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Formula 1 Spanish GP

Alpine boss Famin "doesn't mind" Briatore's F1 past after controversial hire

Alpine Formula 1 team principal shrugs off questions around the brand's controversial appointment of Flavio Briatore.

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director, Renault F1, on the pit wall

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director, Renault F1, on the pit wall.

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Alpine Formula 1 team boss Bruno Famin says he "doesn't really mind about the past" after the team announced the controversial Flavio Briatore as its executive advisor.

On Friday morning Alpine confirmed the news that Briatore had been brought in by Renault group CEO Luca de Meo as an executive advisor.

While the news of Briatore being handed an advisory role had been circulating for the past weeks, the official confirmation was still met with great unease in the Barcelona paddock due to Briatore's past.

The former Benetton and Renault team principal, who was in charge when Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso claimed their double championship wins with the outfit, served a paddock ban for his role in the 2008 Singapore 'Crashgate' scandal.

That lifetime ban was overturned in 2010, with the Italian a regular paddock visitor since then and, most recently, seen attending the Monaco Grand Prix. Briatore has been helping to facilitate commercial deals within the series and is also still involved in driver management.

While Renault chief De Meo has commanded a large number of senior personnel changes over the past 12 months since the dismissal of previous team boss Otmar Szafnauer, Briatore's appointment is seen as the most eyebrow-raising call so far.

But team principal Famin shrugged off questions about Briatore's past, saying he was just focused on improving the struggling outfit instead.

Flavio Briatore, Executive Advisor, Alpine F1

Flavio Briatore, Executive Advisor, Alpine F1

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

"I don't really mind about the past, I'm always looking [at] the future, what we can do to get our team better," Famin said when extensively quizzed on the subject in Barcelona.

"Flavio has 40 years of experience in Formula 1, he knows how to operate a winning team. He has a very good record, quite a number of world titles and he will bring this experience, this fighting spirit to the team. He is the adviser to the Group CEO but he will advise the team.

"He knows a lot of people and I'm sure he will support us in developing the team faster and better.

"I'm looking ahead, not backwards."

When asked how he could square Briatore's appointment with the damage that was done to the Renault brand and the series in 2008, Famin avoided a straight response.

"There is a very clear goal to improve the competitiveness of the team as fast as possible and we are looking for strong support," he added.

"We are very happy to have received David Sanchez as technical director, a very good opportunity.

"The knowledge, the network, the influence of Flavio is [also] an asset and we are using all possible available assets to make the team stronger."

Since his initial removal from Renault, Briatore has maintained friendly relations with lots of paddock stakeholders. News of his appointment was met with lenient reactions from some of Famin's peers.

"I think we need to give [him] the chance to recover from the situation," said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.

"I have known Flavio as an extremely smart businessman. He has a lot of know-how in Formula 1. I think everybody deserves the opportunity to come back."

Ferrari team boss Fred Vasseur added: "I don't want to make any comment on what's happened on another team, but overall, I think it's probably as Bruno said: If it's a step forward for their team, then it's good for F1 if Alpine is coming back into the fight.

"We know the story and I think he paid the price for this. Now he's allowed to come back, so he can come back."

Watch: Life at the Scuderia - Exclusive Interview with Fred Vasseur

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