Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Briatore is good for F1

Every hero needs his/her archenemy, a Lex Luthor to Superman. I think Flavio Briatore is Formula One's Lex Luthor. Let's face it; Briatore is a bigger than life man, rich beyond anyone's imagination with a spotty history. He is a character and a showman in a world of automatons and corporatists. He does not need Formula One, but there he is. Sometimes you applaud, but other times you are left saying shaking your head. Either way, you are looking at what he is doing.

I felt a lifetime ban was too excessive when contrasted against Ayrton Senna's actions in 1990 at Suzuka and Michael Schumacher's actions in 1997 at Jerez. In both instances, the drivers attempted to change the outcome and intentional did something that was dangerous. Senna got away with it, Schumacher did not; but neither were threatened or received lifetime bans. Moreover, the person actually responsible for carrying out the crash in 'Crashgate', Nelson Piquet faced no sanctions after brokering a deal granting himself immunity.

There is no doubt Briatore and fellow 'conspirator' former Director of Engineering Pay Symonds needed to be punished, and by proxy Renault. If the FIA chose a one year ban against Briatore and Symonds, and a financial penalty against Renault similar to McLaren's 2007 fine of $100m in regards to corporate espionage, that would have been justice in my opinion. However, the FIA under Mosley chose to bury Briatore and absolve Renault. Personally, giving credence to the idea that Max Mosley, someone who also has plenty of his own baggage, was acting personally against Briatore.

Now that courts have judged the FIA decision to be 'irregular' and overturned the bans of Briatore and Pat Symonds with Bernie Ecclestone expressing a welcoming attitude towards Briatore, the FIA and new president Jean Todt should distance themselves from the past and focus on the future. Like keeping the sport financially viable and advance more environmentally friendly ways to participate in motorsport. Let Briatore carry his scarlet letter as he will never be a team principal again, let him manage his drivers and cook up new ideas to promote the sport; something I think he was rather good at in my opinion. You do know that Lex Luthor did become President.

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