Briatore would welcome Alonso return

Though McLaren insists that everything in hunk dory, and that Fernando Alonso will see out the second year of his contract, many, both inside the paddock and outside, believe that the Spaniard's position within the team has become untenable.

Speaking at the weekend, the Spaniard said that he was "happy" at McLaren, providing he has a winning car, however he also admitted that there were precious few other drives available.

Never one to miss an opportunity - or a fast buck - Renault boss Flavio Briatore has said that he would be delighted to welcome back the team's 'prodigal son'.

"I can't deny that I think Fernando is great but he has a contract with someone," The Italian told Spanish publication Marca. "He is very special.

"We had a special relationship at Renault and it was always transparent," he added. "Although he signed for McLaren we continue to be friends.

"Of course I would love to have him in the team," he admitted, "I think everyone would want Fernando because he is exceptional."

Although loathe to go into details regarding his protege's experience at McLaren, when Marca's reporter commented that the Spaniard would have been better off staying with Renault, Briatore was quick to admit: "So do I.

"And you don't have to be Spanish to think that," he added.