DECEMBER 20, 2005
The complex world of F1 deal-making
Flavio Briatore says that he had nothing to do with Fernando Alonso's deal to join McLaren.
"I was at no time directly or indirectly involved in the conduct of these negotiations," Briatore said. "Fernando made a personal decision that his future lies outside the Renault team when his current contract expires at the end of 2006. He contacted, and negotiated with McLaren at his own instigation."
The statement will no doubt reassure the top management at Renault but it does raise other interesting questions. How long will it be before a Spanish lawyer whispers in Alonso's ear that he should not feel the need to pay his manager a percentage of his salary in the years ahead if his manager had nothing to do (directly or indirectly) with the deal that was negotiated? Given that the sum involved could be as much as $20m - if stories in Germany are to be believed - one has to ask what could happen if it all went to a commercial court and Briatore's statement was quoted to a judge.
Alonso is probably such a nice fellow that he would never embark on such a thing but it might be an idea for him to ask his manager what he would do in similar circumstances.
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