Pattaya Daily News

09 January 2010 :: 12:01:04 pm 5423

Formed Renault Boss has Lifetime Ban Overturned

Former Renault F1 team boss Flavio Briatore has succeeded in having his lifetime ban from the sport overturned by the French High Court this week.
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International, the 9th of January 2010 [Pattaya Daily News]: Flavio Briatore was officially suspended by the FIA and banned for life after the notorious “crashgate” scandal involving his Renault F1 team. It is alleged that during the Singapore Grand Prix of the 2008 season, Briatore ordered driver Nelson Piquet Jnr to deliberately crash out of the race in order to benefit co-driver and championship contender Fernando Alonso. Piquet Jnr subsequently blew the whistle on the scandal avoiding punishment whilst Briatore was handed a lifetime ban whilst Renault Director of Engineering Pat Symonds was handed a 5 year ban for his participation in the scandal.

Briatore has maintained his innocence throughout proceedings, now threatening to sue his former driver Nelson Piquet Jnr who blew the whistle on the scandal. “The bad that has been done to me won’t be forgotten in one day,” he warned after the case, saying it was “very likely” he would take legal action. “The last few months have been very difficult for me. It is great that I have my dignity and my freedom back and this is the most important thing,” Briatore informed the BBC.

 

As well as being the boss of the Renault F1 team Briatore also managed several other championship drivers including the likes of Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso however; after his suspension from the sport those contracts were cancelled as the drivers were warned that if they continued to work with Briatore they would face losing their licenses.

“Except for [Heikki] Kovalainen and [Lucas] di Grassi, my relationship with the other drivers has never changed,” said Briatore. “We’ll analyse the situation with the lawyers to see whether we should take legal action against anyone who has broken the contracts with us.”

Although Briatore is free to participate in the sport again, the French High Court ruling did not exonerate him from his involvement in the scandal, yet Briatore continues to plead his innocence stating that the FIA action against him was spawned out of “bad blood” between himself and FIA president Max Mosley.

Now that Mosley has stood down from the FIA, Briatore expects his relationship with new president Jean Todt to be much better. A close relationship with F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone who criticised the harshness of the ban imposed on Briatore will ensure that he is welcomed back into the F1 scene if he chooses to return. Ecclestone who co-owsn English Championship side Queens Park Rangers with Briatore described the man as a “great character” and stated that: “He is welcome to come back to the paddock.”

The French High Court ruled in Briatore’s favour stating that the FIA did not have the required power to impose such sanctions. The court overruled the punishments placed on both Briatore and Symonds also ordering the FIA to pay the two men €15,000 and €5,000 in compensation, respectively. The FIA now have 15 days to pay the pair, otherwise they will be liable to pay a further fine of €10,000 per day. The FIA’s legal team has indicated that they will appeal the High Court ruling.

Reporter : Harry Roberts   Photo : Internet   Category : Sports News

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