Briatore and Symonds accept three-year F1 ban in Singapore crash settlement

Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds can return to F1 in 2013

Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds have agreed not to pursue further legal action against the FIA over the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix scandal.

In exchange for the FIA dropping the case the pair have agreed not to have any “operational role” in Formula 1 until the end of 2012, or any other FIA competition until the end of 2011, according to an FIA statement.

The agreement should help bring to an end the row over Nelson Piquet Jnr’s infamous crash in the race, which Briatore and Symonds orchestrated to help Fernando Alonso win the race.

The FIA statement read:

[Briatore and Symonds] have undertaken to abstain from having any operational role in Formula One until 31 December 2012, as well as in all the other competitions registered on the FIA calendars until the end of the 2011 sporting season.

They have also abandoned all publicity and financial measures resulting from the judgement of 5 January 2010, as well as any further action against the FIA on the subject of this affair.

In return, they have asked the FIA to abandon the ongoing appeal procedure, but without the FIA recognising the validity of the criticisms levelled against the WMSC?s decision of 21 September 2009, as well as to waive the right to bring any new proceedings against them on the subject of this affair.
FIA statement

Briatore was originally handed the equivalent of a lifetime ban by the FIA and Symonds was excluded from the sport for a minimum of five years. He succeeded in overturning the decision at the Tribune de Grande Instance in January.

The FIA repeated its criticism of that decision today, saying it “revealed a poor understanding of how the disciplinary procedure before the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) works.”

However the FIA has made significant changes to how World Motor Sports Council decisions are made, taking the FIA president out of the process.

Although Briatore and Symonds’ punishments have been significantly reduced, the FIA can now at least say that two of the guilty parties have been disciplined, when for a while it looked as through no punishments at all would be handed down for the conspiracy. Nelson Piquet Jnr was offered immunity in exchange for revealing the plot.

But Piquet looks set to remain unpunished. The FIA considers this the end of the matter:

Considering that the judgment of 5 January 2010 concerned only the form and not the substance of the WMSC?s decision of 21 September 2009, and that the undertakings and renunciation of all claims expressed by Mr Flavio Briatore and Mr Pat Symonds are in line with what the WMSC is seeking, the FIA President has considered that it is in the best interests of the FIA not to allow the perpetuation of these legal disputes, which have received a great deal of media coverage and which, regardless of the outcome, are very prejudicial to the image of the FIA and of motor sport, and thus to accept this settlement solution, thereby putting an end to this affair.
FIA statement

Read the full statement here.

2008 Singapore crash scandal

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79 comments on Briatore and Symonds accept three-year F1 ban in Singapore crash settlement

  1. Bartholomew said on 12th April 2010, 20:32

    Go Flava !!! the next Bernie

    Singapore was the Austerlitz of Briatore

  2. theRoswellite said on 12th April 2010, 20:50

    Seems, obviously, like a light punishment all round, or the “unpunishment” in Jr’s case.

    If Briatore never returns it is a sad way to close his many years in F1, he always seemed to be the definition of someone living by their wits. A fellow with no expertise in anything technical, but a very shrewd judge of racing talent. I guess, in the end, it simply all ran a muck. Values be damned, lets get a win…a decision for the moment…that one lives with…for the duration!

    Very disappointing, especially by Symonds. He always seemed, from the vantage point of my more than slightly removed hill, to be a rather stand-up fellow.

    How Jr’s life could have been different, if he’d simply driven around to the pits, parked it, gotten out and announced that he was through. Of course the fun part for all of us would have come when he announced exactly why he was quitting…might want a cooperating witness!

  3. Baron said on 12th April 2010, 21:17

    Can’t help thinking that if Piquet were left to his own devices instead of being “pushed” into F1 by his father, then Nelson may not have had such a lurid end to his racing career. Piquet Snr was always a bully and an arrogant SOB and I blame him for the Renault fiasco or at least Jnr’s role in it. Jnr was not allowed to take a leak without Daddies permission and the poor sod wasn’t even allowed to have his own name from birth!.

    • I agree. I do feel sorry for Jnr (and anyone else in that situation) in that respect. But while I accept no one wants to disappoint their parents, there is always the option of growing some cojones and standing up to the old bully…

  4. In a bit of irony, the ruling in January appears to let Flav keep his UK soccer team holdings. So now two sports will get to enjoy the hijinks of a known, ruthless match-fixer. The reversal was unecessary in every sense. Vijay Mallya is serving as quality successor in the billionnaire playboy role on grid.

  5. johnno said on 12th April 2010, 21:51

    How is it fair that McLaren get fined $50 million for copying a tiny piece of ferrari when the only thing that happens to renault is their managers get banned when they stage a crash and threaten the lives of drivers and spectators and mess up a championship?

    No consistency to the punishments from the FIA.

    • steph said on 12th April 2010, 22:06

      I never had a problem with the Mclaren fine. My issue was that Renault should have been punished in 07 too. This is different too as Sing was only 3 people and Renault’s future was uncertain so they couldn’t slap the full team with a massive fine as it wouldn’t be fair and could have led to Renault pulling out altogether

    • Brian Baum said on 13th April 2010, 1:26

      >Johnno: “Copying a tiny piece of Ferrari?” Do you seriously think having and USING the entire plans for your main competitor’s car, as well as knowing their strategies down to when they would make their pit stop, is a ‘tiny’ transgression? By the way, it was a $100 million fine (not $50 million) and McLaren deserved EVERY penny of it.

  6. S Hughes said on 12th April 2010, 22:30

    Piquet should definitely be allowed back. He isn’t as poor a driver as his results showed. He basically had one hand tied behind his back by Briatore. Totally unfair.

  7. Mike "the bike" Schumacher said on 12th April 2010, 22:31

    At least it’s finally over. :)
    Although you never know with F1. :(

    • David A said on 12th April 2010, 23:12

      Hopefully we can now put all the politics and controversy behind us and concentrate on the racing on track.

  8. Gusto said on 12th April 2010, 23:35

    It`s not what you know, It`s who you know ;-)

  9. David said on 13th April 2010, 1:38

    The best possible solution all round!
    The evidence to convict was shaky at best – less the testimony of a disgruntled and about to be fired, underperforming driver.

    To date, I could not see Jean Todt making any improvement to a seriously flawed FIA. It looks as if I may have been wrong. A few more like decisions on his part and I will gladly admit that I was wrong – painful though that may be.

  10. wasiF1 said on 13th April 2010, 1:53

    Even if they come back in 2013 will anyone want Briatore and Symonds in their team? If they set up their own team will anyone work there?

    • theRoswellite said on 13th April 2010, 5:30

      If these guys owned the moon, it would turn out to be Limburger.

      • David said on 13th April 2010, 9:02

        And an expedition to go up there and harvest this disgusting gourmet treat would naturally be over-funded by an army of eager investors.

    • steph said on 13th April 2010, 10:56

      I think they’ll be back. Flav’s rich and successful, Symonds is technically brilliant and successful so I think they would be wanted. I doubt they will set up their own team but if they did then yes, I think people would work there.

  11. paxdog57 said on 13th April 2010, 6:40

    It seems the Piquet Gate will go down as a “racing” incident. A black mark to the sport. Schumacher stopping in the Monaco tunnel was another.

    Now Flav can avoid his lifetime ban and once more pursue F1. Baseball’s Pete Rose must be jealous.

    So the FIA will monitor teams to make sure teammates are racing and not deliberating crashing. A fine line, good luck Mr. Todt.

  12. Ronman said on 13th April 2010, 6:59

    I’m of the school that says Briatore should have been punished harder and never let back into F1… Same goes to Piquet and Simonds….

  13. Accidental Mick said on 13th April 2010, 7:21

    I didn’t want to see Todt as President and voted against him in the poll but the decisions taken lately by the FIA might have taken away one of my hobbies – whingeing about the FIA. Also, Todt seemingly keeping a low profile is only in comparison to the public postureing we were used to from Mosely.

    We mustn’t forget that the problems with punishing Briatore and Simmonds were a result of Mosely’s vindictiveness and his conviction that he could run the FIA as his personal fifedom which left the door open to an appeal.

  14. K. Chandra Shekhar said on 13th April 2010, 7:51

    Now that CrashGate is over what about those involved with StepneyGate?

  15. PeterG said on 13th April 2010, 8:11

    I have predicted some political scandal involving Briatore this year. The best is yet to come ;-)

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