January 05, 2010

Flavor Flav(io) Reinstated

Ex-Renault team principle Flavio Briatore, who was banned for life from F1 for his role in the Nelson Piquet Jr "CrashGate" scandal, is now un-banned.

Earlier today, the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris overturned the lifetime ban, agreeing with Briatore's claim that the FIA did not have legal grounds for the suspension.  Which mystifies me, since both the FIA and F1 are private organizations; in theory, they should be able to make their own rules, right?

Furthermore, the court also awarded Briatore €15000 in damages.  That's a far cry from the €1000000 he was asking for, but it's still a slap in the face of the FIA.

Along with Briatore, Pat Symonds, the former Renault chief of Engineering who was given a five-year suspension, was also cleared and awarded €5000.  Symonds expressed his "eternal regret and shame" over his role in the scandal back when he left Renault.  I guess this is some subset of "eternal" that I wasn't aware of.

Any bets on if either of them will be back in F1 within the next couple of years?

UPDATE: The FIA's response:

The FIA notes the Decision of the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris in relation to Mr. Briatore and Mr. Symonds.  The Court has rejected the claims for damages made by Mr. Briatore and Mr. Symonds and their claim for an annulment of the FIA's decision.  In particular, the Court did not examine the facts and has not reversed the FIA's finding that both Briatore and Symonds conspired to cause an intentional crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

However, the Court did question the FIA's authority to impose bans upon Mr. Briatore and Mr. Symonds for procedural reasons and because they are not FIA licence holders and, according to the Court, are therefore not subject to any FIA rules. The FIA's ability to exclude those who intentionally put others' lives at risk has never before been put into doubt and the FIA is carefully considering its appeal options on this point.  The Court’s decision is not enforceable until the FIA's appeal options have been exhausted.  Until then, the World Motor Sport Council’s decision continues to apply.

In addition, the FIA intends to consider appropriate actions to ensure that no persons who would engage, or who have engaged, in such dangerous activities or acts of intentional cheating will be allowed to participate in Formula One in the future.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 08:52 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 French courts have a history of overreaching. I'm sure this court will get its nose pushed in.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 05, 2010 10:00 PM (+rSRq)

2 FIA is not a private organization. It is handed an official authority of sanction motorsport events by the EU government (the Commission). It's a good deal: nobody can run motorsport competition in Europe unless FIA approves. But the downside is the strings attached to it. I don't know if the strings are significant in the case of Flavio's ban, but nonetheless, the wages of being a driving belt for the government may yet come home to roost.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at January 08, 2010 05:38 PM (/ppBw)

3 If its charter is from the EU, then EU courts would have jurisdiction, not French courts.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 08, 2010 06:13 PM (+rSRq)

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