F1 links: The case against Renault

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Details of the claims against Renault by Nelson Piquet Jnr have emerged today. The former F1 driver claims he was instructed by Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds before the race that he was to crash his car on purpose. They deny the claims, and there’s no word yet on any evidence that might prove or disprove the claims.

In other news, FOTA renegades Williams and Force India are back in the alliance, and Heikki Kovalainen has been driving a truck…

Race-day meeting key to Renault case

“Sources claim that in evidence submitted to the FIA by Nelson Piquet, the Brazilian driver says he was asked by [Flavio] Briatore and [Pat] Symonds to crash deliberately early in the race so as to help Alonso win.”

Formula One Teams Association

"FOTA re-affirmed that all teams competing in Formula One are able to join the association. FOTA therefore welcomes back into full membership both Williams and Force India."

The outbreak of sanity continues to wash over Grand Prix racing

"It was taking a dangerous sport that rides its luck every race weekend and elevating the risk to the levels of Russian roulette for no acceptable reason. Putting an ambitious, young driver in a car with mind-blurring speed and unbelievable stopping power and then hurling him into a melee with 19 other cars – with his reputation and career at stake – was just asking for trouble."

Heikki takes part in FIA eSafety Challenge

Heikki Kovalainen has been trucking: “On a slippery surface, it’s quite hard to keep control of the truck – even at low speeds,” he said. “But with the ESC, the whole vehicle is much more manageable and less prone to tipping."

Formula One does OK in 2008

"The accounts, however, reveal that the 18 races generated an average income of $47.9m, which was a slight improvement over 2007 due to the fact that new race promoters in Singapore and Valencia were paying higher fees and because of new TV rights deals that were agreed."

These are links I’ve bookmarked using Delicious. You can see my Delicious profile here.

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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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25 comments on “F1 links: The case against Renault”

  1. What ‘Saint Luca’ really want to say with that statement?

    I am happy that I’ve chosen an Italian driver, Fisichella, to race here and also Raikkonen is in great form. I’ll be back here tomorrow to talk about a new partnership, but that doesn’t mean anything in terms of choices for the near future: I want to say it again, that the drivers are chosen by Ferrari and not by the sponsors.”

    No Alonso in Ferrari in 2010?

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      10th September 2009, 0:29

      I think he’s just putting to bed the speculation that Alonso driving for Ferrari is a condition of the Santander contract the way a lot of people are expecting or assuming. As Santander cannot compete with Phillip Morris – and even if they could, they canot be seen to be becuase of the economy – they will be a secondary sponsor at best, and who ever heard of a secondary sponsor having influence over driver line-ups?

  2. Renault’s story is that they discussed Piquet intentionally crashing his car before the race, but it was Piquet’s idea? How would that make any sense at all? I honestly didn’t think there was anything to the claims and thought Renault was an innocent victim of Piquet trying to get back at them, but that claim by Renault changed my mind. How would that even come up in a meeting as driver input? I just can’t see the driver pushing for that and the team rebuffing that suggestion, then having the driver crash, and then after all of that having that driver’s contract picked up for the next year by the team. It just doesn’t add up.

    1. I also feel that it makes no sense to claim that Piquet was blackmailing Renault. No point in actually going to the FIA if it’s only a blackmail.

      It’s really starting to look more and more like something untoward really occurred there. I still can’t see how FIA could prove something like this though.

      With this story Renault is starting to sound more like the usual, “Yeah something went wrong but we didn’t do it intentionally, someone from the team did it on his own accord, yadda yadda yadda”.

      1. Oh dear, it’s looking bad for Flavio and Renault,why didn’t Flavio blow the whistle on Neslon? Surely it would have been the easiest way to get rid of him. Why give him another contract? This is too big for Flavio to through his hands in the air claiming “I knowa nuting”

      2. With this story Renault is starting to sound more like the usual, “Yeah something went wrong but we didn’t do it intentionally, someone from the team did it on his own accord, yadda yadda yadda”.

        Exactly. With Pat Symonds statement, it’s now clear:

        1. The crash during those very same laps was discussed
        2. The crash happened

        It’s over really. Now it’s just a matter of how to apportion blame.

        I would think that if Piquet brought it up in the meeting before he actually went ahead crash. Even if he acted of his own accord, the team is duty-bound to inform the FIA of his conduct, and the action would be serious enough to terminate Piquet’s contract right there, not renew his contract another year!

        1. Everybody is guilty by association.

          Nelson should have his super license revocked and banned for a year from all FIA races.

          Flavio should be expelled from F1, if he really isn’t implicated then why not blow the whistle on Nelson after the race and get rid of him free of charge?

          I’m sorry to say that I have lost all respect for Pat in all this, he too must be tarnished with the same brush.

          As for Renault, this publicity is not what they need, they should sell the outfit to LOLA and the LOLA people could run it.

          1. Agreed.

            But it seems that Piquet will be given immunity for his bad actions:


            One begs the question as to whether Mosley himself instructed Piquet on how to proceed with this leak/allegations

        2. It seems that Piquet suggested the strategy… no sense

      3. No point in actually going to the FIA if it’s only a blackmail.

        Unless Piquet was trying to blackmail Renault with the threat to go to the FIA with this and is now going through with it.

        1. Yes, but there is no use in actually acting out the threat since then you lose your leverage.

          Also, this could potentially ruin Piquet’s career.

          So all in all, if it was just a blackmail, then coming out with the secret is useless.

          1. One thing (IMO) is clear.
            Piquet has no career

  3. Uncle Flav just left for a few minutes to have noodle soup with meatballs , and forgot to connect the autopilot for Nelsinho

  4. Renault was at best complacent in this case. The fact that the incident was executed to perfection and catapulted Alonso into the lead means that there was collaboration. To me Pat Symonds’ comment that it was Piquet’s idea is pathetic. I robbed the bank but it was my friend’s idea.

    1. FIA should investigate also if in Ferrari’s pits there was some Renault mechanic creating the mess…

  5. The comments in the article aren’t official just what they are reported to have said from unnamed sources, so until the FIA release all the evidence and we see the statements from all invloved I will reserve judegement.

    1. i think that’s the only way to see this

      a) why would Pat Symonds admit that he knew about the crash (whether it was his or Piquet’s idea is irrelevant) BEFORE the hearing if he wanted to lay all the blame on Piquet?

      b) why would flavio sign Piquet for another year if he disagreed with the decision to crash (again whether it was Renault or Piquet’s idea is irrelevant) i.e. he knew about it and kept quiet

      c) what the hell are people like this doing in the sport?

      If ANY of this is true, be it Piquet’s fault, Flavio’s fault, or even some lowly engineer with a bright idea, the whole lot should be banned and replaced by an up and coming team whose sole drive is to race cars competitively and not break the rules, knwoingly or not, for personal gain.

      This is bang out of order, BUT… lets wait for the facts, i’d like to see what Flavio has to say about the matter in front of the camera’s this weekend, and if an interview with Piquet surfaces, we need to watch the subtext as closely as possible. It could be his father instigating all of this, pushing young Piquet to come clean, when Jr knows that his racing career is over if this is true, his fault or not.

      my 2c

  6. It was all Piquet’s idea eh?

    Comon Flavio, you’ll have to come up with something a bit better than that.

    Even if it was his idea, who cares. They shouldn’t have done it – simple. It’s like my friend saying, you can get free money by robbing a bank. If I then go and do it, is my friend to blame?

    Disgraceful by Renault.

    1. I think the point is that it was Piquet’s idea and he decided to go through with it anyway. ie they claim they had nothing to do with it at all.

      It’s more like you tell a friend you are going to rob a bank. He tells you not to. A while later you are in the bank together and you pull out a gun. People might say he’s an accomplice, but he’s not.

      1. I guess so… I like the modified analogy!

        But why would Piquet do such a thing completely independant of the team? It just makes no sense.

        IMO, and I could well be wrong, he did it because he was told he would get a drive in 2009. But let us await the verdict.

  7. Renault out, LOLA or Prodrive in

    1. Is this news or just wishful thinking? :-)

  8. Another possible theory:
    Since Flavio said that “Piquet at Singapore was in a very fragile state of mind”. Maybe he just wanted to commit suicide and he told it to Pat Symonds… then they could just talk about the best way of doing it…
    This is nonsense, but also the whole thing, from the beginning.

  9. Read the forum


    And look at the F1sa link, there is an actual copy of Nelson jrs statement to the FIA, and it looks very genuine to me.

  10. The biggest eye opener for me is Renault’s statement that they want to sue the Piquet family for ‘blackmail’ rather than ‘accusations of cheating’. This in itself suggests that Renault ‘DO’ have something to hide, because if they didn’t, there would be nothing for the Piquets’ to blackmail them with.
    It all reminds me of Hungary 2007, and the accusation that Fernando Alonso tried to ‘blackmail’ McLaren boss Ron Dennis over the Spygate papers. The big difference ofcourse, is that Fernando was and still is a double world champion as opposed to Piquet Jnr whose FATHER was and still is a triple world champion. Get my point?
    Simular stories, but with two drivers at the complete opposite end of the Formula One scale. Therein lies a common thread between these two stories, in that they both involve a team inwhich Fernando is a member. Come what may, a certain element will always suspect that there is no smoke without fire, and for understandable reasons.
    Without question, two of the biggest pieces in the FIA’s case back in 2007 was Alonso and fellow McLaren driver Pedro De La Rosa. There was plenty of evidence indicating that these two drivers had discussed the usage of stolen Ferrari documents, and how it could aid their own team. In many ways, Alonso emerged from the rubble in the most part unpunished, due to his giving evidence in Paris during the inquiry. It does not take a brain surgeon to see though, that this was the moment inwhich Alonso and McLaren split in more ways than one.
    So, here we are, again racked with scandal in another team inwhich Alonso plays a major role. The question on everybody’s lips is not if Piquet or Renault are guilty of these charges, but the role Fernando played in the event?
    Many here have defended him, claiming that he is innocent of any wrong doing. To be honest, I hope they are right, but I have my doubts.
    If what Nelson has described is true, this was a well thought out and executed plan to ‘dupe’ everybody and aid Fernando on his quest to victory. Unlike Australia, McLaren’s attempt with Hamilton was spur of the moment and clumsy. They had no way of knowing that Trulli would run wide, no way of knowing that Vettel and Kubica would crash bringing out the safety car.
    No, with Renault, if these charges are true, THEY knew exactly what would happen. Nelson has already implicated Pat Symonds and Flavio Briatore in the planning of this saga, so is it so surprising to believe that Alonso knew what was about to happen?
    If this plan was orchestrated to aid the Spaniard, would you not atleast notify him of your plans? Ofcourse you would, he would be the very first person you would tell, as he afterall is the teams ‘star’ driver.
    This, ofcourse,is if Piquet Jnr is telling the truth? The evidence though, taking in account Fernando’s fuel load at the start compared to his starting position, and the timing of Nelson’s shunt makes it plausible, but not concrete.
    I can see this case becoming very messy, with lots of lawyers and plenty of dough being spent. The Piquet family are stinking rich, so they have to readies to take this long distance in the courts. The people, in my mind, who risk coming off this the worst are Briatore and Symonds.
    Unless the FIA can come up with strong evidence against Alonso, then he is in the clear regardless. Briatore and Symonds are the ones who should sweat, and sweat they most certainly will be doing.
    With Renault strongly rumoured to be leaving F1, this is the last thing they needed. Not only for their careers within the team, but for their careers in F1 in general.
    It has all the makings of a good movie, or horror movie, however you see it. Its going to be interesting.

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