Coinciding with reigning world champion and Spaniard Alonso's switch to McLaren, the Madrid based company - previously pledging $30m per year to Renault as a major sponsor - left the French team at the end of 2006. But subsequent to reports that the Enstone based outfit's team principal Briatore is planning a meeting with Alonso in Turkey later this month, the specialist magazine Auto Motor und Sport says Telefonica might be willing to return to Renault if the disgruntled 26-year-old also comes back.
Triple world champion and commentator Niki Lauda told Bild newspaper that he doubts Briatore would fork out the necessary money to re-hire Alonso -- unless a big backer like Telefonica can help. In addition to Alonso's current (US) $27m per year salary, Briatore might also have to foot a multi-million bill to buy out Alonso's McLaren contract.
"Briatore has never been willing to pay bills of that size," Austrian legend Lauda noted. (GMM)