Born in the chic Parisian suburb of Neuilly Dhainaut was educated in France but then went off to Italy to study fine arts at the Academia delle Belle Arti in Florence. After graduating he found a job as an export manager for the French Societe de Transports Internationaux - working in Florence. After five years of doing this he formed his own import-export company, trading between France and Italy, before joining the Autosonik car stereo company.At the time Autosonik was heavily involved in motor racing sponsorship, notably in Formula 2 in 1981 with Michele Alboreto's Minardi. The connection with motor racing gave Dhainaut new inspiration and at the end of 1982 he left Autosonik to become team manager of the Automobiles Gonfaronnaise Sportives (AGS) F2 team, which was then running Philippe Streiff and Fulvio Ballabio in the European Championship.For the next five years Dhainaut remained in that role as the team struggled through the last days of F2 - Streiff won the very last F2 race in 1984 - and then the new F3000 series. In 1986 AGS finally made its F1 debut with Ivan Capelli driving.The team struggled through the 1987 and 1988 seasons but in September 1988 Dhainaut and AGS engineers Christian Vanderpleyn and Michel Costa quit the team and joined Enzo Coloni's F1 operation. The Coloni team struggled and early in 1990 Dhainaut quit to take up a similar position with Larrousse.He spent two years running the Larrousse operation but then announced that he was planning to establish his own F1 team and left. Unfortunately this coincided with the recession and Dhainhaut could not find enough money to do the job properly. Early in 1992, however, Bernie Ecclestone asked him if he would help to run a new team called Andrea Moda Formula. The team was a disaster and Dhainaut left when it became clear that his recommendations were not being carried out. Fed up with F1 Dhainaut decided to establish a promotional company in Brazil to help young drivers to get to Europe. The business was called Alpha Sports and during 1993 and 1994 Dhainaut helped both Tarso Marques and Ricardo Zonta.At the end of 1995 Giancarlo Minardi asked Frederic if he would like to be team manager of Minardi which was being restructured after the split with Scuderia Italia. Dhainaut ran the team for a couple of seasons but then spent a period in charge of the the test team before returning as team manager in the summer of 2000. He was retained as team manager when the tem was sold to Paul Stoddart at the start of 2001.