Ecclestone Welcomes Briatore Back into F1

Bernie Ecclestone is the first man to welcome his friend and business partner Flavio Briatore back into the sport of Formula One, after the Paris' Tribunal de Grande Instance ruled the lifetime ban imposed by the FIA to the Italian manager as being irregular. The Formula One supremo admitted that he'd like to have Briatore back in the paddock, but said he's not really sure the Italian wants that also.

He is welcome to come back to the paddock. He was a great character in F1 but I am not sure if that is what he wants to do now. I think he will move on from that. It's good for him but it is not good for the FIA when you read the verdict,” said Ecclestone to the UK newspaper Express, after the verdict was announced.

In addition, he argued that the international federation overreacted in the first place, when handing the former Renault manager a lifetime ban from the sport. During the voting process, Ecclestone was one of the people that voted against such a drastic ban. As compared to Briatore, Renault's former engineering head Pat Symonds received only 5 years away from the sport.

I said at the time that even murderers don't get life sentences these days and the court seems to agree,” added the F1 executive.

However, with the FIA announcing that it may appeal the court's decision in the next few days, Ecclestone too believes the saga is yet to find closure.

It's not over by a long way. Just because a bloody judge has said what he's said doesn't make any difference. The court said it was wrong, so the FIA can start all over again and it will go on and on,” added Ecclestone.

However, talking about the prospect of the FIA winning a potential appeal to the Paris court's decision, Briatore's lawyer Philippe Ouakrat – ironically enough, the same lawyer that defended Briatore's long-time rival Max Mosley in his sex-gate a couple of years ago – said that would be highly unlikely.

I think the decision is very well-structured. It is going to be very difficult for the FIA to appeal against it,” Ouakrat was quoted as saying to The Guardian.
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