Flavio Briatore has issued a statement following his victory in the Paris court today against the FIA.
Briatore and his Renault F1 colleague Pat Symonds successfully challenged the bans imposed on them by the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council in September 2009 over the Singapore crash fixing scandal.
The Italian made it clear that he respects the FIA as a body and as a sportsman it took a great deal for him to go outside the jurisdiction of the FIA to the civil courts to seek justice. It is highly unusual for a civil court to overrule a sport’s governing body; they tend to rule that the governing body is competent to manage its own processes. But in this case the court agreed with Briatore’s complaints about the way the case was handled.
As for a possible return to F1, Briatore says that this is on hold while he enjoys the moment and reflects on his next move. The FIA has the right of appeal against today’s decision and may well take it.
“I would like to express my great joy with the decision handed down by the Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance (Regional Court), ” said the statement.
“I believe it important for FIA to play the active role it deserves in automobile competition. As a sports person and one passionately involved in car racing for more than 20 years, the decision to apply to the civil courts to contest a decision of the FIA was a difficult one for me to take.
“The fact that the World Automobile Sport Council had been utilized to deal with a personal agenda aimed at pushing me out of the world of competition left me no other choice.
“The decision handed down today restores to me the dignity and freedom that certain people had arbitrarily attempted to deprive me of.
“The Court recognized that all the criticisms I had formulated against the decision of the World Council were founded, by finding that the FIA had:
– 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 defense
– finally, entrusted the tasks of investigation, prosecution and judgment to a principle player known by all to be hostile to me.
“I believe that justice has been done today.
“Let me take a little time to enjoy this moment of happiness after this difficult period. As concerns my possible return to F1, there is plenty of time to talk about this. I would like first of all to thank the people who remained faithful to me during these difficult moments and who showed me their trust and friendship.”
The fact that he volunteers the subject means that he’s thinking about it very seriously. There is money to be made in F1 these days, thanks to the cost restrictions now imposed. This has attracted businessmen like Gerard Lopez and Tony Fernandes. Briatore knows the ropes far better than both men.