Briatore wins appeal against lifetime ban from motorsport

2008 F1 season

The lifetime ban handed to Flavio Briatore by the FIA has been overturned

The lifetime ban handed to Flavio Briatore by the FIA has been overturned

Flavio Briatore has successfully overturned his lifetime ban from motor racing.

The ban, handed down by the FIA after Briatore was found guilty of ordering Nelson Piquet Jnr to crash during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, was cancelled following Briatore’s appeal to the French Tribune de Grande Instance.

Update: The FIA has criticised the decision and is considering an appeal.

The FIA had achieved its ban by refusing to sanction events in which Briatore was involved, effectively banning him from motor racing indefinitely. Reuters quotes the judge saying “the sanction was illegal”.

But the Renault team largely escaped punishment by the FIA after Briatore and co-conspirator Pat Symonds left the team. But with Briatore’s ban now removed hardly anyone involved in the Singapore scandal has received a significant penalty.

Nelson Piquet Jnr also went unpunished but does not look like finding another F1 drive. As with him, you have to wonder if anyone in motor racing would now wish to be tainted by association with Briatore.

Briatore had demanded ??1m in compensation, but received ??15,000. Pat Symonds’ five-year ban was also overturned and he was awarded ??5,000.

The decision is a rare defeat for the FIA which has usually triumphed when its verdicts have been challenged by external courts. It has already announced it will appeal against the decision by the court.

Update 1: Autosport reports the FIA must publish details of the bans being lifted on Briatore and Symonds within two weeks.

Update 2: The FIA has issued a strong criticism of the decision:

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.
FIA statement

Should Briatore's lifetime ban have been lifted?

  • Yes (35%)
  • No (60%)
  • No opinion (5%)

Total Voters: 964

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166 comments on Briatore wins appeal against lifetime ban from motorsport

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    • sweet!

      Now he’s won that case, we will soon see who is the mr ‘x’ if he goes on and sues max and the pk’s etc….

      Maybe mr ‘x’ was max’s imaginary mate made up just to make it all stick…
      I bet max never thought this would happen and is prob now chi ting himself LOL

      Be great to see max get taken down.

  1. Briatore GP on the grid for the 2011 season?

  2. I´m curious to see, who´s gonna be at his big party!

  3. The court have made the correct decision. As I’ve been saying since the punishment was handed out, a lifetime ban was way beyond what the FIA could legally do to punish Flav. Briatore needs to be punished for his role in the Singapore scandal but it must be done legally.

    • Hallard said on 5th January 2010, 16:56

      I totally agree. I said ‘No’ in the poll above because I would like him to stay banned, but on legal grounds his ban was rightly overturned.

    • I agree. A life time ban was far beyond what Briatore deserved, but he most definitely deserved a punishment.

      I can’t believe this whole crash scandal has gone completely unpunished now though! Granted it’ll be hard for the 3 of them to get a job now, but it wont be impossible. Nothings stopping them now.

      Can the FIA appeal the appeal ruling?…If that makes sense! Hehe

      • Yes, the FIA can appeal. It’s worth noting, however, that though the punishments have been overturned the decision has not – i.e. Briatore and Symonds are still guilty though their punishments no longer apply.

        The best course of action for the FIA would be to recall Briatore and Symonds to the World Council and give them another punishment, one that they are legally able to enforce. Such as banning both men from areas of FIA jurisdiction (e.g. the F1 paddock) for a certain period.

        • Aw good. Hope they do!

        • Bernard said on 5th January 2010, 19:30

          As it stands Andy, I don’t believe they can even do that.

          Briatore and Symonds where employed by the Renault team, thus any sanction against them has to be with the team, the men as individuals are impervious to the FIA. On the other hand Piquet as a driver, is not immune and should not have got off as easily as he did.

          “The FIA … can sanction licence holders, leaders, members of the ASNs [national sporting authorities], but it cannot with respect to third parties, take measures equivalent to a sanction – in contravention of article 28 of its statutes”

          http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/80744

          Article 28

          • The FIA do have authority over certain areas, though, like the F1 paddock. They can permit and deny entry to whoever they like; they are certainly entitled to inform Briatore and Symonds that they are no longer welcome in an FIA-run paddock.

          • Bernard said on 6th January 2010, 13:36

            re:

            Apparently the Paddock Club is operated by Allsport Management, now part of Formula One Group. Therefore it is Ecclestone who has the final say and regarding Briatores’ case, he is well known for stating ‘even murderers don’t get life sentences’.

            In fact Ecclestone recently said ‘He is welcome to come back to the paddock’.

            As suggested eleswhere the FIA will have to come up with something along the lines of a compulsory license for all key personnel, which will put the ball back in the FIA’s court.

            Link: The Paddock Club (grandprix.com)

            Link: Formula One Group (wiki)

            Link: Ecclestone: Briatore ‘welcome’ in F1 (autosport)

      • steph90 said on 5th January 2010, 18:49

        I think they can Katy.

  4. Nobody will want him in F1 now so really his ban being overturned is irrelevent.

    • Ned Flanders said on 5th January 2010, 16:05

      I thought that initially, but he has the money to simply buy another teams entry and no one could do anything about it.

      Toro Rosso could be an opportunity for him to get back into F1. Flavio wants to buy, Red Bull want to sell, it’s a small, affordable Italian team which should now be capable of building its own cars. Toro Rosso to become Briatore GP in 2011- you heard it here first!

      Or alternatively he could team up with Zoran Stefanovic to form Stefanavio F1…

      • James Bond said on 5th January 2010, 16:12

        Bernie has always had soft spot for Flav hehe. So who knows they might just buy off one of these new teams in 2011 & re-brand it Brabham. Its definitely possible.

        • Uppili said on 5th January 2010, 19:00

          Ok here are the possibilities…

          1) Flavio takes a stake in Campos Meta1….second driver from his driver managements….

          2) Buys Torro Rosso.

          Both real possiblities before the start of 2010 season.

          3) Ties up with Zoran Stefanovic and SGP becomes FBGP….entry still contingent on one of the new teams failing and FIA approving the new team. If FB gets involved i can not see that happening…

          Oh BTW…..Pat Symonds will be the technical director no matter whioch team Flavio buys into… :)

      • You might be onto something there Ned. I wonder what the bookie’s would make of this. I’m not a gambling man but wouldn’t it be worth a tenner if the odds were right????

      • You might be onto something there Ned. I wonder what the bookie’s would make of this. I’m not a gambling man but wouldn’t it be worth a tenner if the odds were right????

        Sorry, posted it in the wrong place. :P

        • Scribe said on 5th January 2010, 19:48

          How sure is anyone that Briatore really wants to go back into F1? Oppourtunities for him within the sport are now vastly reduced. He won’t be able to hold a position in any large team as no large corporate structure would allow his reputation anywhere near their brand image and he won’t be able to strut round the paddoc like he used to because the vast majority of the people will be dead set against him.

          He’ll probably stay in footie or start other investments if you ask me.

          • Uppili said on 5th January 2010, 23:07

            “no large corporate structure would allow his reputation anywhere near their brand image and he won’t be able to strut round the paddock like he used to because the vast majority of the people will be dead set against him.”

            Thats exactly what was said a year and a half ago about Mosley….Money talks…

      • good call ned, I can see this as feasible.
        Not sure if it would happen but it is totally do-able

  5. Harry said on 5th January 2010, 15:00

    From what I know of the scandal, I wanted it to stick. However, like all F1 Drama’s there is soooooo much more to the story that we simply dont’t [and most likely never will] know.

  6. David said on 5th January 2010, 15:01

    The only good side is that we have more chances to see beatiful girls on the grid.
    The bad side is that he’s really ugly. I never liked him, and in Italy some really bad stories on his past circulate.

  7. Oliver said on 5th January 2010, 15:02

    It does look as if he was setup in the whole affair. If Mosley told Briatore, that he presence wasn’t necessary at the FIA hearing, but then proceeded to use his abscence as proof of guilt, then it shows Mosley has some answering to do.

    • Hallard said on 5th January 2010, 16:59

      I dont think Mosley told him his attendance was optional. Flavio had been sacked at that point, so he couldnt be forced to attend the FIA hearing.

  8. djdaveyp said on 5th January 2010, 15:06

    Completely pointless, nobody wants him now. Even if he tried to enter his own team i’m sure the FIA will male sure he doesn’t gain an entry, he could only get back in by buying an existing team, who is selling?

    Actually i’m only scared that he may buy toro rosso, but its a very outside chance.

  9. I’d love to see him back on the circuit in 2010. He’s a very talented guy and what he’s done with Renault during his tenure there was phenomenal.

    If I were a stakeholder in the new teams, I’d sign him up today!

  10. What Red Andy and Spud said.

  11. Ronman said on 5th January 2010, 15:11

    Haha 15,000Euros, i guess that’s what that sucker is worth in the end. i hope no one is dumb enough to put him back on the grid, and if he applies for a new team sometime in the future, i doubt the FIA will hear his case…

    the FIA will send out a memo negating its previous order to shun flavio away in case their appeal fails. but i doubt anyone who wants to be on the FIA’s good side will ever deal with him anyway…

    so selling 5$ jeans for 500 it is to people that don’t know what he is (not) all about…

    • Racehound said on 5th January 2010, 15:35

      hmmmm! thank you Ron Dennis for that insight! ive only just started thinking about all the avenues and stories implied but the “real tales” behind you lot are hard to glean! Even the proper tasty stuff about the drivers is truthfully impossible to hear about! 2 of them must have been involved in a punch up “behind the scenes” somewhere in the last 5 years, but we dont know about it!!! #:) i wonder if you do?

  12. Macca said on 5th January 2010, 15:21

    I knew he would get off, the life time ban was just to over the top for effecting the outcome of just one race.

    • PeriSoft said on 5th January 2010, 15:44

      Affecting the outcome of one race? Is that what you think this is about? It’s not about the cheating – ok, the cheating is worthy of a ban in itself, but are people forgetting what happened?

      Briatore *ORDERED A DRIVER TO CRASH*. OK? Repeat that to yourselves a few times until it sinks in. He risked the lives of all the drivers on the track, the marshals who ran out to help, and the spectators nearby. The fact that F1 is safER now should not and does not mitigate that.

      What he did was the absolute worst thing a team principal could ever, ever do – cheating to achieve victory and endangering the lives of participants and spectators to do so. Anything less than a lifetime ban is unacceptable, and as far as I’m concerned, Renault should have been instantly and permanently banned from motorsport. And anyone at Renault who could be shown to have known that this happened without going to the FIA? Same. Out. Done. Period.

      The higher ups at Renault didn’t know this was happening? Tough **** – it was their job to know. They hired a scumbag and allowed him to create an environment where this was possible.

      This isn’t cheating. This is the worst of the worst of the worst, and anyone even remotely involved doesn’t deserve to go near a race car as long as they live.

      • pSynrg said on 5th January 2010, 16:31

        Perisoft, I 100% agree!

      • BNK Racing said on 5th January 2010, 17:28

        Jack Bauer would have made the same orders! :D

      • Ads21 said on 6th January 2010, 0:51

        Today’s decision wasn’t taken by some dodgy sporting body but the French courts, the FIA’s punishment was clearly illegal and therefore they should find a legal way to punish those responsible.

        There’s no point in crying about how bad the crime was, it doesnt make a difference to the fact that the punishment handed out by the FIA wasn’t valid or legal. In your words it’s just “tough ****”

      • Actually PeriSoft, it has never been conclusively proven that Briatore ordered anyone to do anything. Speculation abounds that Nelson Piroutte Piquet suggested the plan himself. And what’s more, Piquet was the one who actually went through with it.

        A little less hyerbole, perhaps?

        And while I do not condone what Briatore, Symmonds or Piquet did, the fact remains that one man actually carried the plan and got off scott free, yet the other two ‘conspirators’ were punished severely. Briatore’s ban was the result of a vendetta from S&Max, nothing more, nothing less. On that basis alone, I am glad to see it rescinded. Justice should not be meted out on the basis of personal vendetta’s.

        While I agree that he should have some form of sanction, the punishment should fit the crime.

        • Ronman said on 6th January 2010, 6:26

          Pink Peril, i’m with you on the lot bar the S&Max vendetta…

          the cheating boiled the blood of every Fan and member of the sport, and the sporting world in general…Vendetta is in this case not applicable…you have to remember that Ecclestone, his friend partner and part confident, and possibly of whom he might of been successor voted against him on the WMSC…

        • Oliver said on 6th January 2010, 9:37

          A voice of reason.

      • I agree you 100% on your views about Briatore.

      • S Hughes said on 6th January 2010, 11:27

        I agree and that includes Teflonso.

        • All of this imbroglio merely demonstrates what big money does to any sport. Sure, it brings in the very best people from engneers to drivers. Unfortunately it also attracts people with other, less savoury skills.
          I don’t know about anybody else, but people like Mosely, Ecclestone, Briatore would not be welcome guests at my dinner table. I’d trust none of them further than I could throw a suumo wrestler, and I’d count the silver both before they arrived and immediately they left.
          Does that make me naive ? I don’t think so. More likely that I can recognise a sewer rodent when I see and hear one.

          F1 people were never pure as the driven snow. They’re racers, and the most competitive are also totally ruthless about everything they do in F1. But the best of them also lift their heads from under the gearbox occasionally and look outside the grimy workshop window at the real world.

          At least we all hope they do.

      • Maciek said on 6th January 2010, 17:07

        Absolutely agree Perisoft.

        @Ads21 – you say that the FIA’s decision was “clearly illegal” – because of the decision of this court..? Wait for the next five or ten back and forth appeals that that are sure to follow, because off and on it will be declared “clearly legal” as well.

        @Pink Peril – the people who give orders to carry out crimes are always punished more severely than the people who carry them out – as is the way it should be. Between Briatore and Piquet Jr, which one should have had more sense to hit the “let’s all stop for a second and think about what we are discussing here because it’s just so over the top wrong” button?

      • Maksutov said on 6th January 2010, 18:19

        @PeriSoft

        Briatore *ORDERED A DRIVER TO CRASH*. OK?

        But how do you know that for sure? This is exactly the problem here. To say that Briatore “ORDERED” his driver to crash can only be concluded by saying that we believe every single word Piquet Jnr is saying.

        I dont believe that Briatore forcibly ordered Piquet to crash. If that were the case the driver would have immediately reported to the FIA, and moreover he would try to prevent this from happening. But that wasnt the case, Piquet Jnr denied involvement the core, played dumb, and showed no sign of having been forced into something he did not like. Furthermore there is no hard evidence nor proof to suggest being ORDERED.

        Instead the most likely scenario is that Piquet himself suggested the idea to the team so that he can secure a drive for the following year and happily executed the act. Briatore is of course guilty for playing along and telling Piquet when to crash, and should indeed be punished, but not with a lifetime ban entirely but perhaps a prevention of owning or running a team. The individual who should have been punished the most is the driver himself. Piquet was the one who directly and carried out the act.

      • MinusTwo said on 6th January 2010, 22:31

        Totally agree. Well said.

  13. If a team thought the advantages of hiring someone involved in what happened at the Singapore Grand Prix in 2008 outweighed the disadvantages then they would sign them up, for example if Piquet Jnr was as good a driver as Alonso he would have no trouble getting another drive.

    With Briatore, even if the FIA don’t win an appeal and he is free to be involved in F1 again I doubt anyone would want him not just because of the race fixing but also the fact that they know they would be making an enemy of the FIA.

  14. steph90 said on 5th January 2010, 15:26

    Looking back. He should get off and I think the FIA were completely foolish here. All that effort of nailing Flav and they couldn’t even hand out a legal punishment. A crime that damaged F1s reputation has been damaged further still by the FIA failing here.
    Briatore should be punished for what happened but legally punished. This whole thing has been a nightmare and shows how not to run a sport.
    I’m happy that today at least everything was put aside and a hard decision was made. Briatore should never be unpunished but the FIA has made a mess of this and allowed this to happen.

    • Hairs said on 5th January 2010, 20:49

      Excellent points.

      Flavio’s done well here. He was very clever to only appeal how the FIA ran the “trial”, not the verdict. So he doesn’t have to actually answer the charges, he just gets off the punishment. Stays at QPR, keeps his management and F1 businesses, and can walk off into the sunset. Also, he put a big one over on Max here. Major slap on the wrist from a real court to the FIA.

      In summary:
      1 – The FIA can’t be trusted to run a simple enquiry.
      2 – The FIA can’t be trusted to stick to their own published rule book.
      3 – The man running the FIA was not acting in the interests of the sport or of the truth.

      No doubt Alan Donnelly will be out in force blustering away. The fact remains that the FIA were faced with a big problem, and as was obvious at the time, did exactly the opposite of what they should have done, and made a balls of it. If Renault had enough evidence to sack Flav and Pat, it should have been heard. Piquet should have been banned for life. Renault should have been crucified for letting it go on. Instead, we got a negotiated stitch up job in the best F1 tradition. If this opens the floodgates for more FIA rubbish to be thrown in front of a real court, all to the good.

      • Thanks Hairs.
        I think this is pretty damning of the FIA and how the sport has been run (now we have Todt it’ll be interesting to see what he does). The FIA could still push on and try to get Flavio another way.
        I don’t really think Renault knew so I’m happy they weren’t punished but as for the rest it has been a mockery.
        Agree with you that Flavio was very clever. He could go and manage drivers again and in theory buy up a team. It comes to something when a crime comes out but the guilty parties get off because the governing body breaks its own rules in punishing them.

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