Don't push your luck Flavio Reactions from the Formula One community Flavio Briatore seems to be intoxicated by his victory and is more than happy to supply the press with delirious statements like: "This decision gives me back my dignity and...
Don't push your luck Flavio
Reactions from the Formula One community
Flavio Briatore seems to be intoxicated by his victory and is more than happy to supply the press with delirious statements like: "This decision gives me back my dignity and the freedom which they arbitrarily tried to take away from me.", and "Let me take a little time to enjoy this moment of happiness after this difficult period." After the decision of the WMSC last year Briatore said he would have the last laugh in this matter and declared: "In the end I will win and you will see, we will have a big party. It will be well organized and we'll invite everyone who has stayed close to me in these difficult times."
At the same time, Briatore seems to have forgotten the truth, there is still a crash-gate scandal, in which he and Pat Symonds have played a role. The court decision does certainly not mean Briatore is innocent and is cleared of fixing the race in Singapore in 2008, the French court ruled the decision made by the WMSC was illegitimate - but only because there were irregularities in the procedures the WMSC has followed.
Totally ignoring this fact, Briatore has announced he will be back in the Formula One paddock, and is even considering to take legal action to sue both father and son Piquet for wrongly and deliberately accusing him of being involved in the crash-gate scandal. Briatore said, when asked if he would sue the Piquets: "Very probably. I won't forget the pain I've suffered in a day." He also announced he would take legal action against those "who have broken contracts with me.", probably hinting at the fact Heikki Kovalainen and Lucas di Grassi have broken their contracts with Briatore's management after the crash-gate scandal emerged.
Whatever Briatore says or thinks, he will certainly not return to Renault, the now Anglo-French team has appointed 36-year old Frenchman Eric Bouillier as team principal. He could return to driver management, he has Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Jarno Trulli, under contract, and it seems he is now free to continue his management.
Bernie Ecclestone, long time friend and like Briatore also co-owner of the British football club the Queens Park Rangers: "I said at the time that even murderers don't get life sentences these days and the court seems to agree, he is welcome to come back to the paddock. He was a great character in F1 but I am not sure if that is what he wants to do now."
About the possibility that Briatore would indeed return to Formula One he said in an interview with The UK Times: "I don't know if he wants to come back and, if he did, how he would. The biggest problem is if you are arrested for murder, you go to court but you are still branded a murderer, even if you get off."
Ecclestone commented in the UK Telegraph that more legal battles will follow the verdict: " It's not over by a long way, just because a bloody judge has said what he's said doesn't make any difference. Nothing's happened. The court said it was wrong, so the FIA can start all over again with a new hearing, and it will go on and on and on. That's the worst thing. It would be better if they all get round a table and see what they can do."
Quit a different sound can be heard when we read the reaction of the sports governing body. The FIA declared "The court has overturned the ban on technical reasons", and in a statement they issued on Tuesday night announced they would probably appeal the decision of the Tribunal de Grande Instance. "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 FIA also made it clear the ban was still in place; "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."
UK newspaper the Sun called Briatore "despicable" and wrote; "Although Briatore's lifetime ban may have been overturned, he remains one of sport's most odious characters. The multi-millionaire former Renault boss is still a 22-carat cheat."
The Guardian published an article "Fury as French court overturns lifetime ban" and indicated the FIA wasn't finished with Briatore yet: "Motor sport's governing body FIA tonight vowed to find a way to prevent Flavio Briatore from returning to Formula One, despite the Italian overturning a lifetime ban for his part in the Crashgate scandal in a French court yesterday."
The Irish Independent headline: "Fury at Briatore verdict." About the court's verdict: "The upshot is that with Renault having received a suspended ban, Nelson A. Piquet having been granted immunity by the FIA for offering a full confession, and Symonds and Briatore now off the hook, no one has been punished for an act widely considered one of the worst examples of cheating in the history of sport. Briatore is free to return to F1, although he was non-committal."
Ex-Formula One driver Frenchman Jean Alesi speaking about Briatore with the German Bild magazine: "He is an obscene person, who threatens and forces his drivers. He behaves like a mafia boss."
Ferrari team principal Stefano Dominicale made it clear what his thoughts were about Briatore returning to Formula One, when asked by the Italian newspaper La Stampa he said: "People don't like reheated soup. He will have to find another opportunity."
Unfortunately Bernie Ecclestone is right, the whole saga will drag on for many more months to come, many battles will be fought in court, and again very unfortunately this case will dominate the headlines of the 2010 Formula One season. And I for one, am looking forward to this season, but I would like to see drivers and teams making the headlines, and not Flavio Briatore.