Flavio Briatore’s visit to the Monaco paddock earlier this month was reportedly part of a plan for the Italian to return to formula one.
Due to the crashgate scandal, the ousted former Renault boss is currently banned from holding a direct operational role in F1 until 2013, and he has ruled out returning as a team boss.
But Finland’s Turun Sanomat reports that Briatore, 60, held “subtle negotiations” with F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone in Monaco.
The article said 79-year-old Ecclestone is not planning to retire, but does intend to delegate some of his responsibilities and “sees Briatore as a natural successor”.
Turun Sanomat cites British sources as saying Briatore will shortly be responsible for the acquisition of new sponsors with the Ecclestone-led Formula One Management.
The sources said Briton Ecclestone enjoys the negotiations with grand prix hosts, promoters and governments and does not intend to delegate those tasks.
Ecclestone said last month that his personal friend and business partner Briatore could soon “take up a role in the promotion of formula one”.
And at the height of the FOTA/FIA political war last year, when the teams were threatening to set up a rival series, departing president Max Mosley said Briatore “sees himself as the Bernie”.