Fernando Alonso will end his Formula One retirement after just one year, should Ferrari or Mercedes call for him, according to his former team boss Flavio Briatore.
The Spaniard bowed out of F1 at the end of the 2018 season following yet another frustrating and uncompetitive campaign with McLaren as he seeks to reduce his workload and give himself a mental break.
Another reason he decided to turn his back on the sport is because he wants to complete motorsport’s unofficial Triple Crown, with just the Indianapolis 500 remaining.
Alonso said he “needed a break” after the season finale in Abu Dhabi but did admit he was “open” to a potential return.
And Briatore, who was in charge at Renault when Alonso won back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006, believes his former driver would return should he have the chance to be in a competitive car and cited Alain Prost’s example, who took a year off after leaving Ferrari before winning another world title with Williams upon his return.
“If Mercedes or Ferrari knock on Fernando’s door, he will undoubtedly return,” Briatore said.
“For now he needs a rest. I think that after so many years, he needs a little break, many have done it, like Prost … he will take a sabbatical but I am not so sure he will not return again.
“There are only two teams: Mercedes or Ferrari, there are no other solutions. The other options are finishing fourth, fifth or sixth.
“Someday teams will realise that to win the constructors’ championship they need to have two strong drivers in the team. So, we will see what happens in a few months or a year.
“Formula 1 without Alonso is like Real Madrid without Cristiano Ronaldo, he is one of the few recognisable stars. If you remove the overalls from the current guys I only recognise Lewis, Vettel, Raikkonen and that’s it.”