He might have been re-instated his 'dignity' following the overturning of his lifetime ban by the French High Court earlier this month, but former Renault
F1 managing director Flavio Briatore has asserted that in the wake of the now infamous 'Singapore-gate' race-fixing controversy, he 'will never manage another team' in the sport.
Indefinitely barred from all aspects of any FIA-sanctioned form of motor racing by the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) for having presided over one of the most scandalous examples of cheating in sporting memory, Briatore has been allowed to return to working in F1 should he so desire after the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris deemed the governing body's procedures to have been both 'irregular' and 'illegal', upholding his contention that former FIA President Max Mosley had used the hearing as a convenient means by which to see through a personal vendetta against him.
However, business partner and F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone opined after the High Court verdict that he doubted whether Briatore would actually want to re-enter the paddock in a similar capacity to before. Now, the un-cowed Italian – up until recently almost universally scorned for having deliberately risked lives by instructing Nelsinho Piquet to crash out of the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix
in 2008 on purpose, in order to enable team-mate Fernando Alonso
to win the race and thereby effectively secure Renault's short-term future on the grand prix grid – has acknowledged that he likely never will.
“It was a great victory for me in the French court,” he told British newspaper the Daily Mirror
. “I still feel bitter about what happened, and for three or four months it was very, very difficult. We had the report of the FIA and the report of the stewards, and there was no evidence that I was involved in the accident. This is official – done by FIA. Simple.
“I will never manage another team in Formula 1 in my life, this is sure, but I have got my dignity back which is important after 20 years in the sport.”
There were also fears that one of sport's most famously flamboyant and charismatic figures would have to relinquish his co-ownership of London football club Queens Park Rangers (QPR) should his F1 ban stand – a situation that would have left him vulnerable to the Football League's fit-and-proper person test. Having now been all-but exonerated, however, the 59-year-old revealed that he has no intentions of departing the Championship side.
“Nobody wants to sell the club,” he stressed. “Everybody wants to keep going, and we are looking for the play-offs; we have the players to do it. I am 100 per cent committed to the club for the long-term. Don't forget, QPR now have the kind of players they couldn't have dreamed of having before. Don't forget, too, that without us, QPR would have gone bankrupt.
“We have improved the stadium and we are doing the best for the club. We have to take it step-by-step. Some fans, because they pay £20, want to criticise. It's very easy for me to walk away – I don't have any problem with that. We want to keep the club, but somebody needs to remember QPR three years ago and look at it now. Some people are jealous – there's a lot of jealousy.”