The story appears on

Page A13

September 18, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sports » Motor Racing

Briatore 'sacrificed' himself for team

FLAVIO Briatore said he sacrificed himself to save his Renault Formula One team but it will take more than the departure of a flamboyant Italian showman to repair the damage done by race-fixing revelations.

"The worst act of cheating in the history of sport," declared London's The Times newspaper yesterday.

"I was just trying to save the team," Briatore said after Renault announced he and engineering head Pat Symonds had left the team after allegations they fixed last year's Singapore Grand Prix by ordering Brazilian Nelson Piquet to crash.

"It's my duty. That's the reason I've finished," he told British newspapers, whose commentators emphasized the potentially lethal nature of such a crash and portrayed a diseased sport lacking in moral perspective.

Austria's triple champion Niki Lauda, who almost died in a fiery 1976 crash at the Nuerburgring, said the scandal marked a new low.

"The McLaren spying scandal two years ago was extremely serious but mechanics have always discussed technical data among themselves," he told the Daily Mail, referring to a controversy that cost McLaren a record US$100 million fine. "This, though, is new. The biggest damage ever. Now the FIA must punish Renault heavily to restore credibility in the sport."

Britain's Jackie Stewart, another triple champion, agreed. "There is something fundamentally rotten and wrong at the heart of Formula One," he told The Sun.

"Never in my experience has Formula One been in such a mood of self-destruction. Millions of fans are amazed, if not disgusted, at a sport which now goes from crisis to crisis with everyone blaming everyone else."

Formula One's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone, a co-owner with Briatore of English first division soccer club Queens Park Rangers, refused to stand up for a man who had been seen by some as his eventual successor.

"It is a pity that Flavio has ended his F1 career in this way," the 78-year-old told the Daily Mirror. "You can't defend him at all. What he did was completely unnecessary. It's a pity that its happened."

Ecclestone still could not resist making light of Briatore's predicament, suggesting he would now have more time to pick QPR's team, and said the sport that he has built into a billion dollar business would not suffer.

"He (Briatore) told me recently that he didn't want to finish up like me, playing with racing cars at my age. So at least he's been saved that embarrassment," he said.

"It (the sport) has recovered from so many things when people have said it was finished and it will recover from this. It was supposed to be finished when Ayrton Senna died. It was supposed to be finished when Michael Schumacher retired. People say its been a torrid year but it always is in F1. There's always something going on. It's never peaceful."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend