SINGAPORE - Formula One ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone said yesterday the lifetime ban meted out to Renault team principal Flavio Briatore was too harsh.
But he made it clear his friend should have owned up before the hearing this week into Nelson Piquet Jnr's deliberate crash at last year's Singapore Grand Prix.
"There were three people who knew what was going on and that is it. No one else was involved," the sport's powerful commercial rights holder said in Singapore, autosport.com reported.
"Those people have been dealt with, in my view quite harshly in (regards to) Flavio."
The flamboyant Italian quit as team boss last week ahead of Monday's World Motor Sport Council hearing into Renault's conduct, after the team ordered Piquet to crash to orchestrate a win for his teammate Fernando Alonso.
He was banned for life from the sport while Renault chief engineer Pat Symonds was suspended for five years. Piquet escaped punishment after being granted immunity.
Briatore has denied the charges, saying they were "outrageous lies". -Sapa-AFP