Mosley defends Briatore ban

Former head of Formula One stands firm despite court overturning Briatore life ban.

    The former FIA boss has defended the decision to ban Briatore for life [GALLO/GETTY]
    Former Renault Formula One team boss Flavio Briatore will not escape sanctions for his role in a race-fixing scandal despite a Paris court overturning his lifetime ban, according to ex-FIA president Max Mosley.

    The high court in Paris "ruled the sanction illegal," citing "irregularities" in the FIA's decision in September to ban Briatore for allegedly ordering Nelson Piquet junior to crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

    But Formula One's governing body have insisted that the lifetime suspension from motor sport imposed on Briatore still applies.

    "The idea that in the end, when all the dust has settled, Briatore will get off is fiction. It won't happen," former president Mosley told English newspaper the Times in an interview.

    Lifetime ban

    Mosley headed up the International Automobile Federation (FIA) last year when Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet went to the governing body to tell them he had been ordered by his Renault team to crash deliberately.

    Renault collected a suspended permanent ban while Italian Briatore was barred for life. Piquet was given immunity from punishment.

    A Paris court ruled on Tuesday that Briatore's ban was illegal, and also suggested Mosley had violated "the principal of a separation of the bodies that are responsible for the investigation and for the judgement."

    Former Renault technical director Pat Symonds, who had been handed a five-year ban, also had his suspension overturned.

    Mosley, who was replaced at the FIA by Frenchman Jean Todt, said the court decision would undermine the FIA if allowed to go unchallenged.

    "If we can't sanction somebody for doing what Briatore and (former Renault engineering head Pat) Symonds did, then the whole purpose and basis of the FIA would be in question, because it goes to the heart of safety, of fairness and to all the fundamental points of our activity," he said.

    "The idea that we might say: "Oh, it's all right" would be unthinkable.

    "That would be the end of any credibility for Formula One because you cannot envisage a more serious example of cheating than what happened in Singapore. Not only was it dishonest from the cheating point of view, it put lives in danger."

    Overturned

    Briatore has not ruled out legal action against Nelson Piquet [GALLO/GETTY]
    The FIA said yesterday in a statement the court's decision was "not enforceable until the FIA's appeal options have been exhausted."

    "Until then, the World Motor Sport Council's decision continues to apply," the FIA said.

    "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.

    "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."

    Mosley told the Times that if an FIA appeal failed, the body would change its sporting rules to allow it to exclude "any person who has acted in contravention of the basic rules of sport, or done something dangerous."

    Meanwhile Briatore told the Milan daily La Gazzetta dello Sport that he was considering legal action against Nelson Piquet Jr. and the driver's father over claims they made about his involvement in the "crashgate" scandal.

    Asked whether he intended to take legal action, Briatore said: "Very probably. The damage that was done to me isn't forgotten in a day."

    Briatore also hit out at Mosley, who "always managed the FIA and the world council like his private property."

    In an escalating war of words, Mosley told the Times that Briatore should think twice before contemplating legal action against Piquet and his father.

    "As far as the Piquets are concerned, I expect there will be a counter-suit which would make his eyes water," he said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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