Flavio Briatore today finds out what his future holds as he travels to a tribunal in Paris to hear a verdict on his appeal against the expulsion he received for his supposed actions in Singapore, 2008.
The FIA came down heavily on the Italian entrepreneur and banned him from any FIA syndicated events for life. The ex-engineering maestro at Renault, Pat Symonds, was given a 5 year ban. All this without a shred of evidence that directly implicated Briatore which could have left no doubt as to who the culprit was.
Max Mosley had a thing for 'divide and conquer'. When there was something to be complained about, you could be sure that Flavio Briatore was at the forefront of it. He was also one of the loudest critics of FIA governance during this summers threatened breakaway from the governing body, which can't have gone down well at FIA HQ. Perhaps this is why Toyota stepped down early, to give John Howett a reprieve. In all seriousness, the whole race-fixing scandal smells a little fishy; first of all, the main protagonist (Nelsinho Piquet), gets away scot-free if he gives a story. Then, a transcript is released of a drawn out radio conversation involving Fernando Alonso, the Renault engineers and Nelsinho Piquet. From these two solitary examples, one man has been banned for life from a sport in which he was an important figure, and another for 5 years because they supposedly were the masterminds behind the whole thing.
Perhaps Briatore and Symonds were infact behind it all. Or perhaps the World Council (no doubt given a little nudge by Mr. Mosley) failed to look at the case retrospectively and gave out penalties that would please Herr Mosley. For surely they would have realised that they are directly breaking European Community law in banning Briatore?
This situation centres more around FIA governance rather than the innocence or guilt of Flavio Briatore. The Italian will lead a comfortable life whatever the outcome, but we cannot and must not have a governing body that legislates and judges on emotion over logic, common sense and fairness. For the sake of this, we must hope that today's tribunal in Paris reaches a fair verdict and does not continue sitting on the fence for fear of retribution from the people at the top.