Former FIA president Max Mosley has spoken out today about the civil court verdict in the Briatore case this week, which ordered the FIA to overturn the lifetime ban on the Italian. He said that the matter was ‘not over’.
Meanwhile the FIA has reiterated that Briatore is still subject to the sanction banning him from managing drivers, which puts Red Bull’s Mark Webber in a tricky position.
In the Telegraph he added, “Remember, the court did not find that he was not guilty. They just didn’t like the procedure we used. But it’s a very preliminary judgement. I think the FIA should appeal the judgement because I think it is seriously flawed in a number of areas.
“Aspects of it are just extraordinary. (Pat) Symonds actually admitted in writing that he was guilty and yet they found in his favour. But that’s only because they are not looking at the substance, they are just looking at the procedure.”
Mosley also dislike the French courts’ assertion that he had a conflict of interests and had pursued a vendetta against Briatore. He said that, “This was all invented to distract attention from the fact he committed the worst example of cheating in the history of sport.”
Mosley’s intervention and the tone of it are very interesting. He is no longer the FIA president – Jean Todt is – and yet he is speaking as if he still were. He appears to be speaking on behalf of the FIA when he talks about the points of principle which are very important to him. But his main motivation for speaking out is the personal criticism, which both Briatore and the court have made of him.
Todt had Mosley’s full support in his candidacy, but he also made it clear that in office he will be his own man. He knew that Mosley would do this interview, sanctioned it even, but it has created a confusion. Who is running the show? There is a risk so early in Todt’s presidency that this episode could be construed as confirming many people’s fears; that Mosley is driving the FIA from the back seat. Mosley still talks of a “handover period” in the presidency and clearly he feels that this is ongoing.
The FIA seem quite calm about this today. Mosley felt he had to intervene, whereas Todt has kept in the background, communicating only by means of an official FIA statement on the day of the verdict. This is likely to be the tone of his presidency and it is also unlikely that Mosley will intervene again in this way, on what appears to be an FIA remit, unless there is some personal angle specific to him. His ongoing role is as a member of the FIA Senate, nothing more.
The FIA has three options now in dealing with Briatore; appeal against the verdict, reconvene the world council or take the case to the new disciplinary court which Todt is planning to introduce. I can’t see the need to appeal, as they can achieve what they want through internal changes without dragging the case on in public.
This verdict, which was a shock to the FIA, will force them to make some changes so that they have some authority over third parties. They can change the statutes so that the FIA can ban non licence holders, they can introduce licences for key men, as I suggested in a post the other day. All options are open and they may well pursue a combination of them.
In the mean time, the FIA confirmed that Briatore is still barred from managing drivers. the Italian said to Gazzetta dello Sport yesterday that he still had his management business. This was not part of the court’s verdict and as far as the FIA are concerned, the sanction handed down in September stands and any Briatore managed driver applying for a superlicence will be turned down. This affects Mark Webber, but not Heikki Kovalainen, who has left the Briatore stable.
Drivers normally apply for their superlicences around the start of February.