Bruno Famin defends Alpine recruiting Flavio Briatore despite 'Crashgate' scandal

Alpine boss Bruno Famin was grilled about Flavio Briatore's return to the F1 team.

Flavio Briatore (ITA) Alpine F1 Team Executive Advisor. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 10, Spanish Grand Prix,
Flavio Briatore (ITA) Alpine F1 Team Executive Advisor. Formula 1 World…

Bruno Famin has defended Alpine’s decision to re-appoint Flavio Briatore 15 years after he was given a lifetime ban from F1 over his role in the ‘Crashgate’ scandal.

The 74-year-old was forced to resign from the then Renault team in 2009 for his involvement in the controversial fixing of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

Nelson Piquet Jr was instructed to deliberately crash in order to hand an advantage to teammate Fernando Alonso, who went on to win the race.

Briatore was initially handed a lifetime ban by F1’s governing body the FIA, though this was overturned by a French court in 2010.

Famin was quizzed on Briatore’s return as executive advisor to the Alpine team on Friday ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix and insisted he was “looking ahead, not backwards”.

“I don’t really mind about past,” Famin said when asked how comfortable he is that a man who was previously banned from F1 has been allowed to return.

“I am always looking at the future, and looking at what we can get and to get our team better. And that’s really our goal.

“What I see is 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, he has a lot of people, and I’m sure he will support us in developing the team faster and better. That’s all.

When pressed further on how he is able to justify the appointment, Famin replied: “There is a very clear goal to improve the competitiveness of the team as soon as possible and as fast as possible.

“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 boss Toto Wolff and Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur also defended Briatore’s return.

"I think we need to give a chance to recover from the situations,” said Wolff.

“I have known Flavio as a 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.”

Meanwhile, Vasseur said: "Overall, I think it’s probably 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 story. And I think he paid the price of this. If now he’s allowed to come back, he can come back.”

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