Alpine's Famin looking forward, unfazed by Briatore’s past

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Alpine F1 team principal Bruno Famin dismissed concerns about the controversial appointment of Flavio Briatore as an advisor to the French outfit, emphasizing his focus on the future.

On Friday in Barcelona, it was confirmed that Briatore had been appointed as an executive advisor to Alpine F1 by Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo.

This decision has stirred significant unease within the Formula 1 community due to Briatore's contentious history.

The flamboyant Italian, who previously led the Benetton and Renault teams to multiple championships with Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso, was infamously involved in the 2008 Singapore GP 'Crashgate' scandal.

This incident resulted in a lifetime ban from the sport, which was later overturned in 2010, and in a significant loss of goodwill for the Renault brand.

Since then, Briatore has remained a familiar figure in the paddock and has been active behind the scenes in securing commercial deals and managing drivers.

Briatore’s return to the fold is the latest in a seemingly never-ending wave of personnel changes at Alpine initiated by de Meo over the past year following the dismissal of former team boss Otmar Szafnauer.

In bringing back to Alpine the very man that disgraced the Renault name, de Meo has exposed himself to widespread criticism by those who are calling into question the executive’s judgement and credibility.

However, despite the broad skepticism and controversy, Famin remains unperturbed by Briatore’s past.

"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 told the media in Barcelona on Friday.

"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."

Unsurprisingly, when asked about reconciling Briatore's role with the past, Famin sidestepped the question, reiterating his focus on moving forward and leveraging the Italian’s experience.

"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."

Queried on the contentious topic, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff argued in favour of giving Briatore a second chance.

"I think we need to give [him] the chance to recover from the situation," said 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 felt that Alpine was free to manage the situation as it sees fit.

"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,” he said.

"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."

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