The tarnished image of Formula One has received a little break following the announcement that the FIA has accepted settlements from both Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds that brings another curtain down on the Singapore 'crash-gate' affair - at least until the Piquet family's legal action re-opens the wound.
The governing body revealed on Monday that it had agreed to lift the bans handed down to former Renault
pair Briatore and Symonds following offers of settlement and would allow them to return to the pinnacle of the sport from 2013, and other motorsport a year before that. Both had been barred from F1 after being accused of complicity in ordering the accident that brought out a safety car in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, thereby allowing then Renault
driver Fernando Alonso
to benefit and, eventually, win the race.
"At its meeting in Bahrain on 11 March 2010, the WMSC [World Motor Sport Council] decided .... to give the FIA president full authority to seek a definitive outcome, whether judicial or extrajudicial, to the disputes with Mr Flavio Briatore and Mr Pat Symonds, best preserving the interests of the FIA," an official statement confirmed.
"After discussions between their lawyers and those of the FIA, Mr Flavio Briatore and Mr Pat Symonds have each made a settlement offer to the FIA president with a view to putting an immediate end to the legal proceedings.
"Each of them recognising his share of responsibility for the deliberate crash involving the driver Nelson Piquet Junior at the 2008 Grand Prix of Singapore, as 'team principal' of Renault
F1 where Mr Flavio Briatore is concerned, they have expressed their regrets and presented their apologies to the FIA.
"They have undertaken to abstain from having any operational role in Formula One until 31 December 2012, as well as in all the other competitions registered on the FIA calendars until the end of the 2011 sporting season.
"They have also abandoned all publicity and financial measures resulting from the judgment of 5 January 2010, as well as any further action against the FIA on the subject of this affair.
"In return, they have asked the FIA to abandon the ongoing appeal procedure, but without the FIA recognising the validity of the criticisms levelled against the WMSC's decision of 21 September 2009, as well as to waive the right to bring any new proceedings against them on the subject of this affair."
Briatore took his appeal against the initial life ban from F1 to a French court, which overturned the WMSC judgement, but only awarded the flamboyant Italian €15,000 in damages, rather than the far greater sum he had originally sought. The FIA had vowed to appeal the decision, but president Jean Todt has now decided that it is in the best interests of everyone involved to drop the procedure.