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Crash and Burn


The recent 'Crashgate' scandal that rocked the F1 world looks set to haunt Renault's erstwhile team principal Flavio Briatore for some time to come. At the recent World Motor Sport Council hearing, the flamboyant Italian was banned indefinitely from working in F1 or even entering the paddock at FIA-sanctioned events. What's more, any team or any driver associated with Briatore will not to be entitled to compete at in F1. Currently, the drivers whose careers are managed by Briatore include Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Heikki Kovalainen. However, it's safe to assume that it won't be long before these drivers dissociate themselves from the man who managed the great Michael Schumacher's early career. 

As if this wasn't enough, the Football League has requested for more details regarding Briatore's ban. You see, Briatore is co-owner of championship football club Queens Park Rangers along with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal. Football League rules state that nobody can own, direct or hold a majority interest in a club if they are banned by a sport's governing body. Sounds like even more bad news for poor Flavio. 

Meanwhile, Renault has gotten away lightly with a two-year suspended ban, similar to what McLaren got after the 'Spygate' scandal two years ago. Any indiscretion against the sport's principles in the next two years will see the ban come into effect. Renault's decision not to contest the charges levied against it and full co-operation during the proceedings led to the lenient decision on the WMSC and FIA's part. Just as well, because F1 cannot afford to lose yet another major manufacturer.