Crashgate ends with new bans for Briatore and Symonds

Posted on April 12, 2010


Flavio Briatore has tonight apologised for the first time his role in crashgate, which saw Nelson Piquet Jr deliberately crash his Renault at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

Both Briatore and Pat Symonds have reached a settlement with the FIA following a French court over turning their lifetime and five years bans respectively, meaning neither will participate in Formula One until January 1, 2013, at the earliest.

The FIA statement said: “They have expressed their regrets and presented their apologies to the FIA.” The full statement from the FIA is here.

Piquet Jr himself keeps his immunity after admitting the affair to the FIA in exchange for escaping punishment.

This has been a terrible situation for Formula One and we have to hope this closes the chapter for the sport. But it is not good enough for anyone involved to be banned until just 2013.

The lifetime ban originally handed down on Briatore was the correct response to all involved, including Piquet Jr. The FIA should never have granted him immunity and should have pursued this through the courts if necessary because it cannot ever be acceptable for Piquet Jr to do what he did. Neither should Briatore or Symonds.

Much will be said about this during the coming Shanghai Grand Prix. The anger will, and should, remain palpable among the people in the paddock. The re-built Renault team must be allowed to race with dignity.

But from that anger should be a resolution never to employ any of these three ever again.

UPDATE: Flavio Briatore is apparently continuing to deny personal involvement in the  plan to crash Piquet Jr’s car. His statement said: “Flavio Briatore announced today that he has reached an agreement with the FIA, to put an end to the differences between the parties, caused by the events of the Singapore GP 2008

“By effect of this settlement, the FIA will withdraw its appeal against the decision rendered by the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris on January 5th 2010 declaring irregular the World Council’s decision issued against Mr. Flavio Briatore on September 21st 2009.

“Flavio Briatore informed the FIA of his intention not to undertake any operational role in Formula One before the end of 2012, nor in any other FIA Championship, before the end of the Racing Season 2011.

“He confirmed his acceptance to bear his share of responsibility in the Singapore events in his capacity of Managing Director of the Renault F1 Team, at the time they happened, without any admission of a personal guilt in these events and without any recognition of the fact that the decision of the World Council rendered against him would have been well-founded.

“No further comment will be made by Flavio Briatore, who wishes to put behind this matter and focus on his plans for the future.”


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