Briatore’s past no concern if he can help Alpine in future – Famin

Flavio Briatore’s previous record of being banned from Formula 1 over the Crashgate scandal doesn’t matter as long as he can help Alpine improve in future, according to team principal Bruno Famin.

Alpine announced on Friday morning that Briatore would be returning to the team in the capacity of executive advisor to Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo, despite having been found guilty of overseeing the order for Nelson Piquet Jr. to crash on purpose to help Renault win the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

That incident led to Briatore being banned for life from motorsport activities, but he successfully overturned the punishment on appeal in 2010, allowing him to return to the sport from 2013. He never admitted personal guilt in the controversy.


Alpine’s decision to give a role to the 74-year-old has been met with widespread criticism given the Crashgate scandal — that at the time put Renault at risk of a permanent ban too — but when Famin was questioned on whether he was comfortable with Briatore’s past, he stated it was not something that concerns him as long as he improves the team.

“Flavio is going to bring his experience, for sure,” Famin said. “He’s a 40-years experience guy in Formula 1, he knows how to operate a winning team. He has a very good record and quite a number of world titles, and he will bring this experience, this fighting spirit to the team. We will work together, of course — he’s the advisor to the group CEO — but he will advise the team.

“I already answered questions about the past. I don’t really mind about past. I am always looking at the future, and looking at what we can get and to get our team better. That’s really our goal. What I see with having Flavio as an advisor of the team is the opportunity to have his experience to help us. He has a very high level knowledge of Formula 1 and I’m sure he will support us in developing the team faster and better. That’s all.

“I’m looking ahead, not backwards.”

When it was put to him that his comments could paint a damaging picture regarding the company culture at Alpine, Famin doubled down on his stance.

“There is a very clear goal to improve the competitiveness of the team as soon as possible and as fast as possible,” he said. “We are looking for strong support; we are very happy to have received Davide Sanchez, technical director — very good opportunity and we have been able to seize it very quickly.

“And on Flavio, the target is to make the team better as soon as possible and with the knowledge, the influence, the network of Flavio, it’s an asset and we are using all available assets to make the team stronger.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff backed Famin’s comments, stating Briatore’s experience will make him an asset to Alpine and that the Italian deserves a second chance in the sport.

“I think we need to give a chance to recover from the situations,” Wolff said. “I have known Flavio as an extremely smart businessman. He has a lot of knowhow in Formula 1. Every input that I got over the last 10-plus years that I have been in much more contact, and I have a friendly relationship with him, was in a way helpful.

“There is a lot of experience and expertise that, like Bruno said, 40 years of Formula 1 do, and I think everybody deserves the opportunity to come back. And for me, for sure, having another clever mind in Alpine, someone that is able to simplify things and apply common sense is in any case, where Alpine today is, is a benefit.”

Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur noted that Briatore has served his time given the overturning of his previous ban.

“First I don’t want to make any comment on what’s happened on the other team, I have enough to do with mine,” Vasseur said. “But overall, I think it’s probably as Bruno said, a step forward for Alpine, and it’s good for F1 at the end if Alpine is coming back into the fight. We know the [Crashgate] story, and I think he paid the price of this. If now he’s allowed to come back, he can come back.”

Story originally appeared on Racer