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DATE News (chronologically)
10/07/09
f1
Ecclestone suggests Briatore could prove innocence  (GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has hinted that his friend and business partner Flavio Briatore has a chance of one day returning to the formula one paddock.

Briatore, 59, was banned for life by the FIA over the crash-gate scandal, but F1 chief executive Ecclestone said he thought the penalty is harsh and should be appealed.

Ecclestone, who co-owns the London football club Queens Park Rangers with Italian Briatore, has now told his official website F1.com: "If Flavio has new evidence - and he said that he has - then he should come forward right away."

Briatore recently raised the prospect of a lawsuit against the FIA's verdict, vowing that when he is victorious, he will invite all his supporters to a great party.

Ecclestone said he heard about the Singapore race-fixing allegations from Nelson Piquet Snr in May, and immediately discussed it with his friend Briatore.

"He denied it and said, 'That's absurd!'  I believed him," he revealed.

Asked whether he will ever see Briatore back in the paddock, 78-year-old Ecclestone answered: "Who knows?"

And when asked what he would say if Briatore asked for a race pass, the F1 supremo added: "I would say no.  Until he's proved that he is innocent."

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