Disgraced Briatore may take legal action

Flavio Briatore

The flamboyant former Renault team boss was handed the sentence by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) on Monday for fixing last year's Singapore Grand Prix by ordering Nelson Piquet to crash.

"I am distraught," the 59-year-old Italian was quoted as saying by ‘Gazzetta dello Sport’.
Reports said he was planning to bring legal action against the FIA in the Paris courts to try to prove his innocence and win compensation for the damage to his image. The reports provided no further details.

Renault did not contest the accusations and were handed a suspended permanent ban that will last until the end of the 2011 season. Renault's Spanish double world champion Fernando Alonso, who won the Singapore race after Piquet's crash forced the deployment of the safety car, was cleared of any involvement.

Brazil's Piquet was given immunity from prosecution in return for testifying. Carlos Gracia, head of the Spanish motor sport federation and a member of the FIA's world motor sport council, was also shocked by the life ban. "Briatore's (penalty) seems to me excessive, there was no clear proof against him and he was not able to defend himself either," he told Spanish sports newspaper website www.as.com.

"Morever, I wouldn't rule out him going to ordinary justice because he has been left without his means of earning a living."  Briatore is banned from all F1 activities meaning he can no longer manage Piquet, Alonso and other drivers such as Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber.
Media in Italy said he might now consider setting up a rival series to Formula One.

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