Briatore has 'every confidence' F1 ban will be quashed
Disgraced former Renault F1 managing director Flavio Briatore is adamant that he will have the last laugh as the French High Court meets in Paris today to deliberate his appeal over his 'Singapore-gate' lifetime ban from the sport Former Renault F1 managing director Flavio Briatore has revealed that he has 'every confidence' that the effective lifetime ban he received from the top flight for his role in the 'Singapore-gate' race-fixing scandal will be overturned by the French High Court today (Tuesday).
The Italian was barred indefinitely from all aspects of the sport – including driver management – by the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) two months ago, for being deemed guilty as charged of having instructed Nelsinho Piquet to deliberately crash out of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, thereby inducing a safety car period that enabled team-mate Fernando Alonso to triumph in F1's inaugural night race from a disadvantaged grid position following an engine failure in qualifying.
However, Briatore was not present at the WMSC reunion to hear his fate, and he has accused the FIA and more specifically the governing body's recently-departed president Max Mosley of presiding over something akin to a kangaroo court, claiming the decision to ban him had already been made even before the hearing.
He has also suggested that the Englishman – with whom he has rarely seen eye-to-eye, particularly at the height of the FIA/FOTA civil war during the summer – essentially took advantage of the opportunity to force him out in a form of personal revenge.
The 59-year-old has described his unprecedented penalty as a 'legal absurdity' and has berated the FIA for what he regards as a 'deliberate breach of the rights of defence', a 'breach of the rules of natural justice' and a 'manifest excess and abuse of power'. His legal team contend that the WMSC's procedures were against both the FIA International Sporting Code and French law.
Aside from the abolition of his ban, Briatore is also seeking up to €1 million in damages to his reputation, and an official publication of the Tribunal de Grande Instance's ruling, even though he himself is not expected to attend the Paris appeal.
“I have every confidence that the French courts will resolve the matter justly and impartially,” he asserted in a statement, published by the BBC.
Should Briatore's punishment stand, he may find himself removed from the executive board of London club Queens Park Rangers (QPR) for being in violation of the Football League's 'fit and proper person test', which stipulates that someone in such a prominent position must not be 'subject to a ban from involvement in the administration of a sport by a sport's governing body'.
Erstwhile Renault F1 executive director of engineering pat Symonds is similarly due to appeal his own five-year ban at the Tribunal de Grande Instance in the French capital.
Not until January will a verdict be released after Flavio Briatore went before French courts on Tuesday. The Italian, former Managing Director of the Renault team, is attempting to overturn the FIA-imposed ban which currently sees him removed from Formula 1 for life for his part in the Singapore 2008 'Crashgate' race-fixing scandal.
Last Edit: Nov 24, 2009 15:46:36 GMT by Zamoraaaah
Motor racing-Briatore asks French court to overturn life ban Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:18pm GMT Email | Print | Share | Single Page [-] Text [+] PARIS, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore asked a French court to overturn his life ban from Formula One on Tuesday, saying he had been denied his right to a free and fair defence.
The court said it expected to reach a verdict on Jan. 5.
The Italian, who had been a flamboyant figure in the Formula One paddock, also asked for one million euros ($1.50 million) in compensation from the Paris-based International Automobile Federation (FIA) for moral prejudice.
"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 told reporters before the hearing.
Briatore was handed a life ban by the FIA in September for his role in a race-fixing 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. He said he had done so to bring out the safety car and help his 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. The Paris court ruling will be closely watched outside Formula One, with Briatore a co-owner of English Championship (second division) soccer club Queens Park Rangers. If the ban is upheld, the Italian could be forced out of the club under the league's fit-and-proper persons rule. (Reporting by Thierry Leveque; Writing by Bertrand Boucey; Editing by Alan Baldwin; To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org) ((email@example.com; +33 1 49 49 53 70; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org. For Reuters sports blog Left Field go to: blogs.reuters.com/sport/)
Last Edit: Nov 24, 2009 16:01:14 GMT by Zamoraaaah