French court overrules Briatore ban

The governing body of Formula One, the FIA, has announced it is "considering its options" after a French court overruled a decision to impose a lifetime ban on former Renault F1 managing director Flavio Briatore over his alleged role in the 'crashgate' scandal.

Briatore received the ban after allegations were made by former driver Nelson Piquet Jr which suggested that he had been ordered to crash during a race in Singapore in 2008 in order to allow team mate Fernando Alonso to win the race.

Renault's former director of engineering, Pat Symonds, was also handed a five-year suspension by the FIA over his alleged role in the incident.

However, Briatore's return to the pit lane may be sooner than anticipated after the Tribunal de Grande Instance (TGI) ruled that the FIA did not have the power to suspend either party for their roles in the scandal as they were not licensed to compete.

Their role as so-called 'third parties' within Renault meant that they were not official licence holders, exempting them from any enforcable punishments.

In response to the TGI's judgement, a FIA statement read: "The FIA's ability to exclude those who intentionally put others' lives at risk has never before been put into doubt and the FIA is carefully considering its appeal options on this point."

Copyright © Press Association 2010