Flavio Briatore has 'effectively been deleted from the world of motorsport' in the wake of Renault's 'Singapore-gate' scandal, contends BBC F1
commentator Martin Brundle – and even though the Italian has 'done a lot of good things' for the sport, his former driver expects that he won't be missed.
Yesterday's FIA World Motorsport Council (WMSC) hearing led to Briatore being banned indefinitely from any future involvement in Formula 1, with the firm ruling that any team or driver henceforth associating themselves with him will not be entitled to compete. Moreover, there are suggestions the 59-year-old could now find his duties as co-owner, chairman and board director of London football club Queens Park Rangers (QPR) taken away from him as a product of the fall-out [see separate story – click here
] – one that even prior to the WMSC reunion had already cost him his job as Renault F1 managing director.
Brundle worked closely with Briatore when he raced for Benetton back in 1992 as team-mate to Michael Schumacher. Whilst he admits he is sad to see one of the paddock's most colourful characters depart the fray – most likely for good – the Englishman opined that such is the lightning fast pace at which F1 moves, his passing will soon be forgotten.
“Clearly Briatore and [Pat] Symonds have taken the brunt of the pain,” Brundle told the BBC
. “Flavio has effectively been deleted from the world of motorsport. Of course he's got world championship success and personally I quite like the guy – I drove for him once, and you can only speak as you find and I never had a problem with him.
“He has upset a lot of people [and] he has a difficult track record in some respects in Formula 1, but he's done a lot of good things too for the sport. It will move on, though – Formula 1 is all about tomorrow, not yesterday – and it's sad to report, but Flavio won't be that much missed.”
Someone else who 'won't be much missed', the 50-year-old suggests, is Nelsinho Piquet, who exposed the race-fixing conspiracy in the first place after revealing that he had been instructed by both Briatore and the Enstone-based outfit's executive director of engineering Symonds to deliberately crash out of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix to prompt a safety car period that enabled team-mate Fernando Alonso to win the top flight's inaugural night race – and arguably prevented Renault from pulling the plug on its F1 project at season's end. The whole situation could have been avoided, Brundle reasons, had the Brazilian just said 'no'.
“Nelson Piquet Jnr is in his twenties,” he underlined. “He's a man, not a boy, and he's responsible for his own decisions. With a driver's head on, I can't believe that he agreed to do it, or actually carried it out – the intentional crash. I'd have felt a lot more sympathy for him had he blown the whistle straight after the race, if he felt that upset about it. He's waited for a year and to be fired from his job before he felt the need to tell anybody about this.
“He says he wants to get back into Formula 1, but I would have thought he's effectively unemployable, because which sponsor wants to be involved with this sorry mess? It's sad for him, but he should have said no. He should have taken his own decision on that, or spoken to his dad or done anything other than stick that Renault in the wall.
“Desperate men do desperate things, and I think Renault needed a result last year – they needed to keep Fernando Alonso engaged, ING their sponsors were beginning to move away, it was an ING-sponsored event, they had a very fast car that failed in qualifying... It all built up to them having to take this crazy decision in the race, of crashing one car to help the other that was out-of-position on the grid.