sky Italia, “Alonso was fifth with a gap of seventh tenths.

“This year, Vettel is also seven tenths behind (pole), the only difference is that there are no other rivals now while Mercedes still dominates.”

Briatore said Sunday’s Monaco grid does not bode well for an exciting race.

“We can only hope that the two (Mercedes) drivers will battle each other, or else it will be boring,” he said.

As for claims Ferrari has been a resurgent force ever since the Alonso-spearheaded, Stefano Domenicali and Luca di Montezemolo-led era ended, Briatore says that is wrong.

“This (team in 2015) is still the Ferrari of Montezemolo and Domenicali,” he declared.

“What the new management has done we will only see next year.” And as for Alonso jumping ship and joining McLaren, “Only the future will tell us who was right,” Briatore insisted.

Finally, he played down the likelihood of a return to F1 any time soon.

“I have a small child and so I dedicate my time to the family now,” said Briatore.

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