Questions over the governance of the sport have been raised by Flavio Briatore’s successful challenge of the World Motor Sport Council’s decision to give him a lifetime ban over the Singapore ‘crash-gate’ affair.
France’s Tribunal de Grande Instance ruled in favour of the former Renault boss, saying that as he was not a licence holder, the FIA had no authority to ban him – which is why the original judgement instead threatened to take away the licences of any teams, drivers and even events associated with him. The court also supported Briatore’s assertion that he had been targeted by the then-FIA president Max Mosley.
The ruling was awkward for his successor Jean Todt, who wants to kick-start a new era. He can’t let the matter drop because of the precedent it sets for challenges to the FIA’s authority.
After consulting with its legal team the FIA appealed the ruling, which also applied to former Renault engineering boss Pat Symonds’ five-year ban. It has stressed that the WMSC’s guilty verdict still stands. But the FIA has agreed that drivers associated with Briatore’s management firm would be given 2010 superlicences, pending the appeal.