Briatore tips return to podium for Alonso

Flavio Briatore said he hopes Fernando Alonso can "return to the podium" in 2018.

As Alonso's management impresario, the former Renault boss was among those who helped broker the Spaniard's ill-fated move to McLaren-Honda.

Now, McLaren is dumping Honda and Briatore backs Alonso's decision to stay with the British team for a fourth consecutive year and its new customer Renault engine era.

"Fernando's extra time at McLaren is testament to his great loyalty to the team," the Italian told France's Auto Hebdo.

"Fernando never expected to encounter so many reliability problems with the Honda engine. For three years, the team also suffered from a lack of performance, but Fernando has decided to stay.

"He knows the Renault people very well and what to expect from the engine. I hope he can return to the podium this year," Briatore said.

(GMM)

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