FIA bans disgraced karter Corberi from motorsport for 15 years

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The FIA International Tribunal has handed down a 15-year ban to kart racer Luca Corberi for his behaviour in last year’s FIA KZ Karting world championship final.

His actions, which were caught on video and widely circulated on social media, drew criticism from across the motor racing world, including Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button, who called for him to be banned.

Corberi threw the front fairing of his kart at rival Paolo Ippolito. He then attacked Ippolito after the race, which took place at the South Garda Karting circuit in Lonato, Italy, which is owned by the Corberi family.

The tribunal found Corberi guilty of both acts, and also noted he “crossed the track several times at different spots, in the middle of the race, disobeying the instructions given to him by the officials”.

As well as upholding Corberi’s disqualification from the event, the FIA imposed a 15-year suspension and ban on the 23-year-old. He is therefore barred from all competitions organised by the FIA and its member clubs, and any test sessions organised by them. He is also banned from serving the FIA in an official capacity.

FIA demanded lifetime ban over “violent assault”

The tribunal’s findings shed new light on the incident and why the FIA considered it so serious it pushed for a lifetime ban from the sport.

Corberi retired from the race following a collision with Ippolito. The stewards held Ippolito responsible for the collision and disqualified him from the race after it had finished.

In the meantime, Corberi took matters into his own hands. While the race continued, he removed the front fairing from his kart, “although the integrity of his kart was not compromised despite the impact”, the tribunal findings noted.

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“The driver then walked towards the track with the front fairing still in his hands and waited by the side of track until he could see Mr Ippolito, who was continuing the race, approaching.

“Then, while the race was still ongoing, the driver threw the front fairing of his kart, which weighs at least 1.35kg, in the direction of Mr Ippolito, whose speed, as well as that of his direct followers, was approximately 100kph, resulting in a level of energy, according to the FIA, equivalent to 521J.”

Had the fairing struck Ippolito on his crash helmet, the FIA estimated “this could lead to serious (but not fatal) neck injuries due to a sudden rearward movement of the head and significant hyperextension of the neck”, a view it says is “commonly admitted and undisputed by the respondent [Corberi]”.

The FIA also noted Corberi’s actions could have provoked Ippolito to swerve in avoidance, potentially causing a crash. The fairing was struck by another driver. “Luckily, no physical damage resulted from this,” stated the Tribunal report.

Ignoring the gesticulations of track officials including the FIA’s deputy race director Pasquale Lupoli, Corberi crossed the track while the race continued.

Corberi was later disqualified from the race as a result of this incident. However his subsequent actions were also taken into consideration by the Tribunal.

After the race finished, Corberi “ran violently towards Paolo Ippolito and pushed him to the ground,” stated the report. “The two drivers then started to fight. At least four drivers or mechanics tried to separate them.”

Corberi’s father Marco then “attacked Mr Ippolito and hit him in the head, while Mr Ippolito’s father joined the fight a few seconds later.” A brawl broke out between all four.

“After the intervention of Mr Karl Janka, FIA technical co-ordinator, Mr Paolo Ippolito stepped back, while Messrs Corberi, father and son, continued to fight with Mr Giuseppe Ippolito. It then took several minutes more before Mr Janka managed to separate the three protagonists and send everyone to the finish park.”

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The FIA accused Corberi of multiple instances of breaking the Code of Good Conduct by throwing his fairing at Ippolito and attacking him afterwards. His actions showed “a very negative image of drivers, karting and motor sport in general” and were “prejudicial to the interests of the FIA as a custodian of the sport in general, and to the FIA Karting world championship in particular”, they stated.

Corberi and his representatives did not contest the facts of the matter. However they challenged the FIA’s case on a number of techncial and procedural grounds.

These included citing Corberi’s “state of anger” in reaction to the original incident as a contributing factor; citing a precedent from a cross-country skiing competition, in which a competiton who assaulted a rival was given a one-year ban; and claiming the on-track collision was “ignored by the FIA”. The latter point was contested by the sport’s governing body on the grounds that Ippolito was disqualified over the incident.

The FIA called for Corberi to receive a lifetime ban for the two incidents. Following its deliberations, the Tribunal issued a 15-year ban instead.

The figure was arrived at after considering the limited number of multiple-year bans imposed for incidents of such seriousness. It took into consideration Corberi’s relatively young age, his 10 years experience in karting, the fact it was a “first-time offence” and that he had apologised publicly for his behaviour.

“Bearing in mind the above, the Tribunal considered that the respondent should have a second chance to come back to the motor sport world after having served a certain number of years of ban and suspension which shall reflect the gravity of his acts; as such, a life-time sanction would not be appropriate,” the Tribunal determined.

“Taking into account, however, (i) the legal and fundamental values shared by the members of the Tribunal and (ii) their belief that violence has no place in sports (zero tolerance policy), the Tribunal decided that a 15-year sanction would be adequate and proportional, since such a sanction clearly reflects the gravity of the facts and the violence involved,” it ruled.

The verdict can be read in full here (PDF).

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 55 comments on “FIA bans disgraced karter Corberi from motorsport for 15 years”

    1. Martin Elliott
      19th April 2021, 20:12

      What about his father, an official (?) who also got involved?

      1. Yeah, I am curious about that as well. Especially since he ran/runs the track.

      2. Probably the same ban, I hope.

      3. Separate case, not yet decided, likely to go a similar way.

    2. Meanwhile Ticktum, who used his car as a cruise missile to attack a driver that upset him, is racing in F2. Only in the bizarro world created by the FIA.

      1. 1. I accidentally clicked Report comment. Just to clarify: I did not mean to! Nothing wrong with your post.
        2. What about Mazepin, who beat up Callum Ilott after a practice session a couple of years ago? He is happily swinging the red lantern around in impromptu circles in F1 now.

        1. I don’t think you clicked “Report Comment”, I think you clicked that secret button that we all need.

      2. And this is why Ticktum’s reputation will never, ever be redeemed. He should have quit motorsport a long time ago and shifted his career towards another path.

      3. @inininin Why would they treat him so differently?

      4. Vettel deliberately crashed into Hamilton under safety car in 2017. Nothing much gets done once you’re in the professional tiers.

    3. Sounds like a thoroughly obnoxious fellow and father, but the FIA has tolerated worse behavior in the past. An essentially lifetime ban seems over the top.

      1. Hopefully this serves as a proper warning to budding “sportsmen” like this brat, when very little else does. Best to nip this behavior before someone gets seriously hurt (better late than never). I commend the ruling.

      1. Oh get a grip, Vettel’s move had no intention of hitting Hamilton. He was just trying to swipe at him in protest and just happened to slightly touch. He was just clumsy at low speed and NOT at full racing speed, no one was in danger of injury. Completely different to this scenario! Also Vettel DID get a penalty. If you want to put an F1 driver into this comparison, use Senna crashing out Prost deliberately in Suzuka 1990, so dangerous at high speed and Senna’s reward was being crowned world champion, with no penalty. Senna should have been banned for a season at least, his ego was to ahead of himself. Schumacher on Villeneuve in 97 Jerez was slower speed than Senna, and Schumacher was disqualified from the championship.

        1. Thoughts on the European Super League? Thoughts on Malaysia 2016? Thoughts on Azerbaijan 2018?

        2. Did I ever mention Baku 2017 on my comment? Japan 1990? And that one from 1997? 100% NO. It was a clear reaction to Luca Corberi’s ban, and it was deserved. Could be lifetime, but yeah, this was fair enough. Bye bye, don’t talk to me anymore.

    4. Meanwhile, our golden boy George Russell, that hit Valtteri Bottas on the head, without knowing if Bottas had a head/neck etc. injury after that high speed collision, is good to go! Oh-My-God…

      1. @f1-fan I hope sarcasm here? If not, watch the incident again and watch Bottas saluting Russell with his middle finger before any tapping of helmets occurred. Also, comparing Corberi and Russell as anything but opposites is laughable in the extreme.

        1. @ferrox-glideh It isn’t a sarcasm. I have dropped SKY’s biasm long time ago and I use different broadcasts. The guy was telling for 10 seconds “Bottas doesn’t move, let’s hope that he is ok” and then the next “picture” was of young George hitting him on the head.

          1. @f1-fan I think there is quite a step between Russell slapping Bottas on the noggin’ and what Corberi and his father did.

        2. @ferrox-glideh You’re actually arguing hitting someone is Ok because the other guy gestured first. I don’t know where you’re from, but violence is obviously not acceptable behaviour and what the whole story is about here.

          1. That was more like a pat on the head than a hit. I saw no violence in it. Of course, where I come from, violence is a daily way of life and we kill anyone who even looks sideways at us. Note: that was sarcasm.

        3. It’s not a sarcasm what George did was not smart as Bottas was really shaken up and at that moment wasn’t clear if he was serious hurt. Bottas was breathing very heavly and still didn’t got out the car yet.

          1. The pat on the head happened after he communicated with Bottas and saw that he was okay.

      2. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
        20th April 2021, 2:18

        You’re making it sound like Russell gave Bottas a forceful punch to the face. He didn’t. I re-watched the footage of their altercation mere minutes ago, and what Russell did was much closer to a mild pat than to a hit. You are misrepresenting what happened. Also, are you seriously equating this –

        Corberi threw the front fairing of his kart at rival Paolo Ippolito. He then attacked Ippolito after the race

        – that is, two counts of assault, one of them with an object, and the other unarmed but arguably premeditated – to a mild pat on another driver’s helmet? Like, really?

        1. @AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken Did I mispresent? I am sorry, perhaps I got carried away from the WWE style and life threatening attack from VER to OCO some time ago, solely based on the comments on this site.

          1. That happened a long time ago, it is amazing you are still worked up about it.

            1. He has no chill pill.

          2. @f1-fan A life-threatening attack? OCO and VER merely ‘pushed’ or shoved each other, so hardly even a fight.
            RUS merely slapped BOT on the helmet rather than punched, so don’t exaggerate things, LOL.

            1. @jerejj Just sarcasm. VER haters presented it like that. But on similar cases like this with RUS, the sl@pping part is nowhere to be found on the comments by the very same people. “RUS has apologized, good for him!” is the best they can do. I wonder though what would have been the case if MAZ was there instead of RUS. Crucifixion I guess. Anyway, let’s move on.

      3. Ahahahaha I don’t trust you. You’re an awful human being.

      4. Being shown the middle finger by someone so giving them a tap on the helmet (from the replay can’t even tell if even touches him or the car),
        Is now the same as breaking the front wing of your kart, throwing it at a driver going 100kmh, then starting a full on unprovoked brawl in the pit lane… What a world we live in!

      5. Yes George did bad in this situation, not caring if Bottas was OK, but it is completely different walking up to a stationary car and tapping him on his helmet than throwing car parts at a driving going full pelt around a race track. Please reconsider your fanboy oppinion.

        Reply moderated
        1. Well, guess the Super League’s gone! Anyway, thoughts on Azerbaijan 2018?

          1. LOL

            Reply moderated
            1. 0 games played!

    5. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
      20th April 2021, 3:08

      the WWE style and life threatening attack from VER to OCO some time ago

      Okay, surely that has to be sarcasm. But I honestly can’t make heads or tails of what point you’re trying to make. Is it that people overreacted to the Verstappen-Ocon incident? Or is it something else entirely? Maybe if you dropped the sarcasm for a moment, it would be easier for you to make yourself understood.

      1. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
        20th April 2021, 3:09

        This was meant as a reply to @F1.Fan.

        1. I don’t think that guy understands how sarcasm works, if that is his intent.

            1. @ferrox-glideh Dude, wake up. There were 2 replies, from different people, on my comment and I gave 2 separate answers. One was for the seriousness of RUS’s reaction and the other for the “mispresentation”.

            2. I still don’t trust you.

          1. Yes my friend Gilles @ferrox-glideh Villeneuve, that WAS sarcasm. A simple indication of the double standards on this site.

            1. I don’t think you’re coming clean…

            2. When you said above that you were not being sarcastic (I quote: ” It wasn’t a sarcasm”), and now you say that you were being sarcastic after all, it is confusing to everyone. There are no double standards on this site, unless you say one thing and then immediately say the opposite when you are questioned about it. I was just looking for clarification, and all I’ve gotten is a run around.

            3. The above is a reply to @f1-fan

    6. isnt 15 years way to over the board just for a fight? 15years means no racing for you at all.

      1. Not just a fight. He tried to cause an accident and/or injury to one of his competitors. Imagine an F1 driver throwing his front wing at a speeding car.

      2. @re-play No it doesn’t. The whole world of rental karting (including races involving just one track per series) is still available.

      3. 15 is perfect for the incidents.

        Reply moderated
    7. I am of two minds.

      On the one side, I am ideologically opposed to lifetime bans in the vast majority of cases, and I find it abhorrent that the FIA should choose to “hide” a lifetime, career-destroying sanction under the guise of a temporary ban of “15 years”. Have the courage to make it a lifetime ban if you’re going to ban someone for more than, say, 5 years.

      This said, the driver’s behavor–and that of some of the others involved–is of such gravity that, to me, does warrant a rare lifetime ban. Again, Frankly, I believe some of his actions ought to warrant legal persecution, too.

      1. Legal prosecution is by no means excluded by the FIA decision, should those involve decide accordingly.

    8. He should have been handed a lifetime ban. What do they want; the driver to pull out a handgun? Ridiculous.

      Still, I am very happy this idiot got a life-changing punishment.

      Reply moderated
    9. Is there any footage of Corberi’s initial crash that got him so enraged?

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