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

  1. James Bond said on 5th January 2010, 15:27

    Funny world this is. At the end of the day THE MOST SERIOUS CRIME IN THE HISTORY OF FORMULA ONE goes unpunished. And bloody hell he receives a compensation!

    And how is it that he is completely denying his role in the entire farce? Surely Pat, Piquet Jr & Mr X testified against him at the FIA hearing. Did the french court forget to take this into consideration before overturning?

    Flavio was a serious offender right from the Benetton days & I initially thought a life ban was way too harsh. It had much to do with Max’s personal vendetta that the crime itself. But surely a 5 year ban with a hefty monetary penalty is fully justifiable.

    This overturning of the ban will only encourage more teams to follow Flav’s suite. Especially the new teams who are desperate for good results.

    So who crashes next time for their team mate? Rosberg for Schumacher or Button for Hamilton.

    Or Massa for Alonso?

    This sport doesn’t seize to surprise us at all. Guess one of the reasons why we all love it.

    • James Bond said on 5th January 2010, 15:30

      But I surely welcome this decision. I love anything that ****** off Mad Max hehe.

    • Racehound said on 5th January 2010, 16:26

      errr……refer to my earlier post! #:)

    • Dennis said on 5th January 2010, 21:29

      Well we don’t really know why he’s innocent according to the court. Because that is what it says, not just that the decision to ban him was illegal, but that he’s off he hook and deserves a compensation.

      Here are my (FINAL, I’m sick of Crashgate and hoped we heard the last of it after those bans) thoughts on this:

      At the end of the day it’s a horrible thing to tell a driver to crash but he’s not the one putting other people’s lives at risk. It’s Nelsinho Piquet Jr. who crashed the car into the wall and put lives at risk, not Briatore. It’s a bit “if your boss tells you to throw yourself of a bridge, would you?” and Piquet answered wrong. He should have said “no.” simple as that.

      I do think there’s some thruth in Piquet’s claims that Briatore put a lot of pressure on him but he has a strong daddy behind him and he already proved that he could go toe to toe with Hamilton in Gp2 so he probably had other options if he wanted to. So he’s definetly to blame IMO. If Briatore did what he did he shouldn’t be left alone either. He deserves punishment since he’s partially responsible, but a lifetime ban is too harsch, especially considering the fact Piquet didn’t get a “real” punishment. Except of course he’ll never get to race in F1 again but perhaps he should have thought about that before crashing his car in the wall and blurt about it, he’s such a douche.

      I think the FIA and Piquet Jr. made a deal here. “We don’t like Briatore any more than you do so you scratch our back and we’ll scratch yours”. Why else on earth would the one causing the crash have a free pass to say pretty much whatever the hell he wants. That FIA/WMC-trial was a farce. It wasn’t as bad as Stalin’s fake trials but not far from it I think. There are 2 sides to each story, we basically heard one and consequently the other one got an undeserved and illegal punishment and of course a normal court recognises that.

      For the future: I don’t care wether Nelson Piquet Jr. or Briatore returns to the F1, they don’t bother me. I just hope we can leave this ugly scandal behind us.

  2. Hazel J said on 5th January 2010, 15:33

    I think it’s right that the lifetime ban has been lifted but he should still be banned for at least as long as Pat Symmonds. He needs to get some kind of punishment for this, Symmonds may have been the brains behind it but Briator was the team principal he shouldn’t have let it go ahead. Its wrong he gets off scot free.

  3. weeee more argueing…they shoulda kept the ban.

  4. Richard S said on 5th January 2010, 15:51

    The lifetime ban was absolutely wrong, and just underlined how wrong-headed the FIA had become under MM. Overbearing, pompous, “my way or the highway”-type nonsense etc etc.
    What really surprises me is the comments posted here just don’t match the result of the survey. Maybe the “no” vote was an emotional response and the “yes” vote more thoughtful….
    ;-)

    • Hallard said on 5th January 2010, 17:07

      I think you’re right about the poll. It seems that the poll results reflect more that Flavio is not welcome in motorsports, as far as the fans are concerned, rather than the validity of his appeal case.

  5. stupid french court…

  6. It will be worth waiting to see the detail of the court’s decision. Was this down to process issues or the proportionality of the punishment or both?

    The terms of the Briatore’s punishment were extremely severe – effectively banning him from participating in any FIA-sponsored form of motorsport for life and forcing him to drop various lucrative business interests (e.g. driver management deals, GP2). Stopping someone from earning their livelihood is a very serious step to take, even if that person is a very rich man who who has other interests to fall back on. There are cases where it’s acceptable, but they tend to be very serious and the procedures surrounding them tend to be fairly complex, with room for appeals, etc.

    In the end, however, it may well all be entirely academic. The damage to Briatore’s reputation has already been done and was largely self-inflicted anyway. The verdict of a French court and 15,000 Euros won’t make it all better.

    • Stopping someone from earning their livelihood is a very serious step to take, even if that person is a very rich man who who has other interests to fall back on.

      It is not only a very serious step. It is completely beyond the power of the FIA to impose such a sentence. A court of law might have been able to do so but not a sporting body. That is why Briatore has won this case – not because the French judge doesn’t believe he has done anything wrong, but because the FIA did not have the authority to administer such a punishment.

      • steph90 said on 5th January 2010, 17:27

        Allen has new interesting post up. Perhaps team heads should have licences and then the FIA would have more control. http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2010/01/top-f1-figures-to-get-licences-following-briatore-judgement/

      • I was talking in general terms – even if it’s done by a court of law it’s a very big step to take and usually subject to a complex and lengthy appeals process.

        I wouldn’t go so far as to say a sporting body like the FIA should (whether they could is another matter entirely) never be able to ban someone from participation in that sport for life – but the offence would have to be extremely serious, the evidence clear and the process much more robust than in the Briatore case.

  7. Lukeaa said on 5th January 2010, 15:54

    How have the f1fanatics turned into a bunch of softies. It’s not like this man’s income is entirely dependant on motor racing, he took part in one of the worst crimes in f1 which severly tarnished it’s reputation. How is a lifetime ban too severe? What example does this set if the fia can’t even procecute within it’s own sports? Agh so infuriating

    • James Bond said on 5th January 2010, 16:07

      How have the f1fanatics turned into a bunch of softies

      That would be because Max wanted it. We as fans must deny max anything he derives pleasure from. This life ban was one of the many things he derived pleasure.

      It would have been more suave if the FIA had banned him for say 249 years or so :)

    • steph90 said on 5th January 2010, 17:33

      It’s not that the ban was too severe it’s just that it wasn’t up to the FIA to give it out-the whole thing was a bit of a witch hunt in my view anyway. It had to be overturned because it was found not to be legal. The FIA have spent ages trying to nail Flavio just to have the suspension thrown out becuase it wasn’t legal. It wasn’t about Singapore and hopw punished he should be it was about how the FIA handled it.
      The whole thing is hurting F1’s image. First the scandal happens, then Piquet is given immunity while Flav gets slapped with a massive ban and then the ban is overturned. F1 doesn’t exactly appear stable or fair to casual fans does it? :(

  8. This guy knows nothing about what goes on out on the track. He doesn’t even know if his drivers have wet tyres on when it’s ******* down.

    He knows how to make money out of F1, and that’s what he’s been doing these last couple of decades. He knows how to ensure that one driver receives full attention, while the other pedals the ‘parts bin’ car. You wouldn’t want to be ‘number two driver’ in a Briatore run team, because ‘number two’ means ‘loser’ in Briatore’s language.

  9. Thinking about the return of Briatori may sound insane now, but he´ll be back and with his own team!
    FIA, must understand that Civil and Criminal Courts will always have the last word in this, so applying for a High Instance always compensates!
    Remember that, there are drivers, who didn´t turn back to Briatori and moreover, at least 2 teams on the grid are having financial problems, so Briatori will buy is way back, passing FIA.
    His foolish decision of sending Piquet to crash was stupid, but Piquet is not even a good driver and only thanks to his dad bought a place on the grid.
    Where is Piquet now, if he´s so inocent?

    • James Bond said on 5th January 2010, 16:23

      but Piquet is not even a good driver

      Don’t tell me that. Show me one other driver who could purposely crash a F1 car & make it look totally unsuspecting. give the guy some credit hehe.

      This drama wouldn’t have come out if Piquet jr hadn’t been sacked after Hungary.

  10. It is not even as if motor sport is the man’s passion. I also find it a bit off that he gets compensation for effectively bringing the sport into disrepute!

  11. slicecom said on 5th January 2010, 16:26

    I for one am glad to see Flav back. Much happier than if I saw Piquet back, thats for sure.

  12. Can’t stand Briatore and his long-time cheating, so I was glad when he was banned.

    But I can’t stand the FIA either, so I’m equally glad that they’ve had their authority challenged by a real court (as opposed to the many partisan kangaroo nonsense WMSC hearings we have seen).

    Briatore will never manage another F1 team, and the FIA has no teeth. Excellent!

  13. S Hughes said on 5th January 2010, 16:44

    F1 will never be able to drag itself away from sleaze and corruption. What a stupid decision. To Keith’s casual viewers of F1 (and to a few I’ve discussed this with today who are casual viewers), this will tell them that F1 is still mired in filth.

    What an utter injustice.

  14. Wow this sport has some govering issues.

  15. Bartholomew said on 5th January 2010, 17:08

    Go Flava !
    He´ll be back and proving skeptics wrong
    Having won 4 WDC and mentored Shu and Fred, he has the credencials

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