F1 » 26 September 2009
Minardi: Briatore forced out by 'manhunt'
Gian Carlo Minardi has said that the manner of Flavio Briatore's public ousting from the motorsport world smacked of a crusade against the flamboyant Italian.
The former F1 team owner admitted that it was 'not easy to issue statements on a complex subject matter, by reading news only from the press', accepting that it would be possible to jump to the wrong conclusion, but insisted that, in his opinion, the judicial procedure was heavy-handed.
"I was very surprised and shocked by the treatment that has been reserved for Flavio Briatore as, in my opinion, it should not be a World Council that issues this ruling, but rather a sporting justice. The decision was taken in a few minutes and we have had people questioning the mysterious [Witness X]. It seemed more of a manhunt, to strike and remove Briatore, rather than really try to find out how the events went. It seems pure fiction to organise such a scam."
Minardi also had harsh words for Nelson Piquet Jr who, despite being the driver who deliberately crashed his car to bring out a caution period that helped Renault team-mate Fernando Alonso win the race, was granted immunity by the FIA for spilling the beans.
“It's like a killer, after a killing someone, being offered freedom in exchange for his testimony," Minardi said, "At this point, Piquet will have certainly a future in F1 because he has proven not to believe in its potential and not to have a personality.
"In my career, it never so much crossed my mind to give a set of tyres that are under-performing to one of my drivers to try to encourage his partner, so imagine voluntarily going into a wall."
Minardi, who sold his team to Paul Stoddart in 2000, believes that Briatore is unlikely to simply accept his fate, and it appears that the Italian will indeed press ahead with his bid to overturn the life ban he was handed by the FIA at the start of the week.
"In the end, I will win and, you will see, we will have a big party," he told Italy's La Repubblica "It will be well organised and we'll invite everyone who has stayed close to me in these difficult times.
"Look at the verdict the FIA put online on Tuesday - it's not about me. I've been betrayed by my own world, [but] I will talk only at the right time - assuming they let me talk!"
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