6 Jan 2010

Former Renault boss has Formula One ban overturned

6:36 am on 6 January 2010

The former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore's had his life ban from Formula One overturned by a French court.

The court's ruled that the the punishment was illegally imposed by the sport's governing body, the FIA.

The flamboyant Italian was banned in September by the FIA, for a plot to rig the outcome of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix by staging a deliberate crash.

Briatore, a multi-millionaire businessman who had also sought damages of $2 million was awarded $30,000 in compensation.

It's not known whether Briatore, who did not attend the hearing, would try to come back to the sport where he won championships with both Benetton and Renault in a career spanning more than two decades.

The FIA has indicated it will appeal the decision.

Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet triggered one of Formula One's biggest scandals when he was dropped by Renault in July and then told the FIA that he had been ordered to crash deliberately at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

He said he'd dones so to bring out the safety car and help his Spanish team mate Fernando Alonso, the double world champion who has now joined Ferrari, win the race.

Alonso has been cleared of any knowledge of the plan.

Renault was handed a suspended permanent ban while engineering head Pat Symonds, who left the team at the same time as Briatore, was banned for five years.

The court overturned Symonds' sentence earlier this week and awarded him $10,000 in compensation.

Briatore launched his legal case in October, claiming he had not been given the right to a free and fair defence to the charges.

The Italian had highlighted his strained relationship with former FIA president Max Mosley and described the FIA procedure as a sham hearing.

The ruling has ramifications beyond the world of Formula One, with Briatore also the co-owner of English Championship football club Queens Park Rangers.

Had the ban been upheld, Briatore could have been forced out of the London club under league rules aimed at ensuring ownership is in the hands of fit and proper persons.