Bernie Ecclestone has claimed the lifetime ban imposed on Flavio Briatore for his part in Formula One’s race-fix scandal was too harsh.
Ecclestone said he believed it correct that Renault were given a two-year suspended ban, but that the punishment for Briatore went too far.
“If you look at it sensibly, the people at the top had not the slightest idea," said Ecclestone. "The people in the Renault F1 team had not the slightest idea.”
“There were three people who knew what was going on and that is it. No one else was involved. Those people have been dealt with – in my view quite harshly in [regards to] Flavio.
“I don't think it was necessary, but I was on the commission so I am probably just as guilty as anyone else. On reflection it wasn't necessary. It was too much. Definitely too much."
Ecclestone believes Briatore could have avoided such a punishment if he had owned up to what he had done like technical director Pat Symonds.
“Firstly he [Flavio] was invited to appear [in front of the World Motor Sport Council] and his lawyers wrote and said the FIA have no jurisdiction as far as he is concerned, which was probably right.
"But it was not the right thing to say. It would have been just as easy to go – to say: 'I was caught with my hand in the till, it seemed a good idea at the time, and I am sorry.' There is an organisation that works very, very well on that idea – where the people go to a box and confess..."