Not many people in the F1 business have challenged the FIA’s authority over the years, so Flavio Briatore will be preening himself this week after a French civil court decreed that the sport’s governing body had exceeded its authority in handing down a lifetime ban on the former Renault F1 team principal.
Briatore, let’s remember, had been handed the ban for engineering Nelson Piquet junior’s deliberate crash during the 2008 Singapore GP, a shunt that ended up tactically assisting Fernando Alonso who went on to win the race. A similar five-year ban on Pat Symonds, Renault’s former executive director of engineering, was also set aside by the court in Paris.
Briatore, who clearly believes that former FIA president Max Mosley was waging a personal vendetta against him, relished the opportunity of seeing himself vindicated in such a public forum, particularly as the FIA was instructed to publicise the decision by means of advertisements in newspapers nominated by Briatore and Symonds.
Briatore claimed that he had been vindicated as the FIA had been found to have “rendered a decision that it was not competent to pronounce ,infringed its own articles of association, totally failed to respect my right to a fair defence, finally, entrusted the tasks of investigation, prosecution and judgment to a principal player known by all to be hostile to me.”