The FIA has decided to appeal against the decision of the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris last week to overturn the lifetime ban of former Renault boss Flavio Briatore. The case relates to the Renault plot in which Nelson Piquet Jr deliberately crashed his car in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.
A statement this afternoon from the FIA said that its president, Jean Todt, had consulted with the FIA Senate (on which former president Max Mosley sits) and the FIA’s lawyers and they had reached a unanimous conclusion to launch the appeal.
The statement said that, “In his election campaign last summer, FIA President Jean Todt and his team announced that new measures for constructive change, including a disciplinary procedure, would be introduced. Work on this is well advanced. Once in place, this will address the issues in the Court’s judgement. Nonetheless, an appeal is merited.
“While the appeal is underway, the Word Motor Sport Council’s decision of 21 September 2009 remains in full effect.”
In other words, as far as the FIA is concerned Briatore is still banned from motorsport until the appeal outcome is known. Renault’s former head of engineering, Pat Symonds, who admitted responsibility for organising the crash plot with Piquet, remains banned for five years pending the appeal.
However to avoid uncertainty among the stable of drivers whom Briatore represents through his management company, F1 superlicences will be issued as normal, which means that Mark Webber can get his licence and get on with his season then await the outcome of the appeal to find out if Briatore can still manage him or not.
Briatore’s lawyer said at the weekend that an appeal would not be worth it for the FIA,
“First of all we aim at having the verdict enforced. In any case, the FIA has zero chances if it decides to appeal. It is against French and international laws for an organism (the World Motor Sport Council) to be jury, procedural body and investigating body at the same time, with the president of an institution that decides who to investigate, that controls investigators, and that presides the judging organ.”
As part of his manifesto pledge, Todt is in the process of changing the FIA’s statutes and some of its procedures and planned to introduce a disciplinary panel, which would take away the role of the WMSC as a court.