Tag Archives: Flavio Briatore

Symonds allowed to work as F1 consultant

It has been revealed that Pat Symonds, who was banned from Formula 1 for 3 years after the crash-gate scandal, has been allowed to work in Formula 1 as a consultant only.

Yesterday, it was announced that the FIA, Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds had reached an agreement, that none of them would pursue charges against each other, as long as they took 3-year bans each. However, according to Symonds, he can now still work in Formula 1, as a consultant through his company, Neutrino Dynamics.

Today, he made an announcement, saying that he would continue to work in Formula 1 wherever possible:

"Under this agreement Pat Symonds acknowledges that it was his duty 
to prevent such an event occurring and, in not doing so, he must 
share in the responsibility attached to this incident.

As such, and with the best interests of the sport in mind, he has 
agreed with the FIA that he will not take a direct operational 
role in Formula 1 until the end of 2012 nor will he take any 
similar role in any team involved in any other FIA series until 
the end of 2011.

This agreement does not prevent him acting as a consultant to any 
team during this period and he will continue to contribute to the 
sport in this, and other, ways.

In the light of this agreement, both he and the FIA consider the 
matter to be at an end."

I simply cannot believe that, after only one day, he would try to worm his way into F1. Even if it was possible for him to be a consultant for Formula 1 teams and get away with it, the FIA can’t just allow this to happen. He orchestrated a crash, which is unbelievibly dangerous, and a full 3-year ban is minimal for what he did.

Here’s the bigger problem. Symonds happens to be the nicer of the two. What is Briatore going to try?

Briatore and Symonds accept 3-year ban in Crashgate settlement with FIA

Pat Symonds and Flavio Briatore

Pat Symonds and Flavio Briatore

Both Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds have agreed not to pursue further charges, after a settlement with the FIA that resulted in both effectively receiving a 3-year ban from Formula 1.

In exchange for the FIA dropping charges against the two, they have agreed not to take any “operational role” in Formula 1 until the end of 2012, or any FIA competition until the end of 2011. However, it still seems that no charges are to be brought against Nelson Piquet Jr, the driver who conspired with Briatore and Symonds to cause a deliberate crash, and give Fernando Alonso a huge advantage in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

The full FIA statement reads as follows:

The decision handed down by the Tribunal de Grande Instance of 
Paris on 5 January 2010 at the request of Mr Flavio Briatore 
and Mr Pat Symonds, which the FIA has appealed, revealed a poor 
understanding of how the disciplinary procedure before the 
World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) works. In accordance with the 
undertakings made by the FIA President during his campaign, it 
will be proposed at the next General Assembly, at the end of 
2010, that a structural reform, on which the FIA Statutes Review 
Commission is currently working, be adopted to prevent other 
misunderstandings.

In the meantime, at its meeting in Bahrain on 11 March 2010, the 
WMSC decided on the one hand to adopt a Code of Practice to 
clarify the working of its disciplinary procedure, and on the 
other hand to give the FIA President full authority to seek a 
definitive outcome, whether judicial or extrajudicial, to the 
disputes with Mr Flavio Briatore and Mr Pat Symonds, best 
preserving the interests of the FIA.

After discussions between their lawyers and those of the FIA, 
Mr Flavio Briatore and Mr Pat Symonds have each made a settlement 
offer to the FIA President with a view to putting an immediate 
end to the legal proceedings.

Each of them recognising his share of responsibility for the 
deliberate crash involving the driver Nelson Piquet Junior at 
the 2008 Grand Prix of Singapore, as "Team Principal" of Renault 
F1 where Mr Flavio Briatore is concerned, they have expressed 
their regrets and presented their apologies to the FIA.

They have undertaken to abstain from having any operational role 
in Formula One until 31 December 2012, as well as in all the other 
competitions registered on the FIA calendars until the end of 
the 2011 sporting season.

They have also abandoned all publicity and financial measures 
resulting from the judgment of 5 January 2010, as well as any 
further action against the FIA on the subject of this affair.

In return, they have asked the FIA to abandon the ongoing appeal
procedure, but without the FIA recognising the validity of the 
criticisms levelled against the WMSC’s decision of 21 September 
2009, as well as to waive the right to bring any new proceedings 
against them on the subject of this affair.

Considering that the judgment of 5 January 2010 concerned only the 
form and not the substance of the WMSC’s decision of 21 September 
2009, and that the undertakings and renunciation of all claims 
expressed by Mr Flavio Briatore and Mr Pat Symonds are in line 
with what the WMSC is seeking, the FIA President has considered 
that it is in the best interests of the FIA not to allow the 
perpetuation of these legal disputes, which have received a great 
deal of media coverage and which, regardless of the outcome, are 
very prejudicial to the image of the FIA and of motor sport, and 
thus to accept this settlement solution, thereby putting an end 
to this affair.

If you actually read all that (bit heavy-worded wasn’t it?), you would also know that Briatore and Symonds have both rejected the £18,000 and £4,000 compensation packages that the FIA were forced to give to them in January, after a court ruled that their previous life bans were illegal.

Now though, they must bide their time, as they have to wait until the 2013 season until they can apply to get back into Formula 1. The question is, will anyone take them? Symonds might get in with a team, since he’s a nice guy, and certainly didn’t play as big a part as Briatore, though he still deserved the ban. Briatore might go back to driver managment, but it is unclear if any driver would want to work woth him after all of this.

However, the FIA have the option to turn nasty. A few months ago, the idea of driver managment liscences was suggested, to stop Flavio Briatore from getting back into Formula 1. If they were to bring it in, they could stop Briatore, without the threat of court action, since they are in the legal right this time.

Alternatively, we could just hope that the 2012 doomsday predictions are right, and they will never get into F1 again.

Renault: Money not incentive for Petrov interest

Eric Boullier, team boss of Renault

Eric Boullier, team boss of Renault

Renault team boss Eric Boullier has denied that the team are looking into having Vitaly Petrov as a driver because of his sponsorship, saying that the first priority is talent.

The Frenchman, who relaced Flavio Briatore as team principal last year, says that he is considering many other drivers.

He told ESPN:

“I am not just talking to five drivers but actually to everyone who does not have an F1 contract. I have been speaking with Nick Heidfeld (now confirmed as Mercedes’ reserve driver) and also with Takuma Sato, Christian Klien and Romain Grosjean, amongst others.”

“I am looking for talent first and foremost, but then after that I do need to consider the sponsorship opportunities; people say we are only looking at Petrov because he is bringing a lot of money, but he is not the richest driver we are talking to.”

So I was right in saying that Renault were interested in Klien, Sato and Grosjean. But, none of these 4 have really proved themselves. Klien seems to be pushed aside a lot, and tends to go as test driver. Sato is a bit dangerous for a team that wants to distance itself from crashing (owned!!). And Grosjean does deserve another chance, but I doubt that anyone will offer it to him.

Petrov has shown form in the GP2 series, but possibly not enough of it. This may leave Renault in a tough spot. If they wanted proper talent, they should have gone for Heidfeld while he was still there. Fisichella is still in the market, however.

At the end of this, however, I still think Renault will sign Petrov. MegaFon (who sponsor Renault) are underdstood to have interest in the Russian, he has huge backing behind him, and the GP2 guys always deserve a chance.

Briatore to sue FIA for “loss of income”

Flavio Briatore, when managing Renault

Flavio Briatore, when managing Renault

Former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore announced today that he is to pursue legal proceedings against the FIA, for the loss of income to his driver managment business.

The FIA had previously banned Briatore from all motorsport, after he was found to have conspired with Nelson Piquet Jr and Pat Symonds to cause a crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

Last month, a Parisian court overturned this ruling, saying that the FIA did not have the authority to remove Briatore from the sport. However, the ban had meant that many of Briatore’s drivers had left his agency. This included Fernando Alonso, Heikki Kovalainen and Lucas di Grassi. Briatore told The Telegraph that the FIA would be sued for the money lost because of this.

“We lost Alonso, we lost [Heikki] Kovalainen, we lost several drivers,” he said. “We will sue the FIA for the money we lost.”

The FIA has already announced that it is to appeal the French court’s decision.

In my opinion, this can only end in disaster. Alonso, Kovalainen and Di Grassi left of their own accord, not because of the threat of having their superlicenses removed. This court battle is only giving negative publicity to a scandal which should have been closed up months ago.

Massa had quizzed Piquet about Crashgate

Felipe Massa and Nelson Piquet Jr

Felipe Massa and Nelson Piquet Jr

Nelson Piquet's staged crash at Singapore 2008

Nelson Piquet's staged crash at Singapore 2008

Felipe Massa has revealed that he had quizzed Nelson Piquet Jr and Flavio Briatore about the events at the 2008 Singapore GP, even before the scandal had broken out.

In Singapore 2008, Nelson Piquet crashed 2 laps after Fernando Alonso had pitted, and brought out the safety car. This gave a huge advantage to Alonso, who went on to win the race. Massa, who had been leading and dominating the race, pitted when the safety car was over, but a disasterous pit stop meant he finished last. Felipe later lost the championship to Lewis Hamilton by a single point.

However, Massa says that he had always been skeptical about Piquet’s crash, even before the scandal broke out this year. At a Ferrari media event, he said:

“I spoke to him, yeah. I spoke to him before [it became public],” said Massa. “We were going together to drive go-karts in Italy and I asked him about Singapore – I wanted to hear the right story because I was thinking that the combination [of events] was so perfect [for Renault], what happened in that race.”

“And he was laughing, he didn’t want to say the truth. I said ‘okay, you’re laughing, but I understood. Maybe one day we’ll speak again’. And after one month or less, the story came back in the press.”

“I even spoke to Flavio about that in Bahrain last year. I asked Flavio about Singapore and he said ‘no, no, it’s impossible’ and he was even trying to laugh sometimes.”

However, even though he probably lost the championship because of it, he does not wish to revisit the incident.

“But if I spoke to them after I knew? It didn’t change anything,” said Massa. “Why should I go there and speak? We will not go back to the past. We need to think about the present and the future. The past is the past.”

“Everybody knows what happened in 2008. I don’t think we’re going to win anything by going back through all these problems. For sure it was very frustrating what was happening in that race, and it changed many things around the championship.”

“But anyway, we need to think forward. I hope these things don’t happen anymore – for the sport, not just the business. I hope we’ll go back to fighting for the championship and I hope I can be a champion one day. That’s the way I’m thinking.”

FIA to appeal Briatore verdict

FIA Flag

FIA Flag

The FIA has decided to appeal the decicion by a French court to overturn the lifetime ban imposed upon Flavio Briatore and the 5-year ban on Pat Symonds, for their involvment in the Crash-gate scandal.

Last week, Briatore succesfully got the courts to overturn his lifetime ban, as the judge stated the FIA did not have the authority or power to remove them from the sport.

Following meeting between FIA president Jean Todt and other representatives, they have elected to appeal the court’s verdict.

A statement from the FIA read as follows:

“The President of the FIA has consulted the FIA Senate and the FIA’s lawyers about the decision of the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris of 5 January. It was unanimously agreed that an appeal would be prepared.

“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.”

Also, the FIA were quick to point out that, while they are appealing the decicion, the original punishment still stands, meaning that Briatore and Symonds, for the time being, still cannot be involved in FIA-sanctioned sports.

In my last article on this, I mentioned that the FIA may choose to not give superlicences to drivers who use Briatore as their manager. However, this may not be done, pending the outcome of the FIA’s appeal.

Briatore continuing legal cases

Flavio Briatore, when managing Renault

Flavio Briatore, when managing Renault

Flavio Briatore has said that he plans to continue his legal pursuit of the Piquet family, and any drivers who terminated their contract with him.

Back in last September, Flavio announced that he was to take legal action against the Piquets, when the Crash-gate scandal broke out. He claimed that the family were blackmailing him to keep his contract.

In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, he said: “That’s very likely(continuing legal action). The bad that has been done to me won’t be forgotten in one day.”

Also, he stated that his previous lifetime ban was influenced by disputes between him and former FIA president Max Mosley. He said that: “First Mosley tried to make me lose titles, first with Schumi then with Alonso, and then to destroy me with this story.” He expects to have a better relationship with Jean Todt.

Regarding his role of driver manager, he said that he may also pursue legal cases against Heikki Kovalainen and Lucas di Grassi, who he claims have breached the terms of their driver-manager contract.

Mosley: Briatore affair far from over

Former FIA President Max Mosley

Former FIA President Max Mosley

Former FIA president Max Mosley has said that, despite Flavio Briatore’s lifetime ban being overturned, the affair is far from over.

In a French court on Tuesday, the judge found that Briatore’s and Symonds’s bans were past the limits of the FIA’s power, and that the bans must be overturned. The FIA’s legal team are currently considering an appeal.

It would be unimaginable to see the crimes of crash-gate go unpunished, and Mosley agrees, saying that the FIA could even change the rules, so as to be able to ban non-licence holders.

In an interview with the Telegraph, he said:

“The suggestion that we can’t penalise anyone who doesn’t have a licence is very serious because, for example, we wouldn’t be able to ban those people who blacked up their faces and upset Lewis Hamilton (Barcelona in 2008) from coming to a race.”

“But in any case the FIA can easily change its rules so that it takes account of what the court said. They said we weren’t allowed to ban non-licence holders. Well obviously you can bring in a rule which does allow you to, if you wish.”

“One thing’s for sure, it’s very far from over.”

The fact that Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds do not have to hold licences to be in F1 is the reason they cannot be banned, since there is no legal authority to remove them from the sport. However, the FIA still have the power to refuse superlicences to drivers who use Briatore as their manager. Also, they may not put a team on the entry list if they hire him. It remains to be seen whether they will use this power or not.

One other problem the FIA has is Bernie Ecclestone, who said that he had no problem with Briatore returning to the F1 paddock. Both he and Briatore agree that Flavio would be working in driver managment, rather than with a team. However, it is very doubtful that the FIA would allow this to happen.

Whatever happens next, this is definitely the first big test of Jean Todt’s role of FIA president. If he can find a way of keeping Briatore out of F1, then he can prove that he is the man for the job.

Briatore’s lifetime ban overturned (Updated)

Flavio Briatore, when managing Renault

Flavio Briatore, when managing Renault

Early reports from Paris suggest that Flavio Briatore’s lifetime ban from Formula 1 has been overturned by the French courts. Briatore was at the centre of the crash-gate conspiracy regarding Singapore 2008.

The judge claims that the sanction imposed against Briatore was illegal, and should be overturned. Briatore was even awarded €15,000 in compensation. The FIA legal team are said to probably launching an appeal.

In my opinion, this is an absolute disaster for the sport. Flavio brought cheating and corruption in many ways to this sport, and to be given money for being caught cheating says it all. The silver lining is, the FIA aren’t going to let him back into F1 without a fight… hopefully.

And anyways, even if he wasn’t involved in crash-gate, he was once photographed wearing a thong. Which deserves a lifetime ban itself.

Update: Pat Symonds’ 5 year ban has also been overturned, and will receive €5,000 in compensation.

Update 2: The FIA are legally obliged to release details of the ban being lifted in the next 2 weeks. The FIA statement can be found here:

“The FIA notes the Decision of the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Paris in relation to Mr. Briatore and Mr. Symonds.

The Court has rejected the claims for damages made by Mr. Briatore and Mr. Symonds and their claim for an annulment of the FIA’s decision.  In particular, the Court did not examine the facts and has not reversed the FIA’s finding that both Briatore and Symonds conspired to cause an intentional crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

However, the Court did question the FIA’s authority to impose bans upon Mr. Briatore and Mr. Symonds for procedural reasons and because they are not FIA licence holders and, according to the Court, are therefore not subject to any FIA rules. The FIA’s ability to exclude those who intentionally put others’ lives at risk has never before been put into doubt and the FIA is carefully considering its appeal options on this point.

The Court’s decision is not enforceable until the FIA’s appeal options have been exhausted.  Until then, the World Motor Sport Council’s decision continues to apply.

In addition, the FIA intends to consider appropriate actions to ensure that no persons who would engage, or who have engaged, in such dangerous activities or acts of intentional cheating will be allowed to participate in Formula One in the future.”


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55 other followers