Mike Stevens | Oct 20, 2009

DISGRACED FORMER Renault F1 boss Flavio Briatore has launched legal action in a French court to overturn his lifetime ban from motorsport.

Briatore was handed the sanction by the FIA for his role in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix race fixing saga (with Nelson Piquet Jr instructed to deliberately crash to boost the podium chances of team mate Fernando Alonso).

Although the Italian wasn’t present at the FIA hearing which determined his fate, Briatore has challenged the governing body’s decision, claiming his punishment is excessive and metered out by President Max Mosley as payback for his role in FOTA’s revolt against the planned budget cap.

Briatore accused the FIA of denying him natural justice by “lacking impartiality”, “granting selective immunities” and engaging in “secret negotiation of the decision content before the hearing”.

“In this case, the FIA has been used as a tool to exact vengeance on one man,” he said in a statement.

“I have every confidence that the French courts will resolve the matter justly and impartially.”

The statement continued: “Flavio Briatore intends to obtain an order from the court quashing the FIA's decision insofar as it relates to him, together with an order, subject to a penalty for non-compliance, requiring the Federation to withdraw any penalty imposed on him.

"He is also seeking damages and official publication of the court's decision.”

Briatore has also claimed the FIA has abused its power in handing out punishment to a non-licensee and refusing to reveal a definitive length for his ban.

The Italian has gained support from a number of key members of the F1 paddock, including the sport’s commercial rights holder, Bernie Ecclestone and Australian star Mark Webber, who is managed by Briatore’s company.

The FIA’s ban has affected Briatore’s engagements away from motorsport, with the English Football League reconsidering his eligibility to hold a stake in Queens Park Rangers.

Briatore’s involvement in the race-fixing scandal breaches a key element of the Football League’s ‘fit and proper person’ rules, which prevents an individual from owning a club if they have been banned by another sporting body.

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