FIA held a ‘sham hearing’ - Briatore
LONDON: For mer Renault team boss Flavio Briatore accused Formula One’s governing body yesterday of secret negotiations before a “sham hearing” at which he was banned for life from the sport.
The Italian was barred in September for his role in a plot to rig last year’s Singapore Grand Prix by having Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet crash deliberately so that team mate Fernando Alonso could win the race.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported on Thursday that Briatore would be seeking at least one million euros ($1.49 million) in damages at an appeal hearing in Paris on November 24, as well as demanding the punishment be overturned.
The governing Inter national Automobile Federation (FIA) condemned the “selective leaking” of extracts from Briatore’s case to the court but the Italian dismissed their objections.
In a statement issued on his behalf yesterday, he said his action was a public one, there was nothing confidential in the documents and he had nothing to hide.
He also rejected the FIA’s position that the life ban was agreed by an “overwhelming” majority of World Motor Sport Council members attending the hearing.
Former champions Renault were also given a suspended permanent ban at that hearing.
“The FIA neglects to mention that, according to declarations by one of its own vicepresidents to the media, the world council’s decision was rather the outcome of secret negotiations on the eve of the sham hearing,” Briatore’s statement said.
It gave no further details but FIA vice-president Mohamed Ben Sulayem was quoted in Abu Dhabi’s National newspaper after the September hearing as saying: “We are not here to hang teams, we did our negotiations before and everybody is happy with the result.”
An FIA spokesman said the governing body had already stated it would make no further comment until after the court proceedings were completed. – Reuters
HITTING BACK: Flavio Briatore.