Flavio Briatore was approached twice to become team boss at Ferrari

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Former Benetton and Renault team boss Flavio Briatore claims he twice declined the opportunity to move to Ferrari.

The flamboyant Italian was at the helm at the Enstone-based squad between 1990-2009 and was involved in several big controversies, notably, accusations of cheating in 1994 and the 'Crashgate' scandal at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, the incident that eventually led to his departure.

At the same time, he was also successful, prizing Michael Schumacher from Jordan after his first race in 1991 and going on to claim two world titles with the German and also finding Fernando Alonso in 1999 before winning another pair of championships with the Spaniard.

As a result, when Ferrari were in the market for a new boss, Briatore was a man they turned to.

“The first time was between 1994 and 1995,” he told Italy's Autosprint.

“I spoke seriously to Dr Umberto Agnelli but I was too busy with Benetton, with whom I also had a 30% stake in the team.

“In more recent times I spoke to Luca di Montezemolo when he was president of Ferrari, but we were unable to find an agreement.”

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For his role in 'Crashgate', Briatore initially got a lifetime ban from FIA-sanctioned championships but it was later reversed.

Despite that, the now-69-year-old has no interest in returning to F1.

“F1 is like chickenpox, the virus catches you only once,” Briatore said. “I spent many years there, I won what others have never won, I had fun.”

Still, asked if he could form a dream team in today's F1, the Italian went with the two obvious choices.

“I would take Leclerc and Verstappen," he claimed. “There are two phenomenal talents with who I would win all the Grand Prix and the world championships in the next 10 years.

“The car? It would have to have a Ferrari engine because today it is the strongest and a Mercedes chassis because it is also the best in aerodynamics.”