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FIA to appeal Briatore court decision
FIA to appeal Briatore court decision
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Jan 2010   |  3:42 pm GMT  |  25 comments

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.

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Bearing in mind that the FIA have repeatedly bent over backwards to be lenient to Flabs in the past I have no reason to believe they wouldn’t have treated him with kid gloves again. He made absolutely sure he didn’t get a fair hearing himself. Hardly a plea of innocence.


This is all going to be rather interesting, and probably a bit more interesting than processional races ending in qualifying order in the coming season on the race tracks.

It seems to have escaped the notice of the Mosleyphobes that the FIA has no option but to appeal the court’s ruling in order to define its powers legally to regulate motor racing. If the ruling stands what will happen if McLaren decide to ask for their £100million back, which they might well consider doing as it was not an inconsiderable sum of money? Bankruptcy of the FIA is what could well be the result. And McLaren may not be the only team who could consider acting on the basis of this outcome.

This perverse decision has certainly highlighted a problem with the legal powers of the FIA as presently constituted. But then who could possibly have ever imagined to begin with that its powers to regulate the sport would ever be tested by such a brazen, outrageous and downright dangerous piece of cheating at the very highest level?

My guess is that the FIA are currently in dangerous straits and they are going to need the best legal advice they can get to navigate their way to safety.


Further to the above I also wonder whether Flabs’ legal team advised him right from square one to simply bypass the FIA, as he did by not appearing before them. Clearly as principal of the team he had to carry the buck for what happened, so they found a better way out for him than carrying the can. Clever stuff, and what a brilliant way to destroy a whole sport. Mega egos rule, OK?


It was clear to even the most disinterested observer that the FIA and WMSC procedures were flawed, little more than a kangaroo court. Any lawyer would have advised Flavio in the same way. He had no hope of a fair hearing, either in the first instance or at appeal. Indeed so flawed are the FIA’s procedures, that they had to ban anyone involved in motorsport from having dealings with him, being unable to ban him directly as they had no jurisdiction over him. The FIA appeal will fail and it is very possible that one of the least honourable men in F1 will be able to become involved again. Shame on the FIA.


Kangaroo court is an insult to Kanaroo’s.

Mosley brought the FIA into disrepute and should be charged with such (it would be great to how he controlled Todt’s strings).


It is rather common for a judge to throw out a verdict if he finds that the process in arriving it is unjust which appears to be so in this case. I doubt if the FIA’s appeal will be successful. I am very disappointed with Todt and am beginning to lose faith in him to change things and improve the way FIA governs the sport. May be there is too much money out there that the President may be able to lay his hands on by sticking to the old way of the last President?


I would’ve thought it’d just be easier to change the list of people that need a licence, then ban him that way


We were never going to have a new broom in the shape of Jean Todt – the writing was always on the wall that he was a Max Moseley lap dog.

The opportunity was there for the FIA to just walk away from this, and deal with it as part of their new licensing scheme, however Max couldn’t let it drop.

The FIA CANNOT be judge, jury and executioner, and that is what the French court has decided. The court didn’t decide Flavio was innocent, and left the way clear for the FIA to reform and deal with this properly, in a truly unbiased, independant and unquestionably legal manner – which is what Jean Todt claimed he was going to do.

Shame on the FIA.


Isn’t the FIA contradicting itself here?

On the one hand the FIA are to change procedures with regard to disciplinary matters,

“…this will address the issues in the Court’s judgement”.

Then they say,

“Nonetheless, an appeal is merited.”

Who influenced this decision I wonder?


(Insert sigh here). “This business will get out of control. It’ll get out of control and [the FIA]’ll be lucky to live through it.”

(bonus geek points for anyone who can spot the source of that quote)

Will someone just form a breakaway FEDERATION already?! Jayzus homminy grits, the FIA is dysfunctional.


The 10-member FIA Senate consists the President of the Senate; the current and previous Presidents(MAD MAX) of the FIA; the Deputy President for the FIA Mobility and the Automobile group; the Deputy President for FIA Sport group; and five further members elected by the General Assembly. So it looks like Max continues to rule with his influence over the rest of the senate?


FIA, you screwed up! Now move on from it and make sure you don’t do it again. Leave this behind.


Mosley won’t allow it 🙂


Doesn’t this show the world that Todt is not his own man or does he think the FIA should be treated like a state of its own where normal rules of law don’t apply?

Why did he have a meeting with the FIA senate?

The law is the law whether these out of touch people at FIA like it or not, the truth is the whole case was a sham, the trial prejudged and all lay lie in the hands of one man.

Todt, just more of the same you wait and see.


I would not give up on Todt just yet, he has only just got his feet through the door and very little stacked up on his side.

This shambles gives Todt the perfect opportunity to manoeuvre Mosley towards the edge of the nest and eventually over the side. This is a major screw up which will become evident in the weeks to come and leave Mosley weakened. I just hope he has done sufficient to hang himself.

The FIA have already done a lot of good things under Todt, in a spirit of co-operation and undue fuss. Just look back to the driver points change introduced under Mosley and compare that to Todt’s approach. Don’t blame Todt completely, as he is not yet fully master of his own house.


Yes it does, Todt had a chance to prove he was his own man and blew it.

The case proves that the old regime were not fit for purpose and it would seem the same will apply so long as the puppet remains a puppet ❗


I assume that the concession made on the drivers is to avoid the FIA being liable for any expensive contractual breaks if the appeal is turned down.

I understand Kovalainen left Briatore’s management, was this related?


So in one corner you have Todt considering the courts ruling and applying changes to the FIA procedures such this does not happen again.

The FIA senate does not share this view and wants to drive through for it’s pound of flesh irrespective.

The French courts ruling were perfectly clear, they do not have the authority to apply this penalty to Briatore. Additionally the court found the ruling was made in such a manner that any verdict was rendered immaterial because of the flagrant disregard to any sense of a fair hearing.

This was driven from the FIA senate, Mosley’s one remaining foothold. In an ideal world I would want both Briatore and Mosley gone from the sport for ever. Given a choice of just one, it would be Mosley every time, because Briatore would already be gone.


Mosley’s stings are controlling what Todt does, I like you do not see on what grounds the FIA can appeal, their kangaroo court was just that, I like to see the French court do to the FIAS what the FIA do to those that dare to chalenge their judgements, i.e. find more in Briatore’s favour and award him full damages for being found guilty in an illegal court ❗ Is anyone with me ❓


By the way James, great article mate. I don’t know personally who you would like to see win this case. Would be interesting to know what you think about it. I even believe that Alonso knew about it even though he was cleared of everything.


Will this case close before the 1st race in Bahrain? I wish there was one F1 season without these court cases and controversy. Well this case must come down to a reasonable end. Everybody knows Flavio and Pat are very valuable character in the history of the sport. We also know about the personal issue between Mosely and Briatore. But it doesn’t give anybody the right to get away with the worst case of cheating in the history. I hope the initial FIA verdict stands.


“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.”

How very strange because that is exactly how the French legal system seems to work.


Mosley’s influence in this is so obvious. Is Todt going to be his lap dog? I really thought we were going to have a clean sweep. Yes, get rid of the cheats, as I said before, but do it legally from the begining. Until the instigator and main culprit is punished, this will continue to be a blight on the FIA and Formula One. Sad!


Too right, Mosley’s grubby paws are all over this.

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