Flavio Briatore today won his appeal against a lifetime ban from motor racing imposed by the FIA.
The former Renault boss was originally banned by the FIA following his involvement in the Crashgate scandal at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, when Nelson Piquet, Jr., revealed everything after being dropped by Renault during the 2009 season.
Briatore is now free to return to Formula One, or any other FIA sanctioned sport, and, with a number of new teams entering F1, he could be a major asset thanks to his experience, personal wealth, and ability to attract huge sponsors.
He will also be able to continue in his role as co-owner and chairman of Queen's Park Rangers Football Club.
The lifetime ban from F1 and other forms of motorsport would have meant him failing the Football League's Fit and Proper Person's Test, which stipulates no person banned by another sport's governing body can hold office at an English football club.
As well as his reprieve, the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris awarded Briatore £13,500 in compensation, much less than the £900,000 he had originally demanded, but he's not exactly short of money. The court ruling that the sanction was illegal is the best thing for Briatore.
The FIA will likely launch an appeal against the court's decision.
Renault's engineering chief Pat Symmonds, originally banned for five years, also won his appeal today.
It's unclear whether either will return to F1 immediately; however, Briatore will not return to Renault, who have appointed former A1GP Team France boss Eric Boullier as their team principal.
For Briatore, it's a very important win in a long-running personal battle with former FIA boss Max Mosley, but will further action be as strong now that former Ferrari boss Jean Todt is in charge?
Somehow, I feel this saga might just rumble on into the 2010 season as well.
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