Former FIA president Max Mosley has stated that “Crashgate” is far from over, despite a French court overturning the bans of Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds.
On Tuesday the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris ruled that the punishments dealt to the former Renault employees by World Motor Sport Council, were “irregular” and ordered that the bans were to be lifted.
However Mosley, whose previous disputes with Briatore were highlighted as a factor in the court’s verdict, believes that the issue is far from over and that there are still methods which the FIA could instigate to prevent either Briatore or Symonds from returning to the sport.
“As far as the FIA is concerned I would really want to hear what the superior court said before I would be prepared to acknowledge that the advice we got from outside lawyers was incorrect,” Mosley said in an interview with the Telegraph.
“But the suggestion that we can’t penalise anyone who doesn’t have a licence is very serious because, for example, we wouldn’t be able to ban those people who blacked up their faces and upset Lewis Hamilton [in Barcelona in 2008] from coming to a race.
“But in any case the FIA can easily change its rules so that it takes account of what the court said. They said we weren’t allowed to ban non-licence holders. Well obviously you can bring in a rule which does allow you to, if you wish.
“One thing’s for sure, it’s very far from over.”
Mosley also cast doubt on Flavio Briatore’s desire to sue the Piquet family, warning that the Italian might well be subjected to legal action himself.
“It’s just talk. A little bit of boasting to the Italian press,” he continued. “The fact is if he went after the Piquets there would be a countersuit that would make his eyes water.
“In fact, I think he will be very fortunate not to get sued by the Piquets, because don’t forget he accused them of blackmail and extortion, which is very defamatory. It may well be, I don’t know, that the Piquets are preparing to sue him.”
Additionally, the Englishman believes that the FIA should appeal against the French court’s decision.
“Remember, the court did not find that [Briatore] was not guilty,” Mosley added. “They just didn’t like the procedure we used. But it’s a very preliminary judgement. I think the FIA should appeal the judgement because I think it is seriously flawed in a number of areas.
“Aspects of it are just extraordinary. Symonds actually admitted in writing that he was guilty and yet they found in his favour. But that’s only because they are not looking at the substance, they are just looking at the procedure.”
Mosley’s comments come on the same day that Flavio Briatore”s lawyer ruled out any possibility of the FIA successfully contesting the Tribunal de Grande Instance’s decision.
“First of all we aim at having the verdict enforced. In any case, the FIA has zero chances if it decides to appeal,” Philippe Ouakrat told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“It’s a real cataclysm for them. They prefer to shut up like a clam. We would have liked to find a different solution, but Briatore now has a real boulevard ahead of him.
“The FIA could take a step backwards. Up to now Briatore has accepted to save the team, but he will never accept his name to be linked to a cheat.
“We could ask for compensation for the damages suffered by my client’s driver management company. The figures would be a lot more important.”
Ouakrat also believes that the FIA’s World Council will have to make radical changes to its structure after the French court’s decision.
“It is against French and international laws for an organism to be jury, procedural body and investigating body at the same time, with the president of an institution that decides who to investigate, that controls investigators, and that presides the judging organ.
“Now, the FIA can’t take disciplinary measures anymore without the risk of seeing them annulled in a civil court.”