Awaiting Briatore's court battle in Paris burning rubber

Shamed Flavio Briatore faces a French court on Tuesday in his fight to have a lifetime ban from Formula One overturned.

Gulf News

Initially, the flamboyant and mega-wealthy Italian, supremely confident of success, was going solo in his legal squabble with the powers that be, the FIA, the sport's ruling authority.

But he will now be joined by his former Renault team boss Pat Symonds who for his part in the "Crashgate" scandal, when their driver Nelson Piquet says he deliberately crashed his car on their orders in Singapore, was kicked out for five years.

Briatore discounted the wise counsel of Bernie Ecclestone, his good friend and partner in the ownership of Queens Park Rangers, the London football club.

Ecclestone, who personally believes the punishment meted out to Briatore was too severe, advised him not to take his gripe to the French civil court in Paris.

No doubt the mightily powerful Ecclestone's support for Briatore's rail against his ban, if not his actions, already widely expressed, might well have softened the blow of the lifetime exclusion from any connection whatsoever with the sport worldwide.

That includes even personal management of drivers — he has Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber under contract — as well as any association, however remote, with a Grand Prix team. How much influence his part in bidding to rival the FIA and threatening to support a rival championship has played in the outcome that saw him outcast is open to debate.

Symonds, 56, after initially being offered an immunity to reveal what had gone on behind the scenes at the Singapore Grand Prix, was staggered at the severity of his penalty. No action was taken against driver Piquet who did accept the immunity offer... and blew Formula One seedier side into the open.

The eyes and ears of all sport, and all those of us who crave honesty and decency, will be focused on Paris on Tuesday.

 

The writer specialises in motor sport and is based in England

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