After warning Flavio Briatore that his 'victory' celebrations over 'Singapore-gate' are a little premature [see separate story – click here
], Max Mosley has gone on to criticise the French High Court ruling that quashed the Italian's lifetime ban from F1 as 'seriously flawed' and at risk of setting a dangerous precedent for any such future incidents.
Briatore and Pat Symonds – who until last summer occupied the positions of managing director and executive director of engineering respectively at Renault F1 – were both cleared to return to work in the sport should they so wish after the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris deemed that the manner in which the race-fixing case had been dealt with by the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) back in September was both 'irregular' and 'illegal', as non licence-holders cannot be barred in such a way [see separate story – click here
Mosley chaired the WMSC reunion, and was accused by Briatore of having presided over a 'sham' hearing in order to 'exact personal revenge' on him after the pair fell out spectacularly over the bitter FIA/FOTA civil war, when the Englishman had controversially characterised his nemesis as the leader of 'the loonies'.
Mosley might have stepped down from his FIA Presidential role in October to make way for incoming former Ferrari team principal Jean Todt, but he palpably still retains a keen interest, and in pointing out that the High Court did not dispute Briatore and Symonds' guilt in what he has described as the most serious example of cheating ever seen in F1, he urged the governing body to appeal the verdict – and empower itself to be able to penalise non licence-holders in any future cases.
Adamant that Briatore will not escape the punishment he believes the Queens Park Rangers (QPR) co-owner deserves for having instructed Nelsinho Piquet to deliberately crash out of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix – thereby enabling Renault team-mate Fernando Alonso to triumph in the top flight's inaugural night race from a disadvantaged grid spot – Mosley vigorously denied that he had conducted a personal vendetta against the 59-year-old, and insisted that justice would ultimately prevail.
“Remember, the court did not find that [Briatore] was not guilty,” he told British newspaper the Daily Telegraph
. “They just didn't like the procedure we used, but it's a very preliminary judgement. I think the FIA should appeal the judgement, because I think it is seriously flawed in a number of areas.
“Aspects of it are just extraordinary. Symonds actually admitted in writing that he was guilty, and yet they found in his favour – but that's only because they are not looking at the substance, they are just looking at the procedure.
“As far as the FIA is concerned, I would really want to hear what the superior court said before I would be prepared to acknowledge that the advice we got from outside lawyers was incorrect. The suggestion that we can't penalise anyone who doesn't have a licence is very serious because, for example, we wouldn't be able to ban those people who blacked up their faces and upset Lewis Hamilton [during pre-season testing in Barcelona in early 2008] from coming to a race.
“In any case, the FIA can easily change its rules so that it takes account of what the court said. They said we weren't allowed to ban non licence-holders. Well, obviously you can bring in a rule which does allow you to, if you wish. One thing's for sure – it's very far from over.”