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Why Flavio’s win should make the FIA take note.

January 5, 2010
Flavio Briatore: he can be back, if he want...

Flavio Briatore: he can be back, if he want...

Before it emerged that Flavio had won his case, I completely felt that it was wrong and he could never succeed. He had caused too much damage and was old news from the sport. How wrong I was.

But looking at it now, it isn’t that surprising and it could be the right decision.

Flavio had previously said:

“In this case, the FIA has been used as a tool to exact vengeance on behalf of one man,

“This decision is a legal absurdity and I have every confidence that the French courts will resolve the matter justly and impartially.”

That hardly seems fair or a proper use of power if that indeed was the case.

Piquet was ordered to crash to bring out the safety car and thus benefit teammate Alonso’s strategy. The Brazilian revealed the sorry tale after he had been fired (some questioned his motivation for doing so) and was granted immunity. Symonds, the head of engineering, was given a five year ban but when it came to Briatore he was slapped a lifetime ban. Does that seem proportionate?

Many saw this as a chance for the Mosley man, who was president at the time, to give his old rival a parting shot but it is unlikely he alone could bully the FIA into handing out a lifetime ban. Especially when Mosley was on his way out anyway. Maybe it was more likely to be a collective decision to get rid of Briatore.

To get rid of a man as powerful as Flavio the case had to be watertight and it appeared so – a mysterious witness ‘Mr X’ popping up to seal Briatore’s fate.

With all these factors against Briatore it is amazing that the FIA allowed there to be any way in which the former-Renault boss was able to appeal. Their haste seems to be there undoing, whie the case was watertight the legal process was not followed. The FIA handing out such a huge ban is excessive and beyond their powers. “The court ruled the sanction was illegal,” the judge told the Paris court.

The FIA’s hard work was worthless then, and to add insult to injury, Briatore was even given compensation.

The Singapore race fix was almost certainly the biggest F1 scandal of recent times and has ended with two guilty men escaping with little punishment. Perhaps a little more care should be taken when the reputation of the sport is at risk and situations like these could be avoided.

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