[Updated] On the theme of television, former F1 team boss Flavio Briatore is the central character in the Italian version of “The Apprentice” – a reality series which has been a hit in the UK with entrepreneur Alan Sugar.
The Italian series begins tonight (18th September) at 9pm on Cielo channel in Italy. Briatore will mentor around 14 young go-getters who want to get ahead in business. The idea is that each week he sets them a business task and then fires the one who performs the worst until he is left with the winner, who will become his Apprentice for a year.
Briatore, who rose to prominence with the Benetton group, came into F1 in 1989 and oversaw F1 world championships with Michael Schumacher (1994/5) and Fernando Alonso (2005/6).
He is still serving a ban from motor sport for his part in the Crashgate scandal which rocked F1 in 2009, when Nelson Piquet Junior admitted deliberately crashing his car in a hard to reach place during the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix of 2008, causing a safety car deployment which worked in the favour of his then Renault team mate Alonso. Alonso won the race.
The ensuing scandal led indirectly to Renault withdrawing from the sport as a works team as well as a ban for Briatore and Pat Symonds, the director of engineering.
Those bans will expire at the end of the 2012 season.