Former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore is expected to make a return to Formula One in 2013, with Italian media speculating on Tuesday that he may want to take the place of commercial manager Bernie Ecclestone.
Briatore, 60, agreed to stay away from F1 until then in a deal with the ruling body FIA in which he ended his appeal against a life ban over ordering a deliberate crash of Nelson Piquet Jr. at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.
Under the settlement reached on Monday evening Briatore can return to other FIA events aside from F1 in 2012.
However, Italian papers were widely speculating about him taking over from Ecclestone on his return.
“He will start immediately behind the scenes,” said La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Briatore said the deal with the FIA was no confession that he ordered Piquet to crash in the crash, which eventually helped teammate Fernando Alonso win. He said he only accepted responsibility as Renault team leader.
The affair came to light last year and the FIA banned Briatore for life. Briatore successfully appealed before French court, which overturned the FIA ban, and new FIA boss Jean Todt did not want to contest that ruling.
The FIA said the settlement was to put an end to the affair and to prevent further negative headlines in the sport.
The FIA is also reportedly looking into its legal system after losing before the French court.
There is speculation about the introduction of a licence for team leaders — similar to a special F1 licence required for drivers — which could be withdrawn indefinitely in the case of severe rule violations.