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Briatore: F1 worse than Italian football

Renault team boss Flavio Briatore compared Formula One to Italian football's match-fixing scandal and said that the outcome of the championship had been decided "around a table".

Briatore's comments on Italian television followed Renault's world champion Fernando Alonso declaring that Formula One was "no longer a sport".

Stewards at the Italian Grand Prix demoted Alonso five places on the starting grid after he was ruled to have impeded Ferrari's Felipe Massa during Saturday's qualifying.

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher won Sunday's race after Alonso withdrew 10 laps from the end with a blown engine.

"What happened on Sunday isn't the problem," said Briatore. "It is what happened before the race which is strange. This is a world championship which has already been decided at the table.

"We have understood how things go - it has all been decided...they have decided to give the world championship to Schumacher and that is what will be," he said on Italy's RAI television.

"Compared to what is happening in Formula One, 'calciopoli' just makes me smile," added Briatore, referring to the football scandal which resulted in leading club Juventus, owned like Ferrari by the Fiat group, being demoted to the second division as punishment.

"While I accept that there are people who talk about Ferrari from time to time, there is someone who talks too much and who missed a good opportunity to stay quiet," said Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo when asked about Briatore's comments.

"In life you need to have a little bit of class and so I prefer not to respond," he added.

Alonso leads Schumacher by two points with three races remaining.

Seven-time world champion Schumacher announced on Sunday that he was retiring from the sport at the end of this season.

  © 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved
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