In 1974, while living in Milan and working on the stock exchange, he met Luciano Benetton. By 1982 he was working for Benetton in New York as the business sought to establish itself in America.
When Barnard left Briatore hired Tom Walkinshaw as his technical man. By then the team had added three more wins and had three times champion Nelson Piquet and his Brazilian friend Roberto Moreno driving for them.
Piquet won at Montreal that year, but it was a fortunate win inherited when Nigel Mansell’s Williams failed on the final lap.
Now Walkinshaw and Briatore pulled off the master stroke that would revolutionise the team’s fortunes.
Born on April 12th 1950 in Verzuolo, near Turin in northern Italy, Flavio Briatore eventually found his way into Formula One.
But he did not share the love of the sport his country is famous for – his arrival in F1 came from his business interests.
Nevertheless the man who was dismissed early in his F1 career as a ‘T-shirt salesman’ steered Renault and Benetton to seven world championship titles and hired two of Formula One’s biggest stars, Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher.
His parents were teachers and after leaving his Catholic school Briatore worked as a ski instructor, then later in insurance and property.
Luciano Benetton took him to the Australian Grand Prix at the end of the 1988 season.
The team had taken over Toleman at the end of 1985, won its first race in 1986 with Gerhard Berger, but hadn’t repeated the feat since, and the Benetton company was considering winding up the F1 team. ’ And that is how it happened.” The fact that he had no F1 background did not go unnoticed.