No punishment for Briatore or Symonds?

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

An (un-bylined) article in the Daily Express suggests Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds may go unpunished for their role in the Renault crash scandal.

Having left Renault, Briatore and Symonds are no longer represented by a licence holder, and so cannot be punished:

Although the Council have unlimited power when it comes to imposing a penalty against Renault, they are now powerless to act against Briatore and Symonds, despite the severity of the case.

It claims the World Motor Sports Council plans to change the rules so it can penalise individuals in similar cases in the future.

This was also the case in 2007 during the ‘Spygate’ enquiry, when the FIA was unable to punish Nigel Stepney after he had been dismissed by Ferrari. Instead it warned teams against hiring him:

As Mr Stepney is not a licence-holder of the FIA, no formal action may be taken against him under the International Sporting Code (though the FIA is co-operating with the Italian police, who are investigating Mr Stepney’s actions). As a matter of good order, the FIA recommends to its licensees that they do not professionally collaborate with Mr Stepney without conducting appropriate due diligence regarding his suitability for involvement in international motor sport. This recommendation stands until 1 July 2009.

Under the circumstances, it’s surprising they didn’t address the sooner. We can expect a similar announcement regarding Briatore and Symonds after the WMSC hearing on Monday.

Other questions are being asked today about the FIA’s handling of the matter. It has now emerged it was first brought to the FIA’s attention by Nelson Piquet Snr at last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix almost 11 months ago.

The delay in prosecuting the case was because the FIA required a statement from Nelson Piquet Jnr, and did not receive one until July 30 of this year. Was this because Piquet waited, or because the FIA didn’t offer him immunity until July? If the latter, why did they wait so long?

Renault Singapore crash controversy