Sep.17 (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has said he was "surprised" by the news and "very sorry" to see his friend and business partner Flavio Briatore leave formula one in disgrace.
"I'm very, very sorry that he's ending his association with formula one," the F1 chief executive, who frequently travelled to races with the flamboyant Italian and co-owns the football club Queens Park Rangers with him, said after hearing that Briatore had fallen on his sword over the 'crash-gate' scandal."I feel sorry for him. Obviously, I'm surprised at what has happened, and I'm taken by surprise that they've decided to walk away," Ecclestone, 78, added.Also departing Renault on Wednesday was Pat Symonds, who until the Piquet allegations was one of F1's most highly respected and regarded senior engineers and tacticians.Ecclestone said: "I am surprised at Pat letting himself become involved."It is speculated that the next move for the pair might be lifetime bans from FIA-sanctioned motor racing and even other forms of sport, criminal proceedings for ordering a dangerous crash, and other court actions, including by Ferrari or Felipe Massa for costing them the 2008 world championship.The World Motor Sport Council will sit to consider possible sanctions against Renault, Briatore and Symonds next Monday."I've no idea what will happen. We'll have to wait and see. To be honest with you, I don't want to make any comments about the World Council," said Ecclestone.He also told the Daily Mail newspaper: "You can't defend him (Briatore) at all. What he did was completely unnecessary. It's a pity that it's happened."