Verzuolóban, az olaszországi Cuneo közelében született. Szülei általános iskolai tanárok voltak. Diplomáját földmérési szakon a Fassino di Busca egyetemen szerezte. Briatore korán munkát talált, síoktatóként és étteremvezetőként dolgozott. Nyitott egy éttermet, aminek Tribüla volt a neve, utalva Briatore becenevére. Az étterem végül bezárt.
hen he became a travelling insurance salesman. In the 1970s, he moved to Cuneo and became an assistant to businessman Attilio Dutto, owner of the Paramatti Vernici (formerly owned by Michele Sindona). Dutto was killed on March 21, 1979 in a car bomb attack by an unknown perpetrator. From then on, Briatore started his unorthodox business career.
Briatore next moved to Milan and worked in the Italian stock exchange. During this period, he met Luciano Benetton, founder of the Benetton clothing company. The two became friends and eventually business partners. When Benetton opened his first five stores in the United States in 1979, he appointed Briatore as director of the group's American operations.
Due to Benetton's unorthodox methods of franchising, the chain experienced a brief boom in popularity in the US. By 1989, there were eight hundred stores in the United States. Briatore, having taken a cut of each franchising agreement, became very wealthy.
Benetton was also known for its divisive and attention-grabbing advertisements. Briatore explained how they raised the company's profile: "We decided to do something very controversial that people would pick up on -- 50% of people thought it was great and 50% thought it was awful, but in the meantime everyone was talking about Benetton." 
As store owners began to complain of competition from other Benetton stores, the number of stores decreased to two hundred and Briatore began to look for a new business.
Briatore attended his first Formula One race, the Australian Grand Prix, in 1988, having in the past proclaimed his lack of interest in the sport. Luciano Benetton appointed him commercial director of his Formula One team, Benetton Formula Ltd. (formerly Toleman), and when he fired the team management shortly thereafter, Briatore was promoted to managing director and set about turning Benetton into a competitive team.
He hired and quickly fired engineer John Barnard. Barnard's successor was Tom Walkinshaw, whose greatest achievement with the team was to lure young driver Michael Schumacher from the Jordan team after his first F1 race in 1991. Briatore, too, contributed to this achievement. The Times observed that Briatore knew Schumacher could be the best and built a team around him at Benetton that eventually beat the Williams driver Damon Hill to the World Championship after Ayrton Senna was killed at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
Schumacher went on to win at Spa in 1992 and again at Estoril in 1993 before claiming the World Drivers' Championship in 1994 and 1995. The Benetton team won the World Constructors' Championship in 1995.
Late in 1994, Briatore purchased the ailing Ligier team to acquire its stock of Renault engines. FIA regulations, however, did not permit him to own the team, so he sold it to Walkinshaw. He took on complete management of Benetton, but when Schumacher and a number of key technical staffers departed for Ferrari in 1996, the team slipped to the middle of the grid.
Briatore purchased a share of the Minardi team in 1996, but being unable to sell it to British American Tobacco, as he had hoped, he sold out to fellow owners Giancarlo Minardi and Gabriele Rumi. Benetton fired him in 1997 in favour of David Richards.
From 1998 to 2000, he sold Renault engines, re-badged them as Supertecs, to Williams, Benetton, BAR and Arrows. 
In 2000, Renault announced its plans to return to Formula One with the purchase of the Benetton Formula team. Briatore returned as managing director and team principal, replacing Rocco Benetton. The team raced as Benetton-Renault in 2001 before becoming Renault F1 in 2002.
Briatore has a reputation as a talent-scout, and probably his greatest 'find' has been Fernando Alonso. Briatore met with the teenage Spaniard in 1999. As his manager, Briatore secured him a race drive with Minardi in 2001, and promoted him to test-driver for Renault in 2002. 
For 2003, Briatore fired race-driver Jenson Button and replaced him with Alonso. When he replaced Button the outcry was huge, but Briatore stated, 'Time will tell if I am wrong.'
Renault won both championships in 2005, with Alonso winning the drivers' title, but he turned his back on Briatore to sign for rivals McLaren for 2007. Despite this, Renault and Alonso retained their titles in 2006. 
Briatore also acts as manager for Mark Webber and Heikki Kovalainen, and formerly managed Jarno Trulli. Despite winning the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix, Trulli was dropped from Renault by Briatore and replaced by Giancarlo Fisichella. 
In April 2006, Renault F1's new president Alain Dassas stated that having a contract with Briatore for 2007 was 'a key factor' in securing the company's commitment to the sport; 'and we will do everything to ensure Flavio stays.'  Briatore was duly confirmed as staying at Renault for the 2007 and 2008 seasons on 6 September 2006.
Briatore replaced Alonso with Kovalainen for 2007, saying: "With Kovalainen, I hope to find the anti-Alonso". 
Allegations were made during November 2007 by the FIA against the Renault F1 team regarding information they were found to have in their possession concerning the 2006 and 2007 McLaren F1 cars. These allegations were the subject of an FIA investigation, with an FIA hearing taking place 6 December 2007. Renault were found guilty of breaching the same regulation as McLaren (see F1 espionage scandal), but were not punished. Despite this guilty verdict, Briatore hit back at McLaren's Ron Dennis, saying: "Here is a team that acquired an advantage illegally. Just read the regulations: for intellectual property theft the punishment is exclusion... Ron Dennis… was the one who protested us on the mass damper. He is not the immaculate saint he pretends to be on his statements." 
Stance on the future of F1
Briatore has always spoken out about his desires to see F1 provide better entertainment. In 1994 he said: "All the team owners are orientated towards the technical side rather than the entertainment side, and this is a big fault. Every meeting that I go to, people are talking about pistons and suspensions. Nobody goes to a race to see that kind of thing… People come to see Schumacher and Senna racing each other." 
Twelve years later his feelings were much the same: "The people in charge should be businessmen, as they are in Hollywood, not ex-engineers. Nothing costs more, and delivers less entertainment, than hidden technology. And that’s what engineers love most of all." 
In 2007 he even went so far as to suggest that Grands Prix be split into two separate races as in the GP2 series. 
Briatore has developed a diverse portfolio of business interests outside Formula 1, many of which revolve around fashion.
He created the Billionaire brand in 1998 and owns a club in Sardinia under that name. A line of Billionaire fashion and sportswear is available as well as a haute couture line, Billionaire Italian Couture. In addition to that he opened Cipriani's restaurant in Mayfair, London in 2004 and owns the pharmaceuticals company Pierrel. He also operates a Tuscan beach club and Lion in the Sun, a holiday resort in Kenya formerly owned by musician Juan Antonio Portela Barros. 
In 2007 he was linked to a takeover of English Championship Club, Queens Park Rangers, from a Monaco based consortium led by Gianni Paladini.   On September 1, 2007 it was officially announced that Briatore (along with Bernie Ecclestone) had bought Queens Park Rangers (QPR) Football Club. 
Queens Park Rangers Football Club
On 7 November 2007, Briatore completed his takeover of Queens Park Rangers together with Bernie Ecclestone.
In December 2007, Briatore and Ecclestone were joined as co-owners of QPR by multi-billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, the 4th richest person in the world, who bought 20% of the club 
However since taking over the reins at the club, a combination of massive ticket price rises, lack of investment in players and statements revealing his heavy handed management style, have alienated a few of the traditional fans. To compound matters he tried to impose a second price rise after only 3 games of his first full season in charge. However the opponents Derby County FC returned the tickets, refusing to ask their supporters to pay the over-inflated prices. QPR referred the matter to a Football League tribunal to try and enforce the price rise onto the away fans, but the League found in favour of Derby County and the fans. On Easter Monday 2009, after the 3-2 home victory over Sheffield Wednesday, an angry fan reportedly told Briatore to 'sell the club'. This came just 4 days after the sacking of former manager Paulo Sousa.
In the late 1990s, Briatore gained notoriety among European tabloids for his romantic relationships with supermodels such as Naomi Campbell, Adriana Volpe, Bruce Willis' current wife Emma Heming and Heidi Klum. Klum gave birth to Briatore's only child, a daughter named Helene "Leni" Klum, on 4 May 2004. According to Klum, Briatore is not involved in the child's life. Briatore married the 28-year-old 'Wonderbra' model Elisabetta Gregoraci, on June 14 2008. The driver of the bridal car was Fernando Alonso. After the ceremony, Alonso drove the newlyweds to the reception at the Castello di Torcrescenza.