The Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris gave its verdict earlier this afternoon on the case brought by Flavio Briatore as he tried to overturn the decision by the FIA to ban him from all motorsports following his part in the Singaporegate affair. As reported here on Vital QPR the judge decided in favour of Flavio and ordered the overturning of the ban.
In giving judgement it was noted that the FIA’s judgment was not allowed by their own statutes, whilst notably claiming there was a conflict of interests with regard to former FIA president Max Mosley’s role. The court believed that Mr Mosley played a key role in launching both the inquiry and the legal process, violating the principle of a separation of the bodies that are responsible for the investigation and for the judgment
The court judgement read: ‘The decision of the World Council was presided over by the FIA president, who was well known to be in conflict with Briatore, with Mr Mosley having played a leading role in launching the inquiry and its investigation in violation of the principle of separation of the power of the bodies.
The decision (of the World Motor Sport Council) is not annulled but declared irregular, and rendered without effect in its provisions against Mr Briatore.
The Tribunal also demanded that the FIA notify the teams and public, through adverts in French newspapers of Briatore and Symons’ choosing, that the bans be lifted, as well as awarding Flavio the sum of 15,000 euros. Should this not be paid within 15 days the FIA must pay Briatore a penalty of ?10,000 per day.
Flavio spoke after the verdict was announced saying “‘I would like to express my great joy with the decision handed down by the Tribunal de Grande Instance. I believe it important for the FIA to play the active role it deserves in automobile competition. As a sports person and one passionately involved in car racing for more than 20 years, the decision to apply to the civil courts to contest a decision of the FIA was a difficult one for me to take. The fact the World Motor Sport Council had been utilised to deal with a personal agenda aimed at pushing me out of the world of competition left me no other choice. The decision handed down today restores to me the dignity and freedom certain people had arbitrarily attempted to deprive me of.”
When asked about a possible return to F1 he replied ‘Let me take a little time to enjoy this moment of happiness after this difficult period. As concerns my possible return to F1, there is plenty of time to talk about this.’
Needless to say the FIA did not share the views expressed by the Tribunal and their spokesman confirmed they may yet appeal, and most certainly are looking to strengthen their own laws that have been called into question.
Their statement says: ‘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 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.’
Has the door finally been closed on this messy affair or will the FIA appeal against this decision? Time will tell.
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