MILAN, Sept 22 Flavio Briatore is devastated by
his life ban from Formula One for his role in a race-fixing
scandal and may take legal action against motor sport's
governing body, Italian media reported on Tuesday.
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.
Briatore left Renault last week along with engineering head
Pat Symonds, who was banned for five years on Monday.
Former world champions 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
Briatore, a business partner of Formula One supremo Bernie
Ecclestone and leading figure in the Formula One Teams
Association (FOTA), did not attend Monday's Paris hearing.
He 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.
Better as a businessman than on the pit wall, Briatore was
among those planning a breakaway series when teams clashed with
the FIA earlier this year and he has long said F1 has become
(additional reporting by Alan Baldwin)
(Reporting by Mark Meadows; Editing by Peter Rutherford; To
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