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Official: Briatore ban overturned

NEWS STORY
05/01/2010

The Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris, the French court which heard Flavio Briatore's appeal against his lifetime ban from FIA-sanctioned motorsport, has overturned the ban.

The Italian was banned from all involvement in FIA-sanctioned motorsport for his involvement in the incident which saw Nelson Piquet deliberately crash out of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, the Brazilian claiming that Briatore ordered him to crash.

Briatore, who stepped down as Renault boss ahead of the September hearing, was subsequently ordered to end all involvement in motorsport, including his role as manager to a number of leading drivers.

However, the Italian subsequently went to the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris claiming that the ban was entirely excessive and that the FIA, under Max Mosley's leadership, was "blinded" by desire for "personal revenge. He also claimed a million euros in damages.

Leading up to, and in the wake of, the November hearing in Paris, Briatore, the FIA and Max Mosley, its former president, fought a war of words in the media, the sport's governing body condemning the Italian for selectively leaking extracts from his pleadings.

Had Briatore's appeal been overturned it would have effected his involvement not only in motorsport but also football, the Italian being co-owner of Queens Park Rangers football club.

The exact reason for the court's decision has not yet been announced, however the judge is understood to have found the sanction to be "illegal".

It is understood that the FIA, which was convinced Briatore would not win, will appeal the decision. That said, newly-elected president Jean Todt might decide that since the appeal largely revolved around the organization under Mosley's leadership it might be best to move on.

In terms of damages, Briatore didn't get the million euros in damages he was seeking, instead the Italian has to settle for 15,000, while Pat Symonds, who has had his five-year ban overturned, receive 5,000 euros.

More to follow.

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