• Crashgate

Closing a sordid chapter

Martin Williamson April 13, 2010

Formula One can breathe a sigh of relief that Crashgate appears to have been put to bed. After 18 months of tawdry and mucky behaviour from which nobody emerged with credit, a settlement has been reached which allows all parties to claim various degrees of satisfaction.

At least the FIA has shown common sense where previously it shambled from one botch to another. It has reached a compromise whereby it continues to maintain the guilt of Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds, but allows them to move on while also acknowledging its own failings and the need for "structural reform".

What is clear is that the confrontational stance Max Mosley adopted when he was FIA president has been replaced by a more conciliatory one from Jean Todt. Had Mosley still been at the helm this would have rumbled on, with regular outbursts of name-calling, for a long time yet.

Almost inevitably, Briatore continues to insist he is only guilty in so far as he was Renault principal at the time. He claimed yesterday he had informed the FIA he would not return until 2013, adding he had accepted the FIA proposal "without any admission of a personal guilt".

Everyone agrees F1 should now move on and learn from the mistakes of Crashgate. Most pressing is for the the FIA to re-write its own rulebook as what this did reveal was how little control it has over its own sport.

And Briatore? Given all that has happened, a future without him being involved ever again could only be a bonus for F1.

Martin Williamson is managing editor of digital media ESPN EMEA

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Martin Williamson is managing editor of digital media ESPN EMEA Martin Williamson, who grew up in the era of James Hunt, Niki Lauda and sideburns, became managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group in 2007 after spells with Sky Sports, Sportal and Cricinfo