Briatore starts F1 appeal

Disgraced ex-Renault boss asks French court to overturn Formula One life ban.

    Briatore called the life ban a 'legal absurdity' [AFP]
    Former Renault boss Flavio Briatore has requested a French court overturn his life ban from Formula One for his role in a race-fixing scandal at last year's Singapore Grand Prix.

    Briatore claims he has been denied his right to a free and fair defence.

    The flamboyant Italian also requested $1.50 million in compensation from the Paris-based International Automobile Federation (FIA) for moral prejudice.

    The court said it expected to reach a verdict on January 5.

    "My client only aims to be able to do what he wants and to recover his freedom... He is calm and determined," Briatore's lawyer Philippe Ouakrat said before the hearing.

    Life ban

    In a statement released when he announced his intention to appeal, Briatore said: "I have every confidence that the French courts will resolve the matter justly and impartially."

    He added that the penalty against him was a "legal absurdity" and went on to accuse the FIA of a "deliberate breach of the rights of the defence", a "breach of the rules of natural justice" and a "manifest excess and abuse of power".

    Briatore was handed a life ban by the FIA in September for his role in the scandal at last year's Singapore Grand Prix.

    Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet Jr, who was dropped by Renault in August, told the FIA he had been told to crash deliberately in that race to bring out the safety car and help Spanish team mate Fernando Alonso win the race.

    Former champions Renault were handed a suspended permanent ban.

    According to his lawyer, Briatore believes the FIA was not entitled to hand out indefinite sanctions and that his ban was not imposed by an impartial judge because of his strained relationship with then FIA president Max Mosley.

    The Italian also says the whole procedure was flawed as it was partly based on an anonymous witness, who was not named.

    Briatore also faces punishment from English football club Queens Park Rangers he co-owns.

    If the ban is upheld, the Italian could be forced out of the Championship club under the league's fit-and-proper persons rule.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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