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Briatore wins big against FIA, as Renault confirms Boullier
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Briatore wins big against FIA, as Renault confirms Boullier
Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Jan 2010   |  4:10 pm GMT  |  79 comments

Flavio Briatore and his former Renault colleague Pat Symonds have won their court case against the FIA in Paris. The judge has ordered that the bans against both men must be lifted and has ordered the FIA to send out a message to all teams to that effect. It has 15 days in which to do so. The FIA has indicated that it may well appeal.

Darren Heath

Darren Heath


The case was related to the Singapore crash fixing scandal in which Nelson Piquet Junior alleged that Briatore and Symonds got him to crash deliberately in order to help his team mate Fernando Alonso.

The subsequent FIA hearing into the affair ended with Briatore being banned from motor sport for life and Symonds for five years. But Briatore felt that the case was not handled correctly by the FIA, then under the control of Max Mosley and rather than appeal through FIA channels, as his friend Bernie Ecclestone urged him to do, he took his case to the Tribune de Grande Instance in Paris. Briatore said his right to a fair defence to the charges was flouted.

Although Briatore has won big, he has not been awarded the damages he was hoping for. He was seeking €1 million in damages from the FIA but the judge has awarded him €15,000 and Symonds €5,000.

Although the verdict is made public, under French law the reasons are kept private, but more details may emerge later if Briatore’s lawyer speaks to the media.

Briatore is likely to return to F1 immediately through his driver management business which looks after Red Bull’s Mark Webber and Lotus F1′s Heikki Kovalainen. The question is whether Briatore will be satisfied with that or whether he might move to take control of another team. With the cost control agreement, for which he fought so hard, now in place it is possible for a well run team to be profitable and Briatore has always been good at finding sponsors.

Although the ban has been lifted, the question of his guilt over the crash fixing allegations remains. The court said that the sanction was lifted. If he is neverthless guilty what will the sanction be?

Unlike Symonds, who admitted guilt, Briatore always denied the allegations and there is only the word of Piquet and Witness X to implicate Briatore. Although an internal Renault investigation is thought to have concluded that Briatore was responsible and he and Symonds left the team before the FIA hearing, it will be interesting to see how the FIA perceives his status now. The lifting of the ban will help him maintain his director’s role at his football team QPR.

A few hours before the verdict was announced, Renault took the step of announcing that 36 year old Frenchman Eric Boullier has taken over Briatore’s old role as Renault team principal.

Picture 65
Boullier is rising star of French motorsport management. He has worked at DAMS GP2 team and was the boss of the French team in A1 GP. He moved to Gravity Sports Management last year, which is linked with tech investor Gerard Lopez, who acquired a controlling interest in the UK based team at Christmas.

Boullier revealed that the budget is fixed for 2010 and that the second driver would have to be someone “able to score points and challenge Robert Kubica.”

Kubica’s manager Daniele Morelli revealed yesterday that his concerns about the new owners of the team had been answered and confirmed that his driver would stay with Renault despite the change of ownership.
“We are going in the right direction,” said Morelli. “There were no doubts, really, but it was very important we understood who were in the key roles in the team and of course also the budget – it is fundamental you have that for the updates to the car.”

The second Renault seat is now probably the most competitive seat still open for the 2010 season. Gravity has some drivers under contract but they are probably all too inexperienced at this stage, with the possible exception of GP2 driver Jerome D’Ambrosio, who was ninth in last season’s GP2 series with no wins. Bertrand Baguette, the Belgian driver who tested for Renault at the Young Guns test in November and who won last year’s World Series by Renault (as Kubica did) remains an outside chance.

BBC revealed before Christmas that Lopez had introduced Boullier to the staff and he has now been at work for a few weeks. “When I started in the job it quickly became clear that the staff’s morale had been affected by the end of the 2009 season and that the last few weeks had been quite challenging, ” said Boullier. “However, the team is now very motivated thanks to the new philosophy that the Renault F1 Team wants to implement.

“I will concentrate solely on the sporting and performance aspects. Bob Bell will oversee the Design Office, Production and the technical development of the car.”

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79 Comments
  1. fernando says:

    perfect. let’s wait and see the reaction of jead todt – is he the max mosley or is he something different. with ron’s comments about spygate and this win from flavio it quite clear that punishments and cases against some teams were just personal relations of max mosley.

    1. Freespeech says:

      Thank havens Mosley is no longer in charge :!:

      1. ElChiva says:

        We will soon find out about that

  2. Jameson says:

    Wait, these jokers conspired to have one of their drivers crash into a wall endangering the lives of Piquet Jr, every other driver on the circuit, the race marshals, and they get paid for it?! How is this fair to McLaren and their $100 million penalty for corporate espionage that endangered no lives whatsoever?

    1. Freespeech says:

      What has fairness got to do with anything that happened under Mosley’s governance :?: :?
      It’s clear for all to see how Mosley conducted his vendettas whilst in charge of all things to do with F1, thank the lord he’s no longer in charge

      1. ElChiva says:

        Mossley got his pound of flesh… he was happy enough to let it go, starting with Piquet Jnr.

  3. Tom Adams says:

    Villeneuve… James… Villeneuve… :)
    Thats what Renault want.
    Whats his chance do you think?
    Fingers crossed for some good news..

    1. Freespeech says:

      No No, you need a chill pill mate, he’d be no good in F1, was never that good (in F1) in his prime 8)

      1. Tom Adams says:

        Sure freespeech, well in your opinion of course and you know what they say about opinions!
        For what its worth, my opinion, JV is still better than most of the current F1 drivers and could help transform that Renault team.
        Heres hoping for some good news.. :)

    2. Tonksy says:

      ‘James’ Villeneuve? Is that Jacques’ less talented younger brother? Maybe he could bring some Ralf-esque comedy back that the sport so dearly needs.

  4. Freespeech says:

    James, maybe you can clear this up but it is a matter of record (so he has been quoted as saying) that rather than being sacked he resigned!
    So was he sacked or did he resign as there is a huge difference between the two?

    Another point, not that it has been proven in a proper court that Mosley’s regime was flawed in the way they conducted certain business what is the possibility of McLaren challenging their ludicrous $100 million fine as not being proper, fair or appropriate to the crime they were accused?

    1. ElChiva says:

      they didn’t have the guts then, what makes you think they have them now?

    2. Martin Collyer says:

      It’s a bit late, two years after the event. Surely that would count against McLaren in court.

      Didn’t Ferrari lose their case against the FIA this year because they failed to take an opportunity to use their veto over regulations promptly?

  5. Ethan X says:

    Can’t believe Briatore has the right to go back to F1 after what he did …..

    [mod]

    Stay home Briatore

    1. Freespeech says:

      So what has it been PROVEN in a fair law abidng court he’s done?

  6. ian says:

    well, i count this as a sad day for motorsport and justice in general – a man who was found to be guilty of a serious crime, not only by the FIA, but by his own team, has now been absolved of all responsibilty!
    i sincerely hope that he is blocked at all turns in any attempts to come back into the paddock for any team – surely all of this will have left the majority in F1 with little or no trust in or respect for him????

    1. ElChiva says:

      Justice in general?

      He was convicted in abscence. The investigator, prosecutor, judge and executioner was the same person. The same person who called him a lunatic in the press some months before.

      The accusation was based on the statement of a disgruntled ex-employee, and a seccret witness.

      A a non-license holder Briatore was not even subject to the court.

      Very good old fashioned 1939 justice.

    2. Freespeech says:

      Surely it’s a good day for justice as the court has found that the FIA court did not serve justice :?:

      Mosley’s to blame for this, nobody else :!:

      1. Martin Collyer says:

        “Mosley’s to blame for this…”

        Yes, 100%.

  7. Chris says:

    I wonder how long it will take for a team to snap up Pat.

    so no Heidfeld at Renault?

  8. Jacques Villeneuve, he’s worked with Renault before, run their engines before, and would surely like to prove himself against Robert who replaced him after a crash. There are 7 seats up for grabs, need I remind you in 3 races at Renault he even outqualified Alonso in the first race. Better Renault than USF1.

    1. Dave Brent says:

      Jacques Villeneuve did not do well with Renault in 2004 as it’s explained here. https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Jacques_Villeneuve#2004:_Renault

      I think he is great, but I think few people in F1 agree with me. I don’t think Briatore is one of them.

      It’s a shame since F1 have a lot of less competent drivers.

  9. rpaco says:

    This is a disaster!
    Surely Mark Webber and Hekki have got new managers by now. Any manager/driver contract which did not allow this would be an “unfair contract”.
    Flav may be seen floating over the tracks this season, his ego so inflated, a sad and bad day for the sport, with the carefully chosen French Judiciary effectively condoning cheating.
    The FIA should change its legal base to Switzerland. It needs to impose an aggressive alternate punishment now immediately, it can start with a 1mEuro fine and a 2year ban from all circuits.
    Any team that employs Flav should be disqualified.

    1. monktonnik says:

      I think that Webber went on record as saying that he wanted to stay with Flavio.

    2. Freespeech says:

      Why is it a disaster :?: All courts have to act with the law don’t they :?:
      Blame Max spanker Mosley, nobody else.

      If fairness had played its part then Renault would have been rightly banned from F1 :!:

    3. Martin Collyer says:

      It’s only a disaster if you allow Briatore’s interpretation of the French ruling to get to you.

      The actual facts of Singapore 2008 have NOT been re-examined, it’s the FIA’s processes that have been examined and found to be severely wanting.

      It can be argued, probably was, that the FIA have no authority over someone who is not an FIA license holder. Nevertheless, the facts of Singapore 2008 are well known now (telemetry, Witness X’s evidence, Renault’s acceptance of a conspiracy and decision not to contest the charges.).

      The French court has not “..effectively condoned cheating…”. It has found that the FIA failed to act properly.

      A further thought. Has anything been said by the French court about the FIA appearing to drip-feed stories/news/allegations prior to the World Council hearing?

  10. bond007 says:

    james….. so, is this final? can FIA appeal or they have to just accept the verdict….
    flavio’s return will be grt for F1….. no one can deny his team leading abilities…..one who brought schumi and alonso to top…..

  11. Zami from Melbourne, Australia says:

    This is nothing but direct insult to the sport and the fans. Of course Flavio denied the allegations. It doesn’t mean that he was not guilty of race fixing. Crash-gate is the worst piece of scandal F1 has ever seen. Pat Symonds, Flavio Briatore and Nelson Piquet all should’ve been banned from the sport. If people can get away with kind of act it just proves that you don’t have to be loyal or honest to become successful. You can be a cheater and still have everything you want. Plus he was compensated!!! What a shame!!! That race basically changed the concepts of the whole season. Lewis Hamilton’s title has a black mark on it because of that race. On the other hand, Massa might have missed out on the world championship (maybe would’ve been his only world title) because of that race, and these culprits got away with that!!! If they are hired by any team how would we know what’s real and what’s fixed!!! Oh I can’t hide my frustrations!!!

    Congratulations to Eric Boullier. This is the biggest opportunity of his short career. He is going to make it or break it. Hopefully Boullier wouldn’t follow the same footsteps of Briatore.

    Kubica is too good to be in that team. He maybe should’ve sticked with BMW instead. Not having a good package and uncertainty about the team’s future is going to bring the best out of him. What a waste of talent!

    1. Freespeech says:

      The law is the law and neither Mosley or the FIA are beyond it.
      Many a man walk free because what it is they are charged with cannot be PROVEN in a court of law.
      The fact is Max Mosley let his nasty vindictive side get the better of him with his want of ridding another foe from F1 :!:

  12. DC says:

    Is not Heidfeld the only choice really for Renault? He and Kubica drove well together at BMW….They want someone to push him and score points and you can’t argue with Heidfelds consistency.

  13. Harvey Yates says:

    It’s not often I can say ‘I told you so’ and I would dearly love to pose in this matter but I would also have to accept that everyone I spoke with at the time of the original punishment and since, including the French courts, were of the same opinion. The punishment was just plain wrong.

    He was not tried, he was not given a chance to defend himself, there was no real evidence presented to the court. How could he be punished?

    It was similar to the post Indy fiasco, the one car race. One lawyer came out of the hearing saying that it was the first time he’d had a client found guilty without being charged.

    Not to mention the comments of Carman on his deathbed regarding the Verstappen fire.

    You’d think, wouldn’t you, that if even those of us with just a smattering of law could see what was wrong with the banning of Briatore without a hearing, some bloke who was trained as a barrister could have spotted it.

    And Freespeech: as for McLaren and the supposed £100,000,000 fine, I can remember only one post-hearing mention of it. I have my doubts that much of it actually came out of Dennis’ coffers. There was more to Mosley being forced to shake hands with Dennis on the steps – not even inside – the Mclaren HQ in apology for errors in Stepneygate than just a photo opportunity. I suppose we will never know what really happened.

    Let’s hope this is the final nail and the stake is in its rightful place. We can move on.

    The coming season promises to be exciting, bewildering and unpredictable. The reputation of more than one ex world champion would appear to be on the line. Come to that, more than two or even three.

    Todt so far does not seem to be Mosley Mk II so I have to admit that in this case I cannot say ‘I told you so’. I am tempted to add the rider ‘Not yet, anyway.’ but I won’t. Todt’s response to the court’s decision will be interesting. Will he accept it? If he doesn’t then I fear we are doomed.

    Roll on the lights going out. We can forget about all the sordid goings on and watch a race or two.

    1. rpaco says:

      “He was not tried, he was not given a chance to defend himself, there was no real evidence presented to the court. How could he be punished?”
      He chose not to go and defend himself because he was guilty, his only hope was to get the punishment declared void, which has happened.
      If you think that being able to rig crashes is ok then you must be a Flav fan.

      1. Harvey Yates says:

        I’m no fan of Flav. And, despite believing F1 is the poorer for his leaving, I’m glad he’s gone. I’ve disliked him since the Benetton days.

        However, the way the procedures were run, neither he nor Pat had a chance to defend themselves. To me, any punishment is therefore is wrong.

        I think cheating in F1 is a massive threat to the sport. I don’t mind a little bit of rule bending or inspired interpretations of the rules like the Brabham fan car, but the rumours of ‘everything but cruise control’ and the result of the so-called enquiry into the fuel rig tampering made me wonder why I bothered.

        That said, whilst I believe that Briatore – not to mention other senior figures in the team – was at fault, the real villian of the piece is the person who let him get away with such moves.

        We do not know what went on with regards the Piquet crash. I’ve got my thoughts, albeit based on prejudice against Briatore and a respect for Symonds, but I’ve not looked at all the evidence, examined the cases for and against, listened to Briatore’s point of view so can come to no evidenced conclusion.

        That puts me in an identical position to the FIA panel.

        Even the guilty are entitlted to due process. Perhaps especially them.

      2. rpaco says:

        I repeat he was given the date of the enquiry and he chose not to go and defend himself.

        Even if totally innocent of everything else, as Piquet’s manager he was duty bound to advise, nay instruct Piquet not to crash deliberately. He must be banned from managing again.

        The French court only ruled on the matter of the FIA’s entitlement to punish, not on the sentence itself despite the twisted interpretation Flav has been spouting recently.
        This is rather like the court ruling that the OFT did not have the right to prosecute the banks over unfair and disproportionate fees. Allowing them free reign to continue fleecing their customers. (mmm is there an unintended extra dimension there??)

      3. Harvey Yates says:

        Rpaco,

        My understanding is that the court found there were major procedureal irregularities. In layman’s terms this means that it was nor run correctly.

        Further, there was no trial as such so Briatore could not defend himself. He was not charged. Renault F1 were and they did not contest it. After all, Mosley stated in a press conference less than a fornight after the investigation started: ‘[this is] very big if, they [Renault] are guilty, obviously it is very serious indeed.’

        Mosley then went on to have a dig at McLaren over Stepneygate saying that they: ‘did not tell the truth, so that went against them. But on the other hand, what is alleged to have been done here, is probably more serious.’

        Firstly, of course, this apparently goes against what he said when he prostrated himself in front of Ron Dennis after Stepneygate. Also McLaren denied all along that they lied and this was never proved.

        Many people might take Mosley’s comments as a threat to Renault F1. Accept it or else sort of thing.

        In the end it would appear that, despite what was alleged being ‘more serious’ than what happened with Stepney, Renault were hardly punished at all.

        Jut to clarify, I am not defending Briatore. However, if his punishment was not according to procedures, the FIA’s own or what is acceptable generally, then it is improper. One wrong does not justify another.

        I would not expect Briatore to return to F1. Let’s face it, he has retired once before and was coaxed back by Renault. This is not likely to happen again.

        The important question is what the FIA will do. They’ve come out of this with more than egg on their face. Todt could, quite properly, pass this off as an error of Mosley’s time. Nothing to do with his new regime. I’d buy that.

    2. Martin Collyer says:

      “…the comments of Carman on his deathbed…”

      What were the comments Harvey, this sounds fascinating. Please share with us what you know.

      1. Harvey Yates says:

        Martin,

        A Google search for George Carter Mosley provides a number of authorative sources but one I like is on the Autsport site.

        If James allows a bit of linking:

        http://forums.autosport.com/index.php?showtopic=57753

        Well worth a read.

        It says a lot about Carman but it says so much more about Mosley.

        The other links are interesting as well. I used to run an F1 website fanzine and when I ran the story, with some comments of my own, it generated my biggest mailbox.

        I supppose we were all ‘concerned’ about the FIA’s decision in the matter but the actual facts went further than I would have dreamed.

        Enjoy.

        Derek

      2. Martin Collyer says:

        Thanks Harvey, I remember the fuel filter row, who could forget the fire?

        It reinforces my views about what has gone on with regard to FIA/Briatore, especially Dominic Carman’s description of his Father’s view of “…bodies such as the FIA…disciplinary hearings and acting as a quasi-court…were pretty poor compared to a normal court…”

  14. Andrew Hill says:

    The small fine speaks volumes to the extent the Judge feels Flavio has ‘as a matter of fact’ been wronged.

    McLaren’s fine certainly looks hugely disproportional although I sense Ron has more dignity than to reopen old wounds.

  15. Ads21 says:

    “Boullier revealed that the budget is fixed for 2010 and that the second driver would have to be someone “able to score points and challenge Robert Kubica.””

    Somebody to challenge Kubica? the obvious candidate would be the man who beat him over the past 3 and a half seasons at BMW Sauber. Heidfeld is by far the best driver who is still available and considering Sauber appear to be lining up de la Rosa it must mean Heidfeld is close to a Renault deal. Sauber wouldn’t choose de la Rosa over Heidfeld if quick Nick was still available.

    1. James Allen says:

      Couldn’t agree more about Heidfeld

      1. Martin P says:

        Off the main thread here James, but why is Heidfeld still standing in line as “the last boy to be picked”?

        He’s consistent, he’s quick and a solid point scorer. So why, with so many seats on the grid, is he still unemployed?

        Awkward? Expensive? Not rated? I don’t get it, he doesn’t even have ginger hair.

      2. James Allen says:

        Ha Ha. I don’t get it either. He’s the perfect foil for Kubica, especially if you aren’t looking for a driver with cash

      3. Jameson says:

        Ever since in was announced that Button was leaving the Mercedes GP team for McLaren I have been wondering the exact same thing. Then of course Schumacher was given a seat in the Silver Arrow.

        My next thought was that Renault would pick him up, but there hasn’t been any news about Heidfeld from them. I’m completely baffled as to why, out of everyone, Heidfeld doesn’t yet have a ride for 2010.

        Heidfeld has done more than Kubica with the cars that BMW Sauber has provided them, so statistically he should have a seat. The only reason I can even see as legitimate is his age–this year Heidfeld will be 33 while Kubica will be 26.

  16. Ginger says:

    He is charmed that fella! He will be back in F1 as he wants his revenge and stick two fingers up to the FIA.

    Lucky lucky man.

    1. Freespeech says:

      Luck wasn’t involved here it was the spiteful work of Max Mosley.
      No proper trial took place and the guilty parties and punishment was decided before anyone even entered the FIA court.

      The French court was right to find in Flavio’s favour.

      Max Mosley should be tried for bringing the FIA into disrepute :!:

  17. F1 Kitteh says:

    The only indisputable fact we know is that Piquet Jr is a guilty party in the crime because he committed it. What Briatore and Symonds did or knew, we might never find out. It will be interesting to see if this leads to criminal action against NPJ ?

  18. krad says:

    Do you reckon there any chance of a “retrial” under the new administration? I’m no fan of Briatore and do think he should be punished if there was found to be guilty, but at the same time there was a stink of kangaroo court about the whole affair.

    1. ElChiva says:

      Wow! if the FIA rules allow someone not under their jurisdiction (non-license holder) to be put under trial twice for the same crime is time to move on and start a breakaway series… before they start prosecuting fans refusing to cheer for the team/driver they choose to favor on a given GP.

      1. Rob Silver says:

        Are you seriously suggesting that team principals, managers and other team members should not be under FIA jurisdiction regarding rules, safety or other regulation?

        The FIA must have control over every facet, else who’s going to stop downright dangerous criminal actions like Crashgate?

      2. ElChiva says:

        I am not suggesting i’m just stating a fact

      3. Martin Collyer says:

        As far as I remember Rob, teams ARE responsible for the actions of their employees, from most senior to most junior.

        The difficulty here was surely that the FIA didn’t want to lose Renault from F1, the way they handled the whole affair was just plain wrong.

      4. Rob Silver says:

        Where was the statement of fact in the last part of your post? You clearly don’t think that Briatore should be punished for what he did. I’ve not actually seen anyone argue he was innocent, only that Mosley used the FIA to overpunish him for personal reasons.

        He’s still guilty, he should still be punished. He doesn’t have a place in F1 anymore if he’s genuinely guilty of planning, or partly planning, or even suggesting a driver crash deliberately for any reason.

  19. Jeremy says:

    This is good news for Lopez as well since Briatore and him are good friends. There was already rumor he was a front for Flavio’s ownership. Once the deal was done today, we’re going to see Flavio take up a big stake of Genii’s investment now.

    Kubica is in for a ride I presume.

    1. ElChiva says:

      Praise the lord! Amen!

      If only that turned out to be true!!!

  20. Damian Johnson says:

    The French Courts decision to overturn the FIA decision confirms what we all knew about FIA being a kangaroo court run [mod] I hope McLaren seek a $100million refund from FIA also especially as Renault have now escaped any punsihment for what was arguably the worst infringement in F1.

  21. monktonnik says:

    The most telling thing here is the paltry amount for damages.

    I think what they are saying is: “Yes, the ban was unfair, but you are still guilty and have therefore brought the damage to your reputation on yourself”

    I don’t really know how it works, but surely this could be seen as a test case for sporting disputes/bans. It really does call the whole Mclaren fine into serious question. I think that they have a cause to appeal.

  22. Fulveo Ballabeo says:

    And so the Gravitization of “Renault” begins.

    Over time, look for:

    A) Renault personnel (ie: the Jean-Francois Caubet’s) to pull a “Theissen” and head back to the automaker.

    B) F1 personnel (ie: the Bob Bell’s) and Gravity personnel (ie: the Eric Boullier’s) to take the F1 team into the future.

    ps- As long as Sauber doesn’t change it’s name from BMW-Sauber, then it looks like the sport hasn’t really lost BMW. Just like it hasn’t “lost” Renault…

  23. Elly says:

    I’m very happy to learn about Flavio’s victory. His guilt wasn’t proved. I’d love to see him in Big Circus again.

    1. Fausta says:

      Same here. I hope he finds his way back into F1.

  24. bwass24 says:

    Wow…this is now quite an even bigger mess.

    I don’t know the laws or court process in Europe but it doesn’t sound to me like anybody has said that Flavio and Pat aren’t guilty. All that seems to have been said is that the original trial wasn’t fair and therefore the punishment too wasn’t fair.

    The only logical step–and I don’t understand why it wasn’t ordered by the French court–is to have a new trial. JT could go a long way to insuring his regime’s credibility by having a do-over done by-the-book.

    Two more things that maybe someone could explain…

    1) How can the beneficiary of an illegal conspiracy (*caugh Teflonso caugh*)not also be guilty in some form or another?

    2) How, in a law-and-order place like Singapore, where chewing gum is essentially illegal and you can be caned for littering, does a group of people get away with conspiring to expose the public to danger and manipulate the outcome of an event largely paid for by the public funds?

    1. ElChiva says:

      Damn someone had to bring Alonso into this again.

      1.As stated by the FIA Court He DIDN’T KNOW A DAMN WORD ABOUT THIS MESS, did he benefit? or did he collapse just after the race and gave his all to win it? name any other driver who went through that for a win. And for the record in the next race in Japan ALO was the only driver to benefit from tailwind the whole race…

      2. if you belive in justice that bans chewing gum rather than banning spitting it on the streets be my guest, if they live in the 30′s is their problem. you can always present the case the people of Singapore against NELSON PIQUET JNR. and leave ALO out of it.

      1. ElChiva says:

        replying to myself feels odd but

        maybe the reason the French court didn’t order a retrial is because they were not asked by any of the parties to do so? Or Courts of Law have to be creative now?

        Oh wait! I just had a great idea! Let’s put some ramdom guy under trial again and again until proven guilty that will set some nice old legal precedent

      2. Martin Collyer says:

        Why are you surprised that Alonso’s name has come up again?

        How could he have won that race without Piquet’s antics?

    2. bg f1 fan says:

      good points. I agree completely.

  25. wtf says:

    just disgusting. no other words.

    and anyone happy about this and gloating about max this that are just numb skulls who should stop watching f1.

    1. ElChiva says:

      the lack of words is compelling i will stop watching F1 now sir, and thanks for the compliments sir totally undeserved, sir.

  26. Chris Crawford says:

    Agreed! I hope we see Quick Nick in a Renault, although I’m sure Robert would prefer someone from a junior series partner him to become the lead driver…. Does Robert want to become a number 1?

  27. Brian Martin says:

    I can’t completely agree with all these negative comments. These guys brought a lot to the sport (including a lot of color). The punishment was unreasonable. I love to hate Flav.

  28. Flintelli says:

    where the FIA had the right to ban individuals or not, sorry misses the point for me. As James has mentioned before….. the WORSE scandal and F1 and NO-ONE has been punished! To deliberatley crash, putting lives at danger etc etc and basically walk away! THATS THE REAL CRIME HERE! Forget personalities in all off this…………..!

    Its just wrong!

  29. Rob Silver says:

    Only in France could such a horrible flouting of public safety be sanctioned by a legal court.

    Allowing Briatore back into F1 is a travesty, and probably (certainly for me, anyway) the cause of greater harm to F1′s worldwide image than Spygate or Crashgate or Liegate.

    I agree with some others up here, obviously. My opinion? Briatore – stay out.

    1. Martin Collyer says:

      “Only in France…”

      How do you know that Rob?

      The travesty is the cack-handed way that the FIA handled this whole affair.

      I agree with you that Briatore should stay away.

      1. Rob Silver says:

        Quite simply because that happens to be the venue for the appeal every time a news story hits someone rich or powerful. It’s more than coincidence when you look at the burden of proof and the tremendous bias towards private individuals over the ideal of “the public good” in the French courts.

        Either way, the main issue is that Briatore needs to be punished for what he did, along with Piquet for being such a dolt. To a lesser extent, Pat Symonds should also face actual punishment, even though it’s likely he was as much a scapegoat than a guilty party.

  30. Jay Rooney says:

    Wee Ant For second seat if no money is needed- good or bad idea??

  31. Jonathan says:

    Really, this is all the FIA’s fault. They must have known that they only had official jurisdiction over drivers and teams. Yet they declined to punish both the driver and team in this case.

    Not punishing Renault was a bargaining move, and it’s paid off to some extent as the Renault name is still in the sport.

    But not punishing Piquet? Daft. He should have been offered a reduced punishment as a plea bargain, not immunity. Now he can return to the grid in 2010, which would be humiliating for the sport.

  32. Jimchik says:

    What I think is the greater point, and one to which I didn’t see any postings is the amount of the settlement awarded to FB and PS… a pittance compared to the numbers that are normally toyed with in F1. I think it’s the judge saying “alright, yes things were mis-handled by the FIA, but you’re no angels, either”.

    Yes? No?

    1. James Allen says:

      I think that is fair

  33. Alex says:

    What a big mess! I’m not surprised Kimi has had enough of F1 and all the politivs and in-fighting. It seems that over the last year or so the majority of coverage on F1 has been on who’s been cheating, when the teams are splitting and forming their own series and a lot of finger pointing! I can’t wait until we can start talking about testing and…..RACING!

    I personally think that Flavio still has that cloud hanging over him and many teams will be reluctant to employ him (hardly the person sponsors want to be involved with!)

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