Luca Corberi’s appeal against the FIA’s decision to ban him from racing for 15 years following his controversial behaviour in a world karting championship event has been rejected by the International Court of Appeal.
Corberi was condemned by the motorsport community after a video of the 2020 world karting finals at Lonato went viral on social media, where the 23-year-old was seen throwing a bumper at fellow karter Paolo Ippolito after being involved in a collision with him the previous lap.
In another video that emerged later, Corberi appeared to be attacking Ippolito in the parc ferme, with the incident turning into a full-on brawl.
Both the Italian authorities and the FIA launched an investigation into the matter, with the governing body announcing a 15-year-ban on Corberi from competing in professional motorsport at the end of April following a meeting of the International Tribunal.
The Tribunal said it considered a lifetime ban but deemed he should be given the chance to eventually make a return to motorsport upon serving an initial suspension.
Corberi’s defence had previously argued that as the Italian authorities had already taken action against him for the two incidents, the FIA was precluded from issuing further sanctions on the same grounds. They also argued that Corberi’s actions were “in a state of anger, determined by the unjust fact of others” after a collision with Ippolito caused him to retire from the race.
An example of skiing was also given as reference, where an athlete was banned for only a single event after being found assaulting another competitor.
During the previous hearing, the FIA Tribunal had rejected Corberi’s defence, saying that the FIA has independent jurisdiction on the case and the Italian authorities were anyway yet to take action on his behaviour.
On 4 October 2020, at the South Garda Karting circuit in Lonato, in the framework of the 2020 FIA KZ Karting World Championship Final, the driver Mr Luca Corberi was involved in the following incidents:
(i) he threw the front fairing of his kart to the track while other drivers were still competing;
(ii) he physically attacked another driver.
On 1 February 2021, the President of the FIA decided to submit this case to the International Tribunal pursuant to Article 4.2 a) of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules.
On 19 April 2021, the International Tribunal, after having heard the parties and examined their submissions, decided to:
- Confirm the disqualification of Mr Luca Corberi from the competition of Lonato, Italy (2020 FIA Karting World Championship-KZ);
Impose to Mr Luca Corberi a suspension (Article 12.3.1.n of the FIA International Sporting Code (1) and a ban (Articles 5.2.2.b (2) and 5.2.2.d (3) of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules) for a period of 15 years starting on the date of coming into force of the decision of the International Tribunal.
(1) The Suspension deprives, for a specified period of time, the person subject to it of the right to take part, directly or indirectly and in any capacity whatsoever, in (i) any Competition organised or regulated by the FIA or the ASNs (or placed under their authority), and (ii) any preparatory testing and training organised or regulated by the FIA or the ASNs (or placed under their authority) or organised by their members or licence‐holders. (Article 12.4.1.n of the 2021 FIA International Sporting Code)
(2) Ban on taking part or exercising a role, directly or indirectly, in competitions, events or championships organised directly or indirectly on behalf of or by the FIA, or subject to the regulations and decisions of the FIA
(3) Ban on exercising within the FIA any duties whatsoever as an executive officer, a member of a commission, or a president of a commission, or any duties of any nature whatsoever on behalf of the FIA and/or within a body of the FIA
On 23 April 2021, Mr Luca Corberi decided to appeal the decision of the International Tribunal.
Decision of the International Court of Appeal
The Court, after having heard the parties and examined their submissions, decided:
Reject the appeal;
Uphold the decision of the International Tribunal (i.e. a suspension and a ban for a period of 15 years).
The International Court of Appeal was presided over by Mr Harry DUIJM (Netherlands), and included Mr Michael GRECH (Malta), Mr Philippe NARMINO (Monaco) and Mr Erich SEDELMAYER (Austria).