Disgraced former Renault F1 managing director Flavio Briatore is understood to be 'distraught' at the effective lifetime ban he has received from working in Formula 1 following yesterday's FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) hearing in Paris – so much so that he is reported to be considering seeking compensation from the governing body for damage to his reputation.
Briatore was barred from any future involvement in the top flight – as well as from continuing to manage the careers of grand prix stars currently in his stable, including double world champion Fernando Alonso, Red Bull Racing star Mark Webber and McLaren-Mercedes ace Heikki Kovalainen – for his part in the salacious 'race-fixing' episode that has gripped the sport over the last fortnight.
Both the Italian and the Enstone-based outfit's erstwhile executive director of engineering Pat Symonds resigned before the WMSC reunion, after Nelsinho Piquet revealed that the pair had instructed him to deliberately crash out of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, thereby prompting a safety car period that enabled team-mate Alonso to triumph in F1's inaugural night race from a lowly grid position following qualifying woes – and also arguably safeguarded the Régie's
short-term future in the paddock.
Briatore told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport
that he is 'distraught' at the outcome of the controversy, with reports that he is musing both legal action against the FIA in a bid to prove his innocence and win damages, and also the possibility of founding of a rival series to F1. The 59-year-old was not present at the WMSC meeting.
Carlos Gracia, the head of the Spanish motorsport federation – and a man who believes Piquet got off far too lightly as a result of the governing body's guarantee of immunity for divulging all he knew – contends that by contrast, Briatore was dealt with too harshly.
“Briatore's [penalty] seems to me excessive,” he told Spanish newspaper AS
. “There was no clear proof against him and he was not able to defend himself either. Moreover, I wouldn't rule out him going to ordinary justice, because he has been left without his means of earning a living.”