Sep.17 (GMM) Rumours linking Flavio Briatore with Ferrari have shifted into a higher gear.
In July, it emerged that the disgraced, ousted and banned former Renault boss had visited the famous Italian team's Maranello headquarters.The visit unleashed a flood of rumours, including talk of a possible consultancy role with Ferrari.Now, according to the major German daily Die Welt, 60-year-old Italian Briatore has visited Ferrari no fewer than two more times in recent weeks.Additionally, Briatore was in the Monza paddock last weekend, as was Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, and Fiat chiefs John Elkann and Sergio Marchionne.Briatore was also seen inside the Ferrari pits.Welt reports that the charismatic Italian is endeavouring to have his FIA ban reduced so that he can return to a direct operational role in F1 before 2013.If successful, he could replace Stefano Domenicali as Ferrari's team boss, the newspaper said.Briatore was asked about his Monza visit by German television Sky."I am meeting with Bernie (Ecclestone) and then flying back to London," he answered at the Italian circuit before the race."It's fantastic to be back, to see friends and to be in Italy," added Briatore. "Ferrari are on pole and everyone is happy. Just wonderful."Briatore, who is Fernando Alonso's manager and former team boss at Renault, played down suggestions he is itching to return to F1."I'm feeling very good and I'm happy with the way things are," said Briatore.To Italy's Sky Sport 24, he indicated that a return to formula one in a commercial role is more likely."We will see what happens in the future," said Briatore. "Next week I will not be in Singapore; I am also perfectly happy at home."