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Briatore, Symonds Ban Overturned

by F1Fan on January 6, 2010

The Flav (Flavio Briatore) may yet get to be in Motor Racing once again if the French courts have anything to do with it.

The French Court hearing Briatore and Symonds case against the FIA overturned Briatore’s life time ban and Symonds 5 year ban that the FIA imposed following its investigation of the Nelson Piquet’s intentional crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

Commenting on the French courts recent decision Briatore claimed complete exoneration, however its not quite as black and white as that. The courts decision was really just based upon the fact that they found the FIA did not have the power to ban Briatore and Symmonds because the pair were never licensed by the FIA

In fact the court rejected Briatore’s 1 Million Euro ($1,440,000) claim awarding only $21,600 in compensation and made no finding as to whether or not Briatore or Symmonds were involved in the now infamous Nelson Piquet crash. A point that the FIA stressed at some length in its prepared statement following the outcome of the recent court case:

The FIA notes the Decision of the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris in relation to Mr. Briatore and Mr. Symonds.

The Court has rejected the claims for damages made by Mr. Briatore and Mr. Symonds and their claim for an annulment of the FIA’s decision. In particular, the Court did not examine the facts and has not reversed the FIA’s finding that both Briatore and Symonds conspired to cause an intentional crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

However, the Court did question the FIA’s authority to impose bans upon Mr. Briatore and Mr. Symonds for procedural reasons and because they are not FIA licence holders and, according to the Court, are therefore not subject to any FIA rules. The FIA’s ability to exclude those who intentionally put others’ lives at risk has never before been put into doubt and the FIA is carefully considering its appeal options on this point.

The Court’s decision is not enforceable until the FIA’s appeal options have been exhausted. Until then, the World Motor Sport Council’s decision continues to apply.

In addition, the FIA intends to consider appropriate actions to ensure that no persons who would engage, or who have engaged, in such dangerous activities or acts of intentional cheating will be allowed to participate in Formula One in the future.

It looks very much like the FIA isn’t going to roll over on this issue and an appeal is highly likely. It will be interesting to see what finally transpires. I bet Max Mosely is not a happy camper right now, thank God he is no longer president of the FIA, otherwise we may have seen the second coming of the spanish inquisition.

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