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Page last updated at 11:29 GMT, Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Flavio Briatore maintains innocence over F1 crash

Flavio Briatore
Briatore took charge of the Renault team in 2000

Former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore has maintained he is innocent of any wrongdoing after the overturning of his lifetime ban from Formula 1.

On Tuesday, the Italian saw an FIA ban for his part in Nelson Piquet Jr's deliberate crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix overturned by a civil court.

However, Briatore was not exonerated of conspiring to cause the crash.

But Briatore told Radio 4's Today programme: "The decision is simple, I have no involvement at all."

He added: "I am very happy. The last few months have been very difficult for me. It is great that I have my dignity and my freedom back and this is the most important thing."

Despite the lifting of the ban, the 59-year-old revealed he has no desire to return to the sport.

"I want to enjoy myself and take care of my family," he said. "My wife is pregnant and in three months I will have a baby. I want to enjoy my life.

"I am just happy to be clear and for the result of the court in Paris."

His previous role at Renault has now been filled by Eric Boullier, as announced earlier on Tuesday.

As well as seeing his ban overturned, Briatore was awarded £13,500 in compensation by the French high court, who deemed the FIA sanction to be illegal.

Briatore had been seeking 1m euros (£898,000) in compensation, while Renault's former director of engineering, Pat Symonds, was given 5,000 euros (£4,500) and also saw his five-year suspension quashed.

An FIA statement pointed out that the court did not reverse the body's decision, reached from its own detailed investigation, that Briatore and Symonds played a deliberate role in the incident, adding that the body was considering its options, which BBC Sport understands will include an appeal.


The statement added that, "the FIA intends to consider appropriate actions to ensure that no persons who would engage, or who have engaged, in such dangerous activities or acts of intentional cheating will be allowed to participate in Formula 1 in the future."

Both Briatore and Symonds left Renault in the wake of the "crash-gate" scandal which shocked Formula 1 last summer.

Following Piquet Jr's dismissal by the team, the Brazilian revealed he had been asked to deliberately crash to help his team-mate Fernando Alonso win the race.

Renault were subsequently given a two-year suspended ban for their role in the race-fixing scandal at an FIA hearing in September, while Briatore and Symonds were handed longer punishments.

Briatore launched his legal case in October, claiming his right to a free and fair defence to the charges was flouted.

The court's decision also benefits Briatore as a co-owner of QPR Football Club as he is no longer in danger of breaching the Football League's fit and proper person test.

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see also
Briatore wins battle against ban
07 Jan 10 |  Formula 1
Boullier named Briatore successor
05 Jan 10 |  Formula 1
Briatore attempts to overturn ban
24 Nov 09 |  Formula 1
Renault handed suspended F1 ban
21 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Briatore out over Renault fix row
16 Sep 09 |  Formula 1

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