Briatore: Renault have faith in the FIA
|By Alan Baldwin||Monday, September 11th 2006, 15:36 GMT|
Renault are confident the Formula One championship is being run fairly and without favouritism, team boss Flavio Briatore said on Monday.
Speaking a day after his controversial outburst on Italy's RAI television, in which he compared F1 to Italian football's match-fixing scandal and suggested Ferrari were being favoured, Briatore told Reuters that he had been misunderstood.
"We have full confidence in everything...we never believed that they (the governing body) were manipulating anything against Renault," he said in an interview. "I am sure of the integrity of the stewards, of this I am 100 percent sure."
Briatore felt, however, that the rules needed to be reviewed to ensure drivers were punished only for deliberate blocking actions in qualifying rather than unintentional misdemeanours.
Renault's world champion Fernando Alonso was demoted five places to 10th on Sunday's Italian Grand Prix starting grid after stewards ruled that the Spaniard had impeded Ferrari's Brazilian Felipe Massa.
Alonso, who left Monza with his lead over Ferrari's Michael Schumacher slashed from 12 points to two after an engine failure, was adamant he had not blocked Massa and said bitterly on Sunday that Formula One was no longer a sport.
"What we need to do in the future is identify really what is the spirit of the rules," said 56-year-old Briatore.
"The spirit in qualifying was that if someone intentionally stops you doing your laptime, they should be punished. This was the intention, or we should put it this way.
"The stewards have Ferrari's telemetry and maybe in that there is some proof that Fernando upset Massa. But for sure Fernando did not want to disturb Massa's lap," he added.
"For us, Massa on pole position is better than Schumacher on pole."
Briatore excused Alonso's anger as that of a young man whose emotions were inevitably running high at a crucial stage of the championship.
Briatore's own words, including the comment that "they have decided to give the world championship to Schumacher" and a reference to the 'calciopoli' football scandal, had been simply misunderstood.
"Sure, we are not happy, this is normal. But all this stuff was too emotional. When we were talking about it, it was a kind of a provocation, a kind of a joke. People took it too seriously, all the situation," he said.
"It was a remark turned differently to my intention.
"We accept the position of the stewards. I accept their decisions all the time. Fernando is 25 years old, he was very emotional about that and he feels it. But we never want to interfere with the decisions of the stewards.
"The stewards have more elements than me to judge the situation. Today is Monday and it is finished, done, gone," he added.
Briatore, who could be charged with bringing the sport into disrepute by the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) after his comments on Sunday, made clear that he did not want any bad blood.
"We want to fight to the last race, we want to win the championship. That's the bottom line," he said.
"We respect the decisions of the federation because this is why we are in the world championship, we accept the power and decisions of the federation.
"I support (FIA president) Max (Mosley) completely," added Briatore.
"When we are talking about engines rules and that situation I think Max has done very good...I am a friend of Max and I respect what he is doing for Formula One and Renault supports him completely.
"During the race sometimes you are a little bit too emotional," added the Italian, who last week signed up for two more years at the Renault helm.
"That's why I still love this business, because it gives emotion. Sometimes it's good emotion and sometimes it's bad."