Briatore and Symonds step down as Renault accepts Singapore crash charge

2009 F1 season

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The Renault F1 team has confirmed it will not contest the FIA’s charges against the team over the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

This surprising development is tantamount to an admission that Nelson Piquet Jnr was instructed to crash to help Fernando Alonso win the race.

Renault has also revealed its managing director Flavio Briatore and director of engineering: Pat Symonds have left the team. Only yesterday Symonds had been offered immunity from prosecution by the FIA in exchange for revealing further evidence.

Update: New Renault documents leaked today – see below.

A statement from Renault read:

The ING Renault F1 Team will not dispute the recent allegations made by the FIA concerning the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

It also wishes to state that its managing director, Flavio Briatore and its executive director of engineering, Pat Symonds, have left the team.

Before attending the hearing before the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on 21 September 2009, the team will not make any further comment.

The first question now is how the World Motor Sports Council will choose to punish the team on Monday.

At the very least, Renault must be stripped of their win at Singapore last year. That could mean Williams driver Nico Rosberg being promoted from second place to be handed his first F1 win. (Update: See Hakka’s comment on why this won’t happen)

It’s impossible to ignore the ramifications of what happened. One indirect consequence of Piquet’s crash was Ferrari’s botched pit stop for Felipe Massa, which cost him a likely race win. That could even have changed the outcome of the world championship.

However even if the points from Singapore are re-distributed, Lewis Hamilton will remains the 2008 drivers’ champion and Ferrari the 2008 constructors’ champions.

But the full scale of the punishment could be far greater than just the loss of a race victory. We could be looking at a fine comparable to McLaren’s $100m penalty in 2007, or a one-year ban such as that handed down to the Toyota rally team in 2002.

What do you think should be the consequences for Renault? Will they be racing at next weekend’s second Singapore Grand Prix?

Renault Singapore crash controversy

Author information

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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386 comments on “Briatore and Symonds step down as Renault accepts Singapore crash charge”

  1. Anyone fancy a nice quiet season next year?

    1. Has there ever been a nice quiet season in F1?

      1. In recent years….

          1. The year of the 2002 Austrian GP and the blatant show of team orders by Ferrari?

          2. Team breaks the rules a little bit to help one of their cars win.
            Nah – that’d never happen ;)

          3. Not to mention the “give back” in the usgp 2002 was a bunch of crap. No rule was broken during the race but on the podium the rules were broken.

      2. In the 5 years I have been watching there has not been.

    2. Off the top of my head, these are the major off track contoversies of recent years:

      2009- FIA vs FOTA, Renault disaster
      2008- Mosley’s spanking sessions
      2007- FIA + Ferrari vs Mclaren
      2006- GPMA vs Ecclestone, mass dampers
      2005- GPMA vs Ecclestone, FIA vs Michelin

      1. The sri lankan
        17th September 2009, 9:28

        add to that Bernies Nazi appreciation day and the FOTA Breakaway series

  2. Oh dear oh dear.

    1. I dunno why the famous, the rich, the powerful always end up digging their own grave??

  3. I honestly think they’ll be given a slap on the wrist now that Flav is out. It’ll be a somewhat painful slap (perhaps losing any points gained this year) but stop short of a huge fine that would definitely drive a team out of the sport.

    Having said that, I think Renault will be seriously thinking about quitting anyway after this.

    1. Really!
      Someone mentioned on a previous, and I apologise for not finding out who, stated that this has major implications for sports betting.

      1. I believe Bernie mentioned something about it. I don’t have any sympathy for gamblers anyhow.

    2. does this mean – with flavio and pat out of renault, they wont have to attend the september 21 hearing … thus not having to answer any questions or incriminate the team further?

      if they were innocent – or guilty, they could at least defend or reason what they did somehow, or plead the 5th like pat did this week… but both of them leaving (no doubt being asked to leave), would be a plan to not get the team into further trouble.

      the hearing and the penalty will be done on separate dates, so they could have hung around for the hearing, answered the questions and then resigned as a sacrifice to escape a harsher penalty, but if they are totally out now, and wont be testifying, then the only people to answer questions would be people who can’t.

      so there’ll be no finding out that anyone else had anything to do with it – or that other crashes / events were planned / or that it was a bigger and more planned cover up.

      it also means they wont be able to dig in and find out why it was covered up.

      if it was so obviously discussed – even in passing before the race, pat was part of that conversation.

      another conversation would have gone down with flavio, even if it was just man to man ‘hey piquet talked about it before the race…’

      the team (flavio & pat) would have known about the telemetry prior to the crash and they aren’t stupid people, they can put two and two together.

      so if they did put two and two together, and did between themselves decided to just ride it out and forget about it, then it could justify bigger penalties since they benefited from the accident, they didn’t suspend piquet for his actions and they didn’t report it to the FIA.

      even if it was piquet’s idea 100%, they are just as guilty for the subsequent cover up.

  4. I hope people take a long, hard look at Alonso now.

    Funny how he is always so close to the big scandals. No smoke without fire.

    1. Oh you have no proof. Leave him out of this.

    2. If it emerges that Alonso played a part in any of this it probably would become the greatest F1 scandal of all time (if it’s not already that), and that is saying something.

      But F1 is such a rotten apple that I suspect Bernie Ecclestone would try and suppress any evidence incriminating Alonso to try and hang on to of the biggest draws in the sport. Jaime Alguersairi and Pedro de la Rosa are hardly going to draw the crowds in to the Spanish races next year.

      Anyway, that’s my conspiracy theory. You heard it here first

      1. I think it would be hard to find any evidence against him. If he was involved, he probably only talked to Flav and not Nelson. Flav won’t rat him out. Nelson has no idea if Alonso ever knew about it and like Ned Flanders said, the powers that be will protect the only 2-time WDC on the grid….

        1. I don’t think he’s involved based on lots of things, not least when he was in the pre-podium room with Flavio and mentioned that the safety car had won him the race.

          If he was in on it, he would be saying nothing like that before podium. It’s the strongest evidence he’s clean to me.

          1. you are naieve then

          2. it’s called great acting in front the big camera that was staring him in the face.

          3. Have you considered acting nonchalant about it all could have been part of their cover up? Or that the impact the safety car had on his race perhaps warranted more than saying, ‘the safety car…’ to his team boss?

          4. I just think it wasn’t acting and he didn’t know. But of course, I could be naïve as you say.

            As has been mentioned before by Keith I think, why would Renault actually let him in on the act at all when there is no need too?

            The less people in the know the better – the 1st place would still have been secured

    3. Of course Alonso knew about it!!! Before or after tghe crash he knew what happens, it is impossible to think he did not knew!!!
      Remember McLaren case.
      But it is sure he will be not punish by the FIA because money issues. Ecclestone need him racing in Spain, a big market.
      It is about money, but we fans now are sure about Alonso lack of honor in sport.
      The worst World Champion in F1 history.

      1. Remember what about the Mclaren case? That Pedro called Alonso to tell him about the Ferrari info that the Mclaren mech’s were discussing?

        Are you people retarded? Do you think if there was any use of data it only went to Alonso and not Hamilton?

        The team stood to benefit not Alonso

        1. yeah you could say alonso is dirty, but these are two different fires – neither of which he has been implicated on starting.

          the mclaren dramas started with engineers and the renault dramas started with pat and piquet.

          from then on team secrets are team secrets and you cant blame him too much for trying to benefit his team.

          1. I agree. Whether or not Alonso is dirty he’s not the driving force behind both of those scandals. I think you could have done what renault did without alonso but still….

      2. he knew! why else would he use a 14 lap strategy when he qualified 15th. it doesnt make sence otherwise

  5. holy molly, its a sinister stuff

  6. However even if the points from Singapore are re-distributed, Lewis Hamilton will remains the 2008 drivers’ champion and Ferrari the 2008 constructors’ champions.

    But ah, you can argue that because of the intentional crash, everyone’s race was compromised, and thus the race results need to be nullified. Less 6 points for Hamilton…

    But that opens a whole new can of worms, one that’s too difficult to get into at this point. Some people are saying that the previous season’s results cannot be changed once the final standings are released. Can someone confirm this?

    1. This won’t happen because the way Massa and Hamilton went about the rest of the season is affected too.

      With this argument, the rest of the championship after Singapore should be nullified!

      1. Which is probably why the results will no longer be changed, regardless of what happens.

      2. if all of renault’s points were taken away from singapore 08 to brazil, then HAM would have gained 2 points more in Singapore, MAS would have gained one point more in Fuji and HAM would have gained another point more in Brazil. so HAM wins by 3 points.

    2. Max Mosley confirmed that the 2008 championship will not be impacted at all:

      What we cannot do is we cannot interfere with the results of the championship, or indeed of that race, because of Article 179B of the International Sporting Code. On the 30th November the championship is finished, whatever. But of course if someone has done something they should not do, they can still get a penalty.

      1. Thanks, Hakka.

      2. Thanks for that Hakka. It’s probably for the best that whole minefield gets avoided. Still it leaves Alonso with what will now be regarded as one of the least-deserved wins ever on his CV.

        1. If Alonso gets to keep that win it will be an absolute disgrace, another example of counter productive FIA legislation. It would be far more appropriate to declare no winner in that race.

          1. It wouldn’t be the first time that finishers have been disqualified, without the ones behind them moving up in classification or points. The same happened with Rosberg being disqualified from 2nd in the 1983 Brazilian GP, while Lauda and Laffitte remained 3rd and 4th et cetera.

          2. Yea, they have to scratch that from the books. No winner(s), fans included.

        2. Yeah, there is no way to make it “right” for Massa without making it very unfair to Lewis. But one cannot fail to spot the irony: A Brazilian driver spoils the championship chances of another Brazilian driver in order to help Alonso who, I would guess, would have given his right arm to see anybody else but Hamilton being crowned champion…

          1. Very true, well spotted that man. Alonso even stated in the second half of 2008 that he would try to help Felipe any way he could!

          2. I love this Comment. very true…Unfortunately he did not have the crystal Ball in hand to see this thing coming. In fact if there was no safety car that day and if Massa had won the race and the championship eventually. Then Alonso would have won more brownie points with Luca and better deal with Ferrari. Anyway I am surprised that every team Fernando races is getting into some sort of problem or other. Beware Ferrai !!!!!!

          3. Well spotted. And would they have gone to such extremes, presumably through pressures to win a race for their sponsors etc, if they knew they were gonna win the very next race…?

        3. Why? Are you saying he knew cause that’s a pretty big accusation?

          I for one hope he was not aware.

      3. well even though they are both Brazilian, i don’t think massa will be a friend of piquet in the future… his deliberate crash cost him the WDC…

        1. No it didn’t. Numerous events in the season, from start to finish, cost Massa the championship. Had Massa won this race, who’s to say other results wouldn’t have been different later in the year based on various strategies leaving Hamilton still WDC? Or hell, someone else entirely? It is wrong to make such assumptions that one different race result, would have changed everything! Because the only way it could have, would have been by everything else remaining exactly the same!

        2. Had Ferrari got that pit stop right, Massa would have finished easily in the points – enough to win him the championship.

        3. Don’t forget the engine failure in Hungary…

          1. what about when hamilton fairly won the belgian in 08 and was given a 25 sec penalty which handed massa the win? had that not happened then look at the advantage hamilton could have won the WDC by

    3. This time travel stuff is fairly nonsensical. Sure, we can imagine one race result being different for a whole number of reasons, but what we can’t then do is project the consequences of this change result on the remaining races since the change in championship points would undoubtedly change team and driver strategies, motivation, risk assessments, etc.

    4. I agree completely that the race should be nullified. As a “race”, it was effectively ended with Piquet’s crash and therefore fails to satisfy the FIA’s race lenght requirements. Wouldn’t that make Massa the rightful Champion instead of Hamilton?

      1. You can find any way you want to pretend that Massa was the ‘real’ champion, but it’s not going to change the result. It’s true that Massa was horrendously unlucky, but we can play the ‘would’ve’ game until the cows come home. You can’t take away people’s points because somebody else cheated.

        Also, it would set a dangerous precedent that you could change the result years after the actual race.

        Have there ever been any races in F1 history nullified? I don’t think so, but I’m not sure.

        1. The obvious solution would be to strip Renault of their constructors’ points for the race, if not for the rest of the year or the entire year entirely. The rule that final results are final is just silly.

          The other teams would be happy to get some — or all — of Renault’s share of the prize money too.

    5. You can’t go back and re-race the championship.

      In any case, we already knew Massa was the victim of terrible luck last year. Piquet’s crash was just one of many things that caused the championship to slip through his grasp.

  7. 1 year ban would be just about adequate.

    It’s a shame for all the employees at Enstone, but really what has happened here is one of the worst things to ever occur in F1 and should be treated as such.

  8. Alonso for sure should be stripped from his win although not sure if Rosberg deserved the Singapore win. He deserves a win but he did well in Sinpapore because of the crash and maximizing the 3 laps before coming in for his drive through penalty.

    Renault (if possible Flavio himself) should be punished like Mclaren. Give them a 50m or 100m fine as that will hit the team not the fans.

    Exclusion is not helping anyone – it hurts the fans – the circuits and formula 1 itself.

    Flavio should be permantly banned from F1 racing as well as attendance and be forbidden to work for any F1 team for x period.

    We all should be happy that Hamilton did overtake Glock in the final laps of Brasil else you would have a whole debat on who is the rightfull owner of the title F1 worldchampion 2008.

    1. I think there already is a whole debate over who is the righful owner of the 2008 WDC.

      1. Rosberg benefited from the safety car as well, which’ll mean he’d have won because of this “deliberate” crash. Therefore it’s best the results stay as they are.

    2. Flavio should also be banned from punching above his weight and pulling hot women. Makes me sick…

  9. With all this news it’s really hard to remember that there’s racing in f1 sometimes

    1. With all this news I’m sure some people will find it hard to believe that there’s racing in f1 sometimes…

  10. I find it strange that Alonso is so close to yet another scandal…

    The guy is a cheat, and encourages those around him to do the same.

    He is only going to Ferrari because of the McLaren scandal. Driving for Ferrari is his reward for nearly bringing down McLaren team.

    Just think about this, Ferrari is the team that has lied and cheated it’s way to many a world championship, and now it will have Alonso driving for it, I feel bad for the other drivers and teams… you wait!!!

    1. I echo your sentiment.

    2. I also agree.

    3. Innocent until proven guilty… but I suspect you’re right

      1. I don’t believe Alonso is guilty here, but I could be wrong. One thing I do know is Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds, on the basis of the evidence, are those who don’t deserve to be in Formula One any more.

        Briatore has always made his drivers struggle – Alex Wurz, Jarno Trulli, Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovaleinen would all have an angry or sad tale to tell about their stints with the former Benetton outfit.

        What’s tragic is Renault’s name is marred thanks to their association with this team. They probably shouldn’t have purchased Benetton in 2001.

        1. Try to put yourself in the shoes of Carlos Ghosn and see if you can come up with a single good reason to stay in F1 after this.

          1. They would be big losers in my book if they walked away right now, this team has left a bad taste in everybody’s mouth as of right now. Try and get drivers that aren’t there because daddy was triple champion and the other a cheat. Not to mention with a director who is nothig more than a playboy, why is he a playboy anyways? He was beaten excessivley with that ugly stick. Win both championships legally to win back some bit of respect. As of right now the stuff on my toilet paper gets more respect

        2. I wouldn’t go as far as saying Renault shouldn’t have bought Benetton. They’ve won about 20 races and 4 championships with them. I’ve always thought the Toleman/ Benetton/ Renault team was one of the best racing organsiations on the grid, and they’ve probably had more good times than bad times over the years. om what we’ve heard so far this is all the fault of a minority of individuals, rather than the entire team itself

    4. I agree too, the second biggest cheat of a driver (Schumacher was No. 1 by the way) going to the team that has cheated the most next year will be a disaster for all fans.

    5. Lied and cheated it’s way to many a world championship? The words of a pure HATER?

      1. Have you actually watched any formula 1 in the last 4 years?

        1. Of course I have. But do you seriously believe it’s fair to dismiss all of Ferrari’s success as lying and cheating?

    6. OMG! I can’t believe this actually happened. This is a total disgrace for the sport, and we will never know exactly what happened, I am afraid.
      I am impressed with the evil powers you are projecting on Alonso. His meanness alone is enough to corrupt three very large and powerful teams with 500-1000 completely innocent people in them (that is, innocent before Alonso’s influence). Can it be that Alonso is a very good driver (not the only one out there), and thus, over the years, get’s to drive for many world-champion teams? Can it be that very large and powerful teams have strong temptations to bend the rules? (and then bend them a bit more, and a bit more, and then shatter them)
      There was absolutely no need for Alonso to know anything at all to make this strategy work.

    7. I’ve just put up some more of the Renault documents which includes the stewards’ interview with Alonso. They don’t seem to have anything that implicates him.

      1. Keith, be that as it may, some of your readers are so rabidly anti-Alonso that I don’t think anything anyone says will ever change their minds. They probably even beleive that Alonso was on the grassy knoll, too.

        1. Perhaps, but that’s not going to stop be pointing them in the direction of the facts :-)

        2. It’s just so strange how he is always so near to nearly all the biggest and recent F1 scandals, but somehow manages to escape. He is a really lucky SOB if you ask me, and a bloody sneaky one at that!

  11. Will these two go to jail?

    1. I don’t think so, seeing how the crash happened in a controlled environment.

  12. The first question is if (how) Renault could know about this mess and if the punishment should be for the team as a whole or not. They have obviously been told by Renault to be gone and stay gone. Renault is working on damage control right now. The second question is if it is worse to fix a race than to spy on a competitor. I definitely think so.

    My opinion:
    They team should get a hefty fine, at least the same as McLaren.
    These two characters together with Piquet Jr should be banned from F1 for life.
    I’m not sure about stripping points from them this year. Somehow it’s not relevant. But as others have said, Renaults future surely hangs in the air. A year ago I thought that Renault and BMW (in that order) would not be on the 2010 grid as team owners. Now, BMW has sold the team. I guess a deal could be cut so that Renault withdraw from next year, selling the team, and in return they will not be stripped of constructors point or excluded from the championship during their last year in the sport.

    1. The second question is if it is worse to fix a race than to spy on a competitor. I definitely think so.

      Fixing a race is bad, but deliberately crashing is horrendous. What if a marshal or spectator was injured by a piece of flying debris?

      1. Indeed. There was actually loads of carbon fibre which could have punctured another cars tyres with unknown consequences.

        It doesn’t look good.

        1. Yes, the crash is worst of all and that is why I think Piquet Jr should be banned for life. No matter who decided what, he was that one driving the car and he had the final choice of being a true sportsman or not.

      2. Or a similar accident that happend at lemans in 1955 1 driver and 80 spectators dead

        Ok F1 cars are design so that they wont fail in such a way but if the car went into the crowd you could esily have fatatities.

  13. Amazing developments. The FIA will be as lenient as possible on Renault now. Probably a significant but not record-breaking fine.

    My question is this: in pushing out Briatore and Symonds, did Renault know for sure that they were guilty?

    Or was it simply that the risk of standing by them was too great, given the evidence that had leaked?

  14. They should sue Flavio for trying to destroy the sport, and the fine should be even larger than what McLaren got last time around. He should not get away with this just by quitting the team

    1. Yes! All his properties,cash etc has to be seized & should be distributed to the poor.

      1. Also, his various supermodel lady-friends.

        1. without his money, he wont have the supermodel girlfriends.

      2. I want his house in Kenya :)

        1. Someone else can take QPR :-)

          1. I get Force Blue (his yacht)- we’ll need to change the homeport to Newark, New Jersey, or somewhere similar ;)

  15. The FIA has already said that it’s too late to change the results of last year’s championship and even the race. I think it’s like when Schumacher was kicked out of the 1997 championship – the results stood but his didn’t count.

    Right at the time I thought this was just the kind of thing Flavio would do… I’m still surprised at Symonds, but I think that’s just because we all give him credit for his pleasant, affable English manner (in contrast to Flav’s). If you take a step back and look at their records, they’ve been in it together all the way back to option 13 on the 1994 Benetton haven’t they?

    One other point – I find it odd that some commentators are representing this as Flav and Pat “taking one for the team”. Surely, if they did fix this race, Renault will have fired them for cause? It’s not comparable to the situation after Melbourne when Ron Dennis stood down, since neither Flav nor Pat are team owners! My take on these departures is that they probably came from board-level, and are not voluntary at all… particularly when one considers Flav’s vehement denials at the weekend, and attempts to tar NPJ with the whoopsie stick (so to speak).

    Good riddance, that’s my feeling. Pushing the boundaries is not the same as crashing into them.

    1. Max offered Symonds immunity. Doesn’t that tell you he is only after Flavio and Renault.

  16. Frankly i dont see what the fuss is. A driver intentionally crashes into a wall basically risking very little due to car and track safety.
    We have had some of the greatest names in the sport (Schumi, Senna) INTENTIONALLY crashing into other cars ( which is a hell of a lot more dangerous) and they got punished by being crowned world champions.
    So i fully excpect the punishement to be light now that Flavio is gone.

    1. I seem to remember Schumacher got punished by being expelled from the World Championship.

      I guess you’re referring to 1994, not 1997. But Schumacher always denied that was intentional and there was no evidence to prove otherwise.

      1. Plus, neither the 1994 nor 1997 incident were premeditated.

        1. Senna’s 1990 crash into Prost was premeditated in a sense. Senna admitted a year later that he vowed to drive Prost off the road if he got ahead by the first corner, because of the injustice of pole position being on the wrong side of the grid.

          1. Actually, he said he will do it because Prost did it in Suzuka the year before to him. Not in the first corner though but when Senna was about to pass him.

        2. What was premeditated was the 1994 tampering with fuel rigs, probably an even more reckless and dangerous act. Flavio’s original story was that they had been given permission by ‘someone’ in the FIA. then they completely changed their story and said a junior employee – acting without the knowledge of anyone else in the team and done it, and just for Hockenheim. (I paraphrase loosely) As Benetton had been killing Williams with their ultra fast stops up to that point, did anyone really believe Hockenheim was the first race they’d done it? Yet the only punishment was the removal of the junior employee – although behind the scenes Walkinshaw was removed and sent off to Ligier as part of the deal. I suspect something similar will happen here.

          Great article that I feel puts the cheating claims of the last couple of years in context here:
          It always went on… they just used to get away with it.

      2. What about the blatant video evidence. I still have that from the day that I taped the race. DC ran into the armco at the pits and it was mansell’s last victory.

    2. So it’s fine for marshals and spectators to have their safety compromised, but it’s more dangerous to crash into other drivers who step into the cars and accept the risks?

      In case you haven’t noticed, I disagree entirely. The punishment for cheating and intentionally causing a crash should reflect McLaren’s ‘spygate’ punishment or perhaps be more severe. It should not be lenient because the driver “risked very little due to car and track safety.” It should not be lenient because Renault may leave the sport. Punishments should be consistent.

      1. Hell yes its more dangerous to crash into another car at speed than plan your shunt into a barrier.
        And no its not fine to compromise other people. Im just saying that world champions have been CROWNED by actions far more dangerous than what piquet did.

    3. “A driver intentionally crashes into a wall basically risking very little due to car and track safety.”

      You mean like it’s completely predictable what part is going to fly off a crashed car if you just crash it the right way and where that part will land? That sort of tiny risk?

      1. not to mention it was done in front of the largest grand-stand on the circuit…

      2. No not completely predictable. But the inherent risks are small with a planned shunt into this particular barrier. Piquet thought so at least.

  17. Piquet should get some sort of punishment for this too, he was driving the car so at the end of the day he pulled the trigger.

    Let the rest of the Renault Team off with a slap (If just these 3 were involved then the rest of the team is innocent, any punishment would only affect them now) and lets get on with this season.

    1. I agree 100%, no one has mentioned Piquet, he is just as guilty as the others. It doesn’t matter that he was pressured, he committed the crime and then only spoke up after he was fired for being a poor driver….coward…

      Assuming the rest of the team had nothing to do with it (or that there is no evidence they did) it would be very unfair to ban Renault for these 3 chumps cheating.

      Symonds, Flav, and Piquet need to be fined/punished.

      1. Alonso also. He knew.

        1. If there is evidence, then “for sure”.

          BUT, at this point there is not. It doesn’t matter what the general opinion is. what matters is evidence against him.

          1. I don’t think Piquet would be punished – he was given immunity for his side of the story.

            But I would be suprised if he’ll get a F1 drive again…

    2. Why should Renault be let off? Are you so naive that you really think only 3 people knew about this? I’m not trying to say that the whole team knew, but you can be sure most of the top brass knew it was going to happen.

  18. Prisoner Monkeys
    16th September 2009, 14:06

    I think that Renault as a whole should be allowed to compete. They’ve evidently run their own investigation of sorts, and they’re not twisting or denying the allegations. In criminal cases, guilty pleas often result in more lenient sentences that pleas of not guilty that the jury believe to be unfounded.

    I’d like to think Renault will be back in 2010, if only to reclaim some honour, as it were (I don’t really have any other word for it). They should stack their team with people from ART Grand Prix or ORECA, and come back and have a proper crack at it.

    While I will join the chorus of people who felt Piquet should never have been in the sport to begin with – or at the very least, should not have been offered a season season – I am not wholly without sympathy for him. Under Briatore’s leadership, Renault have had a toxic culture of bullying, intimidation, coercion, threats and favouritism and places enormous stress and pressure on rookie drivers who must risk death or injury simply to increase their standing with their masters. Briatore and Symonds twisted what the sport represented simply for the sake of getting one more race win.

    I for one would be very interested to see the trajectory Piquet’s career took if he had joined another team. Toro Rosso, or Force India, for instance. That’s not to say that Piquet is exonerated; after all, he still went ahead with it. But he is the latest – and with any luck, the last – in a line of drivers and paddock personalities who have been screwed over by Briatore’s tyranny. Everyone from Eddie Jordan to Alex Wurz, Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button have in some way felt the brute force of Briatore’s dealings.

    I say good riddance.

    1. Briatore and Symonds twisted what the sport represented simply for the sake of getting one more race win

      Just makes it more unbelievable doesn’t it? They did it for just one more race win… it wasn’t even for the championship or 2nd or 3rd even (not that this would have made it ok!).


      1. I think it was probably a little more than just a race win to them, there were loud rumblings about Renault continuing in F1 at the time, especially with the dire season they were having.

    2. In criminal cases, guilty pleas often result in more lenient sentences that pleas of not guilty that the jury believe to be unfounded.

      This isn’t a criminal court, it’s F1, and McLaren didn’t get a lenient sentence. Their cheating was committed by an individual who was dismissed. The two cases appear similar in that way.

      … places enormous stress and pressure on rookie drivers who must risk death or injury simply to increase their standing with their masters.

      F1 is a dangerous sport. All the drivers are risking their safety and wellbeing to compete. Fortunately we haven’t had a fatality in F1 for 15 years but Massa’s accident is a stark reminder of what motor racing consists of.

      I say good riddance to Flavio “David Dickinson” Briatore as much as the next fan, but I don’t think Renault should be off the hook because Piquet, Flav and Symonds have all left the team.

  19. This is some heavy s**t!!

    I hope for the sake of F1, and the 700+ Renault employees that the team is spared a larger fine or overwhelming race ban. One or two races should suffice. The perpetrators have had their punished. They’ll never step in an F1 paddock again in their lives.

    As for Alonso… He’s as sneaky a person as he is a good driver. I have no doubt that he’s part of this somehow… But there’s no proof, therefore he will walk.

    1. yeah but a large fine could force them to leave. Renault are struggling financially in the real world, and these fines tend to be big!

  20. It does seem now that Piquet was told to crash, and if that is the case I don’t see how the FIA cannot hand out a big punishment to Renault, at least something the size of McLaren’s 2007 $100m fine and exclusion from the championship, and if that is the case I don’t think Renault will stay in F1.

    1. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Many of those calling for a big fine for Renault were people who thouht the $100m fine for McLaren was outrageous. By all means, disqualify or ban Renault, but I think it is ludicrous to make such a fine. If a fine is imposed, it should be a fine that any team would be made to pay for doing the same thing.

      1. Indeed 100m is outrageous,
        but it is nothing compared to a ban from the championship.

        1. the difference between the spygate and the crashgate are bigish.

          with the mclaren dramas, the whole team benefited with the tech and what not.

          whereas this renault case, there was just the one outcome.

          the whole team should not be punished with 100m.

          better off stripping them of the points and the points money.

          1. I do think the McLaren punishment was over the top, but I was merely using it as a comparison as a recent high profile case in F1.

            Personally I think asking a driver to crash is a much more serious crime, with all the safety implications not just to the driver involved but also to the rest of the drivers in the race and to the marshals as well.

            Spying on a rival team in F1 is wrong and it may have been going on to varying degrees for years but no ones life was risked doing it.

            If this case was just about race fixing I think it could be argued it was on the same level as the McLaren case, but because of the safety implications I think it is worse.

  21. HounslowBusGarage
    16th September 2009, 14:09

    The Piquets will now sue Team Renault for wrongful dismissal.
    Then they will sue Briatore for slander and defamation.

    *If* Team Renault continue to race next year, I wonder if Piquet could claim his drive back . . .

    1. It wasn’t wrongful dismissal. Piquet was sacked for his abysmal performance.

      Now he’s admitted to being a cheat too.

      So he won’t be coming back, especially not for Renault.

  22. Sounds like a quick and cheap way out for Renault – they can just sell the lot to one of the new teams and walk away.

  23. Now what will happen to all that criminal proceedings initiated by Flavio & Renault against the Piquet duo?

  24. It’s a real shame to lose Flavio from F1… if you would like to leave a farewell message, Badger is collating them…

  25. I think Renault will escape punishment now unless there’s any evidence the plans were known beyond these three individuals. If the evidence can’t implicate the more of the team (I can’t imagine the pit crews were ‘in on it’) surely there’s no case for the team to answer.
    I’d hate to see any of the three back in F1.

  26. Disappointed in Symonds, not surprised at Fatio. Disgusted if they just walk away from this unpunished.

  27. This is a pity, did not expect this outcome. Renault should continue to race this season, and I am sorry for the many talented people working there.
    Piquet should have kept his mouth shut – he has gained nothing from all this. Now he has to go back to cutting sugar cane with his father.

    1. Bartholomew,

      I assure you they got nothing to do with cutting sugar cane…

    2. Piquet should have kept his mouth shut – he has gained nothing from all this.

      Really? Well maybe he won’t gain, but WE all do, with 1 less cheating team in F1, just need Alonso to go to Ferrari and Finnish them off too!

  28. Am not suprised in the slightest. I wonder how far back their naughty deeds go, perhaps even to Bennetton/Schumacher era? This can’t be the first time they’ve tried something dodgy as there was a bit of a cloud floating over the Bennetton team then too…

  29. And Alonso gets away scot free again yet again. We need to be asking serious questions of Alonso…

    1. And now the Renault executives and frantically looking for an exit strategy. Stay tuned folks…

      1. Does anyone know if this means the legal case against the Piquet’s has now been dropped…

        1. Furthermore, do I remember correctly, but was Renault not implicated in the McLaren gate controversy but together with Ferrari escaped sanction free…

  30. I think Renault already has decided to get out of this game. So that leaves a place for the old BMW after all.

    I sure hope that all 3 main characters of this play get a ban for life in F1.

    1. As long as 1 of those is alonso.

  31. I’m afraid the solution could be something like ban Renault Team for one season… this one!

    So that way, the punishment sounds hard, but in a pract

    1. sorry, something went wrong with my keyboard!

      So that way, the punishment sounds hard, but in practice, the impact will be minimal for Renault, a few millions for their points.

      Renault could focus in 2010: Car, Team (managers) and Driver(s)

      All of this if Renault still want to stay in this circus.

    2. IDR, tell me as an Alonso worshiper as to how to deal with him? Do you honestly think he’s innocent.

    3. Afraid so. Its simple. You can’t have a team on the grid that has admitted to race fixing. If I see them in Singapore I will be sorely disappointed and I think so will the promoters. They should not have been in Italy, given the evidence already on the table.

      1. They should not have been in Italy, given the evidence already on the table.

        They had to be given a chance to defend themselves at the WMSC meeting.

  32. It’s a shame this year all the drama seems to be happening off track.
    Renault will probably lose that win but all other positions will stand. This was maybe a concession to keep Renault in the sport, to get rid of the root of the problem and try to save the team.
    I know everyones race was compromised by what happened and the pit stop that was botched was because of Ferrari’s poor system but I can’t help but wonder how the championship would have gone without this. This has tainted a team, last year’s epic championship and the sport as a whole.

    1. It’s a shame this year all the drama seems to be happening off track.

      Have you not been watching some of the races, then?

  33. I just want to say first: “I told you so”. I found it most annoying that people were slandering Piquet for lying and having sour grapes just because he was sacked. The psychology of man suggests that one wouldn’t make such a huge claim as this without some evidence to back it up. He apparently intimated to Ecclestone as early as May’09 that this had happened and Ecclestone just blithely told him if he claimed that happened, instead of whining to him, he should report it to the FIA. This illustrated what sort of man runs this sport – that Ecclestone just shrugged off such a remarkable allegation as if it was unimportant shows what a morally bankrupt person he is.

    Also, I really feel sorry for Piquet. I know what he did was so bad it is off the scale, but he comes across as a very weak person. He seems to have been bullied by the odious Flavio from the moment he joined Renault and was never given a fair chance to prove himself as an F1 driver. As Flavio disgracefully admitted, if you have a driver like Alonso, who cares about the 2nd driver? Remember how good Piquet Jr was in GP2. What a real shame for him. It shows what sort of man Flavio is that he started gossiping about Piquet Jr’s sexuality. I am surprised about Symonds though – what was he thinking? There must have been some sort of pressure from sponsors or something – will we ever know?

    Does this also validate Piquet Sr’s assertion that Alonso must have known? I feel Alonso must have: mad strategy + control freak driver + history of being embroiled in cheating (possessing emails about stolen Ferrari data; holding up Lewis in Hungary 2007) = guilty as charged in my view. I just KNOW he will get away with it though. If it was Lewis in his position, he would have been hung, drawn and quartered by now.

    This is just so so bad for F1. It really puts a question mark over the validity of race results and will just make people suspicious all the more.

    1. we know you hate Alonso, it gets old

      1. There are plenty of people on loads of forums saying the same thing. Instead of saying that, look at the evidence.

        1. Which evidence, exactly? Everything you mentioned above is circumstantial and proves absolutely nothing.

          It’s entirely possible that Alonso was involved, but he’s denied it in the clearest possible terms and, as far as I can see, nothing has been disclosed so far that implicates him beyond hearsay, conjecture and a feeling on the part of some that he must somehow be involved somewhere.

          You mention that Joe Saward feels the need to ask the question – he did, but he didn’t feel the need to answer it without having seen all the evidence.

      2. He’s not the only one, time to wake up and smell the coffee me thinks!

    2. S.Hughes, here, here. I always like reading your posts.
      The elephant in the room is Alonso, did he know, was he involved? Will FIA turn look the other way? The buzz on the web is all about Alonso. Poor guy, must be worried. But you are right, if it was Lewis, the press would have crushed him by now and he would have to leave F1, by now.

      1. Thanks Lynn. I think one should ask questions that are obviously relevant but it seems some people think some drivers are above question and get very angry about it whereas others are always fair game. That strikes me as odd. It’s funny how Mutton ignored the rest of my post and only homed in on the Alonso thing. I also mentioned Ecclestone’s role, the shame for Piquet and Symonds and the ramifications for F1, but only the Alonso thing was homed in on.

        1. The thing is S Hughes, that you seem to gloss over the fact that the angelic Hamilton started this season off with a somewhat dubious cheat…and wasn’t even clever enough to cover it up…

      2. Joe Saward also thinks it is worth asking the question, but hey, what does he know?

        The World Council must also look at the question of whether Fernando Alonso could have been part of the conspiracy to which Renault has now admitted, or whether it was just Briatore, Symonds and Nelson Piquet Jr involved.

    3. If ALO gets out of this scot free it will be amazing. Mutton, do you seriously believe that the driver who benefited from the fraud, who had a strategy dependent upon its success, knew nothing, both before and after? Say hello to new 2010 Scuderia Malboro Ferrari driver Giancarlo Fisichella.

    4. If it was Lewis in his position, he would have been hung, drawn and quartered by now.

      Well, I only hope for Hamilton, you will not be one of those. I must say you do a terrific job with Alonso!

    5. Fact is ‘everyone’ knew the crash may have been deliberate during the race and rumours were already circulating around the paddock and among journalists very soon afterwards. So the question is why FIA – which presumably heard early on – didn’t act sooner. Or maybe they decided fairly on that they needed someone’s (Piquet’s) testimony.

      I think the big remaining questions are indeed (a) Alonso, did he know or was he even an active participant in the plan? and (b) Nelson Piquet Sr. Was he in on this from the start too? The question is particularly relevant if he plans to enter F1 with his own team. If he was party to the plan, he too should be banned for life from F1.

      Really nauseating, the lot of them.

      1. Obviusly Alonso knew and was active participant in the plan.

        1. ‘obviously/’. It is all circumstantial and speculation.

    6. You can’t blame Bernie for not entertaining an unsupported claim like that. As soon as Piquet provides evidence, people would listen to him, and it is right that he takes his case to the FIA whom deal with such matters. This is called “structure.”

    7. You feeling sorry for Piquet (S Hughes), makes me feel sorry for you…hahaha

    8. I think it’s entirely reasonable to ask if Alonso knew but the fact is the sum total of evidence against him at this stage is zero.

      1. The sume total of evidence that WE know about, that doesn’t mean that the FIA don’t have evidence. Equally it doesn’t mean that they do. We just don’t know as yet…

      2. I agree Keith, what WE know is that he had nothing to do with it, it happened last year, and the ‘bad seeds’ are gone. I can’t see any 2009 bans be appropriate.

    9. Why are u surprised about Symonds, is it because he looks like a charming old man?

      1. Well, I think because Symonds seemed so sensible and dignified when interviewed. He came across as having integrity, nothing to do with him looking like a charming old man. Seems looks and interviews can be very misleading.

  34. The next race is in Singapore, the venue where the shameful crash-gate happened. Singapore F1 fans will certainly be reminded of last year crash when and if they see Renault F1 cars taking corners at high speed in this night race. Fans be better prepared-wear armour and shields.

  35. In my view, Massa deserved the win. He got the pole position and he was running first when the accident happens. He drove the car perfectly after the pit stop error.

    FIA should consider the position during the accident happens (means during Lap# 14). And, they should ban the whole team for atleast 2 years (including their test drivers) from any sort of motor sports.

    1. (including their test drivers) from any sort of motor sports.

      Are you mad? Why would they do that?

      Anyway, I’m worried now about Robert Kubica’s future, if he has already signed with Renault. :|
      The contract would have to be cancelled I guess. This leaves him without a team anyway.

      1. good point about Kubica,… what a disaster …

    2. Quote: He drove the car perfectly after the pit stop error.

      I thought he spun at least once and finished somewhere near the back.

    3. Massa drove horribly…he couldn’t pass anyone, whereas Kimi made his way to 5th.

      1. Not going into the change-the-championship-results thing, I must say that your memory is not serving well. Not only Massa went from first to dead last following a pit stop messup in which he was in no fault, he also had to serve a drive through penalty after the safety car came in. He could not pass anyone because that track is as good for passes as Monaco is. The mediocre Kimi had a lackluster race driving a top Ferrari, managing only 5th after having no external troubles whatsoever (he didn’t make his way to 5th, he languished his way to 5th).

  36. The WMSC still need to make a clear judgement and explain the evidence and their ruling. This is what they failed to do with the McLaren saga.

    We need openness and honesty from the F1 authorities. I’ve had enough of the cloak-and-dagger politics and conspiracy theories and this has the whiff of them once again.

    Whatever the outcome it would be sad to see an F1 grid without Renault.

  37. I want to hear a statement from Briatore about this.

    Renault has clearly decided not to back him, possibly to escape a storm of negative publicity. The company is unlikely to have any evidence of his guilt beyond what has already come to light.

    Does this make Briatore automatically guilty? Of course not, and he may well protest his innocence and attempt to clear his name.

    1. Flavio will not open his mouth for a long time to come. I’ll not be surprised if he goes into hiding on that remote island. He did the same to escape a jail term many years ago.

      1. I looked at your link at immediately thought, what is with those damn blue glasses….then I scrolled down and almost barfed when I saw the pics of Flav in a thong….

    2. this also begs the question,

      Has Briatore rigged a race before? i think he has… a careful review to every race he’s been involved in should be done…. and then he should be hung by his sideburns….

      1. There’s a lot of Piquet crashes to go back over.

        1. Guffaw. Flav said Piquet crashed 17 times. How many races did he compete, 24, 25?…

  38. Renault will obviously be heavily fined, i’d be surprised if they were banned from races/the championship. If the FIA find that Flavio and Symonds were the brains behind the idea then they should be given lifetime bans from F1 and possibly any active participation in FIA regulated motorsport.

    1. Eddie Jordan has questioned if the FA would even want him to remain running a football team…

      1. By the standards of football club owners, Briatore is still much too clean…

        1. :D Trouble is it’s true…

  39. I say they should ban Renault with immediate effect, in such a way that it wont even have the right to use the Renault na,e if it wants to continue being an engine supplier next year. (Nissan, Penske engines anyone?)

    Renault is to be banned ultimately for a period of 2 years minimum. (for hiring a **** sleeze ball like Flavio)

    Nelson PQ should have a 3 race suspension (on probation) in case he crashes again….

    Flavio, Symmonds and whoever else knew about it should be banned from the paddock, grandstands, circuits, even the circuit parking lots….

    once WMSC makes its ruling, all other sporting authorities should place Flavio on their banned list, because once a cheat, always a cheat…..

    Italy should withdraw his citizenship, or nominate him to be depute to the current Prime minister, all in the same i guess….

    and last but not least Alonso should be banned along with the team for the remainder of this season, to be allowed to race next year with a permanent yellow card on his record, one more shindig-gate, and he should be squirted out of F1….and the Singapore race win should be handed to Rosberg.

    on the financial front, Renault should be fined 150,000,000 (150 million) UK pounds on a 2.0 exchange rate to the dollar for messing with last year’s championship…. because forever last season will have a What if? hanging over it….

    1. I emphatically agree with you mate! Especially the point you make about Alonso. There is just noway he couldn’t have known about the plot. He is also the main conspirator. but Alonso worshipers will go mad if people say negative thing bout him.
      if you’d ask me I would say Alonso is worse than Scummy.

      1. Alonso may well have known. But where’s the evidence to suggest he’s “the main conspirator”? At McLaren, Coughlan and Stepney were clearly way more guilty than Alonso was. Here, considering the meeting before the race did not even involve him, FA is hardly the main figure in terms of pushing NP into crashing. The worst FA might have done is (1) come up with the idea (and there is no evidence of this; even NP isn’t accusing him of this) and (2) knowingly go along with the idea once PS and FB got NP to comply.

    2. And all the staff at Enstone will have to find new jobs…

      …I fully believe that Renault will be handed a lenient penalty for cooperating, and rightly so. They’ve gotten rid of the rotten apples, why should the men and women who work very hard for very long hours for nowhere near the pay the drivers and team bosses earn be punished for something they would have no influence over??

      What I would like to know is whether Flavio will be allowed to continue as a driver manager? IMHO he should not.

    3. Ronman, you’re wrong. Assume there is NO evidence against the rest of the team (there is NOT at this point), then why should all of these people be punished for what 3 idiots did. No, they should be able to continue competing just like McLaren did after spygate. The other 3 (and anyone else PROVEN to be involved) should be banned.

      Pretty much everything else you said is wrong too, but I assume that you were joking through most of it, in which case it is funny…

      1. Well i might of been overreacting. when the story first broke, my main concern was not just the 700 employees in enstone, but also all the employees at renault which are usually proud of what they do. having their F1 team labeled a cheat wont help them on many levels.

        what i wrote is a result of how upset i am at a yuppy like Briatore. FORGET proof, i think there’s a fat chance FA was not in the loop. but if he was he should be reprimanded. 2 gates? and the plot only thickens with each one, what’s left for a third one?

        When the dust settles, Renault will get a slap, and the FIA will try its best not to be hard to the point that Renault would desert.

        i’ll wait till the WMSC says its piece before i comment any further on what should be done, and hopefully wont have to comment on what should have been done.

    4. [quote]Flavio, Symmonds and whoever else knew about it should be banned from the paddock, grandstands, circuits, even the circuit parking lots….[/quote]they should also be banned from watching TV during the racing weekends :-P

  40. Naughty naughty! What sort of punishment are Renault gona get now, cos they must be guilty if they have both resigned!!

    It wont be anything to do with the race/championship last year because they cant change that, and it cant really be anything to do with this years campaign cos the incident didnt happen this year. With the two reported purpetrators gone now though i think that will count in the teams favour. I think they can only really give a hefty fine. They also are surely reluctant to lose another team so may be lenient? I dont know? Its a massive piece of cheating, but i really dont know how i would punish it :S

    Kinda feel sorry for Piquet actually – I cant see anyone jumping out to sign him now. I know he could have said no to them asking him to do that – but he must have been under a fair bit of pressure, you wouldnt just agree to that without being under pressure from somewhere. Probably agreed for the same reasons Hamilton lied to the Stewards in Australia – thought it wouldnt be a big deal/get caught at the time! Knew it was stupid but did it anyway – both were ‘race fixing’ except Piquet’s was a little more dangerous! I dont think Piquet should be punished too much for it either (like Hamilton wasnt) – it does make his situation at Renault look even worse though, if he felt he had to do that to keep his job – what kinda of boss asks that of thier driver!! Piquet never stood a chance at the team did he. Poor guy!

    1. Piquet wanted the fame and fortune that went with it. He could have chosen to work in a bank or ride in NASCAR. But he was also greedy that’s why he deserves no sympathy.

      1. With all of his crashing, he’d probably last less in NASCAR than he did with Renault. If guys like JPM and Sam Hornish Jr. took several seasons to get the COT down path, Nelsinho would be a disaster :)

  41. Wonder where Fatso will go with his criminal proceedings against Nelson Piquet Junior and Nelson Piquet Senior in France? Suspect it might be quietly withdrawn…

    1. Flav said that was in conjunction with Renault I think. Quiet withdrawal looks likely.

  42. What limits do Renault know in their pursuit of victory? In Singapore, they bribed Piquet into crashing so that they could win. At the next race in Japan, I can only assume they went one step further and bribed God, who lowered the track temperature causing everyone to fly off the track at the first corner, allowing Alonso to win again.

  43. It’s funny to see an old thread on the Planet-F1 forum where a poster accused Renault of this last year after the Singapore race. He was flamed and insulted, but he must be feeling mighty smug now.

    1. *chuckle*

      That thread is the definition of vindication. He must feel like Gallileo.

    2. Nice digg S.

    3. Sweet

    4. LOL, reading some of the replies to his comments, I just couldnt stop laughing …

      pendulumeffect <– very appropriate name

    5. I’ll put my hand up and say I thought the suggestion Piquet crashed on purpose was nonsense to begin with. But now we know differently.

      It was an unbelievable act of cynicism and we have to wonder now if it’s happened before. I mean, we’ve seen drivers do it out of pure self-interest – Prost, Senna and Schumacher on at least three occasions – but not a team ordering one driver to do it to help his team mate.

      1. This case has warped my mind and taught me to question everything I see in F1 so much. In fact, I’m no longer prepared to dismiss entirely the idea that Timo Glock might have let Lewis Hamilton by on purpose in Brazil.

        Like all sensible F1 fans I didn’t even consider it at the time, and I still think it’s extrememly unlikely, but looking back it seems like the ultimate coincidence. Who knows how rotten the F1 apple actually is…

        1. I think it is all a big anti-Massa conspiracy and everybody is in it: His pit crew (Canada and Singapore), the engine guys (Hungary), Piquet Jr., Glock. Barrichelo was probably trying to finish him off, just to make sure he’ll never be champion..what are the odds that a part of your car will come out and hit the other driver right were it hurts by accident?

      2. You’re right Keith, it does call into question so many past crashes and will call into question future ones. It is so damaging to the integrity of F1.

        I must say I immediately thought something was amiss when Piquet made the accusation purely because if he was wrong, he would be in serious trouble with the law. I doubt that he would be so poorly advised by his own father.

        Then when I read the suspicions raised in the article in the F1 Review book, I was convinced because rival strategists were quoted as saying that there could only be one explanation for the strategy and that was the intended crash bringing out the safety car.

        Which is why I doubt Alonso despite no concrete evidence. It doesn’t add up that he was unaware of what happened even if he didn’t co-plot it.

      3. I was just coming here to bring that up Keith… Senna vs Prost… to me that seems to be the craziest intentional crash ever! He said he was going to do it if Prost got a better start… and he did it… at 160 mph!!… plus it won him the championship!! Was anything ever said about that one? Here’s a bit of footage so we all remember… :)

        “Not a bad feeling at all…is it”

  44. What were Briatore and Symonds doing conspiring with a disgruntled employee? They should have known he’d hang them with this.

    It almost makes them look less guilty the fact that they happily got rid of Piquet.

  45. Until evidence arises that states Alonso was directly involved, one cannot call him a cheat.
    Just because he was at McLaren when the spygate issue kicked off does not mean he was involved here. In fact the way most of the Alonso comments are going you’ll believed he instigated every F1 controversy going.

    The WMSC need to find a punishment that sends out a clear message. Race fixing in F1 is a disgrace and they should be charged with bringing the sport into disrepute. If this means they are banned, so be it.

    1. It’ll be interesting to see if Alonso makes a public statement, officially denying any role in the whole saga.

      I think he needs to, IMO. For what it’s worth, I don’t imagine Alonso had anything to do with it; I’m not his biggest fan, but I think the guys got more integrity and class than this. He wouldn’t want a false victory.

      But where does this leave him now…?

      1. Well, he already made it.

        You can read it in Autosport.

        But he was pretty clear when the journalist asked him:

        Did You know?

        FA: NO

        1. To paraphrase Mandy Rice-Davies: “Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?”

        2. Of course he never will accept he is guilty!!!Briattore also claims he is innocent!!Alonso knew!!!he is guilty but for money reasons he again will scape without the sanction he deep deserves.

        3. That was last Thursday, before today’s news though.

          I’m expecting him to do a proper ‘staged’ announcement, something more official than a Q&A with autosport.

        4. But he was pretty clear when the journalist asked him:

          Did You know?

          FA: NO

          I can smell something…. Yep, smells like bulls**t to me! I formally call Alonso a lair and a cheat. He knew, hes not stupid, or inexperienced in these things. He’s also very experienced in managing to side-step out of the spotlight when the situation calls for it.

  46. Whether Alonso was involved or not is not really relevant. The main question is what will the other teams do about last years championship outcome. Because one competitor cheated should that particular result be scrubbed, or at least move everyone up a position, giving Rosberg his first win in Formula one and Lewis an extra 2 points. Would Massa have won the race without the safety car period. Would Lewis have gone on to loose the world championship by 1 point for 2nd year running. Flavio, Symonds and Piquet are all in disgrace and should never be allowed near motor sport again. Not only did they cheat their fellow competitors, they also cheated the world at large especially as the Singapore GP was the first night race and a huge audience tuned in to watch Renault grab the glory in front of a huge audience by deception. Even if Renault (the company) knew nothing the team should still be expelled. BMW’s new owners will fill the gap.

    1. Simon, come again.

      Whether Alonso was involved or not is not really relevant


      Why ever not? Why is it not relevant and yet it is relevant if Briatore and Symonds were involved?

      1. Simon, come again.

        Thanks god we have S Hughes coming again and again and again…

        :-) :-) :-)

        1. IDR – instead of trolling S Hughes posts, as an Alonso fan, give us some solid reasons why this scandal shouldn’t cast doubt on Alonso’s credibility.

          1. I can’t stand Alonso, I think he’s the Cristiano Ronaldo of Formula 1 – ridiculously talented but an arrogant, petulant whinger who can’t stand losing. But the fact remains that there is not a shred of evidence that he had any knowledge or involvement in this debacle. And unless that changes, I’m going to have to say he’s not guilty.

            Of course, if new evidence comes to light…

          2. pSynrg – there is no evidence…it’s not that difficult…they told him to go light and ‘trust us’….they left him out of the loop on purpose and Nelson was a pawn.

          3. …give us some solid reasons why this scandal shouldn’t cast doubt on Alonso’s credibility

            Well, I’ll never try to give others solid reasons for convincing them about anything, but I will make an exception for your comment:

            I just have two reasons for believe F Alonso was not involved on this:

            1) He was asked, and he answered one simple thing: NO.

            2) Quest personnel in charge of running the investigations they made at Spa, conclude there were no any single evidence of F Alonso’s involvement.

            I’m not going to try convince others; those are my reasons. And maybe I’m wrong and F Alonso is involved, who can be 100% sure? I’m only 100% sure about my love to my daughters.

            And I’m telling this not as Alonso fan, just as F1 fan. I don’t know what kind of support or light could bring to this, the fact I’m an Alonso fan or I feel some sympathy for him.

            In general, I don’t like to answer comments like this one, just because It makes me feel something personal goes around, when you ask me why I’m “trolling” some S Huges comments.

            I’m not counting how many comments I’ve made on S Huges comments or replies of other’s comments, but I’m pretty sure there were not as many as I have already read from him.

            I like S Hughes comments and I like to read them as much as many other’s, but I find funny I feel himself a little obsessed in thinking F Alonso must be involved on this, and how he expressed this feelings in every opportunity he finds.

            Nothing regrettable on the other hand; but as well as he has the right to do so, I have my own for placing mines also, mainly when I’m doing it with all respect to him and his views.

            So, if you want me to convince you about something, don’t lose your time; but I’m afraid the rant you make to me, does not have anything to do with F Alonso’s credibility.

  47. I’m not his biggest fan, but I think the guys got more integrity and class than this. He wouldn’t want a false victory.

    Second that.
    I’m confused by Symonds, he was offered immunity by the FIA (though whether Renault would have kept him anyway is a different matter) but he had the perfect chance to protest his innocence and pin it all on big Flav, which is the way many of us thought he was going. Instead hes snuck out the back door, still to face the hearing after terrible interviews and neither he nor Flav will be involved in motorsport again.
    While we were all wondering who would be made the scapegoat this little surprise happened.

  48. Surely now the enquiry must be all about who else in the team knew what was going on!

    One must assume that if the Renault board knew before this all came to light they would have acted differently straight away.

    It is, however, difficult how see how only three people in such a big organisation knew about it (even if not before it happened then at least very shortly aftrewards)

  49. Sorry for double post but forgot one thing-bad_whippet I thought Alonso was told he couldn’t speak about Singapore?

    1. Ah, very possibly, I really don’t know. Good point.

      It wouldn’t have surprised me if Flav put a stop to Alonso talking, but Renault may now urge him to; it might go some way to appease a bunch of people and save face (albeit only a little bit).

  50. Renault (so also Alonso, since he has a contract with them) will not make any comment till the hearing… so we should wait

  51. A few points:
    Renault sacked F. Briatore and P.B.R. Symonds, and stated that they will not contest the charges against them, thus they effectively admit to being guilty.
    Like in the 2007 McLaren case, no matter how many team members you fire, the team is ultimately responsible for their actions. I believe this is even in the FIA’s Sporting Regulations.
    Max Mosley said last Friday that “fixing is one degree worse than cheating”.

    Taking these points into account, I expect Renault to either:
    Receive a fine of roughly the same magnitude as McLaren’s in 2007.
    Be deleted from the 2008 World Championship, much like M. Schumacher in 1997.
    Suffer a one-year ban from Formula One (which would be an easy way out for Renault boss C. Ghosn, though).

    On the results of the 2008 Singapore GP: the World Motor Sports Council may consider stripping Alonso and Renault from their victory, without moving up the other finishers in the classification.

    Something similar happened in the 1983 Brazil GP, when K.E. Rosberg was disqualified from 2nd place, which was then left vacant.

    A difficulty in the Singapore case, though, is that the GP would have neither a winning driver nor constructor.

    1. I have to agree, the whole team should be punished. I’m sure they aren’t contesting it because there is evidence which proves guilt. The engineers must have known because the telemetry would have shown the full details of the crash. As nobody had the guts to speak out, the whole team should be suspended. And fined heavily.

      1. I believe some of the engineers did raise at the concern at the telemetry.

        1. Sorry:
          I believe some of the engineers did raise concern at the telemetry.

          1. yes, i believe you are right. I read somewhere that piquet’s engineer asked what was wrong with the car on the radio after the crash, in way that implied ‘why have you crashed???. If the precedent was set from the Mclaren fine (which it should be), then you must think that it is going to be very bad for Renault. I just feel sorry for the hard workers back at the factory who work very hard for ‘the team’ who could now loose their jobs because of a few very silly people in such economic times. They will be most displeased with their leaders.

    2. A difficulty in the Singapore case, though, is that the GP would have neither a winning driver nor constructor.

      What a fine way to celebrate the 800th championship Grand Prix that would be…

      1. Singapore was to be known in history as the first night GP.
        Now, the history will be re-written and Singapore will be known as the first GP without a winner.
        The fact that it took place at night is much less important.

  52. I guess Renault were offered immunity to hand over flavio.

  53. Although a massive fine may effect whether Renault stay in F1, this should not prevent them being handed a punishment equal to McLarens.

  54. Is there any relatioship between Carlos Goshn and the Piquets? Both are Brazilian.
    (I love Brazil, OK?)

    1. As alleged by Flavio Briatore:

      “He [Nelsinho] has also heavily accused me of breaking his relationship with a friend of his. I don’t want to be accused unfairly, so I want to say that I did it because Nelsinho’s father asked me to,” explained Briatore.

      “Nelsinho used to live with this gentleman: the nature of their relationship is unknown. His father was very worried about the relationship Nelsinho used to have with this 50-year-old man. They used to live together, and his father asked me to intervene.

      “I made this gentleman not come to races anymore, and I made Nelsinho move from Oxford to London in a building where I live, in order to keep him under control.

      “I was asked to by his father, and now Nelsinho accuses me of having even taken his friends away from him – I don’t know what kind of friends these are, but he accuses me of that.”

      You know what!! Carlos Ghosn was Born on March 9, 1954 (1954-03-09) (age 55). ;)

      1. Anything is possible in this crazy world of Formula One!

      2. What a load of utter cr@p! The older man was Jr’s mechanic for crying out loud. And it was Nelson SENIOR that set them up in a house in England, cause Sr was too busy flying around the world being a famous GP driver to be bothered with raising a son.

        “The nature of their relationship is unknown.” Bl@@dy H3ll! FlabbiO sure can spin it.

        And sadly it seems some folks are taken in by spin.

        mp4, I thought you knew your F1 history better than that.

        1. I wouldn’t call this F1 history…
          Anyway, I meant ANY relationship with Piquet Sr or Jr, not necessarily what Flavio was talking about

  55. By dumping Flavio & Pat Renault is obviously trying to limit its losses and get out ahead of a very bad situation. The question in my mind is: Should the team itself and it’s employees be made to pay for the crimes of the three perps? The team? Perhaps. Senior management at the corporate level should have maintained better control over Flav and the operation. The employees? I really don’t think so. But when you lie with dogs, your apt to get fleas.

  56. A poster on the Dutch site inspired me to this:

    Prosecutor: Mr. Briatore, did you order the Deliberate Crash?
    Briatore: You want answers?
    Prosecutor: I want the truth!


    1. Well, let’s fix this:

      Prosecutor: “Mr. Briatore, did you order the crash?”
      Briatore: “You want answers?”
      Prosecutor: “I want the truth!”
      Briatore: “You can’t handle the truth! Son, we work in a sport that has fans and those fans have to be entertained by men with cars. Who’s gonna do it, you? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom! You weep for Nelsinho and you curse the management! You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know! That Nelsinho’s crash, while tragic, probably saved ratings! And my existence, while grotesque, and incomprehensible to you, saves the sport! You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at forums, you want me on that pit wall! You need me on that pit wall! We use words like ‘Racing’, ‘Sport’, ‘Loyalty!’ We use these words as the backbone of a life spent racing somewhere. You use them as a punchline! I have neither the time, nor the inclination, to explain myself to a man who races and starts under the blanket of the financial freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said “Thank you”, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you purchase a team, and be on the grid! Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to!”
      Prosecutor: “DID YOU ORDER THE CRASH?”

      1. Klon, I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder…..

        FANTASTIC, my friend :) :) :)

        And who said America hasen’t contributed anything to F1 culture latley? ;)

      2. haha brilliant, made my day

      3. Now, that’s what I call doing justice to the original! :) Kudos!

  57. What infuriates me about this is that we may never know the truth.

    Renault have forced out Briatore and Symonds to save face. A company of Renault’s size could not allow a scandal of this magnitude to drag on.

    The scandal was, of course, fuelled by numerous leaks of confidential documents by the FIA.

    In short, Briatore has been character-assassinated. It’s almost as if someone in the FIA had a longstanding grudge against him… I wonder who.

    But here is what we don’t know: did Briatore really do it? Quite simply, the evidence does not establish beyond reasonable doubt that he did.

    1. But here is what we don’t know: did Briatore really do it? Quite simply, the evidence does not establish beyond reasonable doubt that he did.

      you haven’t seen the evidence.

      1. You really think the FIA has anything it hasn’t already leaked?

        Get real. There was no smoking gun.

        Inconclusive telemetry, innocuous radio tapes, a statement from a hostile witness and some non-answers from the suspects – that’s all they had.

        That’s why “someone” in the FIA knew that Renault’s hand had to be forced. The scandal had to be fuelled by damaging leaks until Briatore’s position was untenable.

        1. Hear, hear! Well said.

          1. Good on them, as guilt has apparently been admitted as a result.

        2. We have:
          – CONCLUSIVE telemetry showing the crash was deliberate
          – A confession of the driver that performed the crash
          – A confession of Pat Symonds that indeed the idea was discussed
          – Pat Symonds did not alert the FIA to this wrongdoing

          That’s enough evidence to “convict” Symonds and Renault

          Briatore was at the same meeting so why wouldn’t he know? Symonds was hiding the truth which is compelely useless since he’s toast as a co-conspiritor already for not telling the FIA.

          The interviewers clearly felt that Symonds was hiding the truth to shield Briatore.

    2. In short, Briatore has been character-assassinated. It’s almost as if someone in the FIA had a longstanding grudge against him… I wonder who.

      Haven’t heard of a guy called Max Mosley??

      1. Surely Max wouldn’t do something like this? He is a family man of upstanding moral character.


    3. It’s almost as if someone in the FIA had a longstanding grudge against him… I wonder who.

      If so, then why now and not in 2007 when the FIA had a clear shot at them?

      1. Even I really dunno why Max let go of Flav during the J-Damper spying case. the fact that Renault had been using Mclaren’s patented design itself is reason enough to have punished them.

        Professor Malcolm Smith’s “inerter” device and concept has been deployed in Formula One racing (A genius idea, and why McLaren hasn’t tried to stop others using it”). McLaren signed an agreement with the University for rights to exploit the technology in Formula One. After a rapid and confidential development process the inerter was raced for the first time by Kimi Raikkonen at the 2005 Spanish Grand Prix, who achieved a victory for McLaren. The inerter had been used for the first time in practice by McLaren at the previous race at Imola.

        During development McLaren invented a decoy name for the inerter (the “J-damper”) to keep the technology secret from its competitors for as long as possible. The inerter featured in the 2007 Formula One “spy scandal” when it was reported that the Renault engineering team failed to understand the purpose of the device from a McLaren J-damper drawing they had acquired

        Here is a LINK to that article.

      2. Because of the line that was kept by Briatore during the FOTA-FIA fight concerning the badget cap and the alternative championship that FOTA members were planning to run…

      3. Not Mosely – it’s Ecclestone.

        Briatore offered to take the Ecclestone role promoting the
        break away series.

        Threat alert. Threat alert. Threat alert!!!!

        Dig out Bernie’s black book of past misdemeanors
        and general black mail material. Lookup the “B” section
        under Flavio. Whisper in Max’s ear and offer one last punishment

        Phone Nelson…


  58. I for one don’t see how Alonso can get away without some form of punishment.

    He is a double world champion and is (regardless of what you think of him) one of the shrewdest drivers out there today. He must therefore have known that his strategy was unrealistic and crazy, and should have questioned it. Shouldn’t he!?!

    1. Oh yes. All shrewd people are automatically guilty. Thank you for your contribution.

      1. Most shrewd people are guilty in some form or another.

  59. The consequences? $200 million fine and a one year ban for Renault. Briatore, Symonds and Piquet-lite banned for life from motorsports. Any one have a problem with that? The think of all the safety conciousness a bolt flying off Rubens’ car into Massa’s helmet caused and the cries for closed cockpits, etc. Now think of what could have happened if debris from Piquet’s crash had done that to another driver or even worse a spectator or a track marshall. And if you think that wouldn’t happen, take a look at the opening lap of Imola ’94, or the crash in Oz where a track worker was killed. There is no way to guarantee crash safety. All three of them are idiots.

  60. What a bunch of cheaters Renault is. And just like in 2007, Alonso is very lucky to be saved from any punishment even when i am sure he had big role or at least influence in both the cases.

    As i said earlier, the allegations of Piquet looked very real and practical and it became clear in a day that some one was guilty and playing blame games. Piquet saying team ordered to crash, these frauds saying Piquet himself wanted to crash(which was a joke really).

    Anyway happy for Romain Grosjean, he is a lucky guy, he won’t be working under the same situations and people as unlucky Piquet did. Last but not leaset, i hope Alonso never wins another race let alone Championship.

    1. Don’t be so happy for Romain. He just might not be working at all.

  61. My oh my…
    What a shame, I frankly hoped that it wouldn’t come true and NPJ would be wrong… Still cannot believe it. OK, we had Rascasse-gate, Stepney-gate, Lie-gate, now what.. Crash-gate, what an utter, utter shame. Flav and Symonds have been fixtures in this sport for God knows how long, Flav will be forever linked with bringing Schumi to Benetton and all glory that followed.

    What a shameful end to really brilliant career in F1 management. Now we all ask ourselves, what else is/was there that we don’t know yet. What other fixings, manipulations are/were there? What is the overall integrity of the sport? Does FIA need to do more policing to uncover and wrongdoings, collusion, whatever might exist and we (still) don’t know about?

    As for Alonso, I think we’ll all learn truth in due time. My take, he was told to pit early, just following ‘team strategy’ either knowing or not knowing what’s going to happen. I’m not a big fan of FA, but he is great driver and he wouldn’t want to win in such deceptive way (I can be proven wrong, though)

    As I said before, it’s a real smear for a really great season. F1 gets enough of negative publicity to have this dirty ‘nuclear bomb’ as Martin Brundle said, lobbed at it. It’s a black day for the sport and in my view, Flav and Symonds should face criminal prosecution for endangering life of driver and safety violation and fixing the outcome. Let Flav run ‘billionaire’s club’ in jail for couple of years.
    OK, I let my steam off.
    Thanks Keith for providing such great opportunity!
    I love your site!
    Best regards to all folks!

    1. Hi Igor :) just wanted to ask you if you have any classic signed photos of Flavio himself. If you do have it, would to mind to share it with us, before you burn them ;)

      1. Oh well, silly me! I don’t have any… :-), so nothing to burn ;-)
        I’ve got some really cool photos from Berger, Moss and old man ‘El Cabezon’ a.k.a. Jose Froilan Gonzalez. Check the galleries.

        That was noble time in F1, the only one who was cheated every race was the death. I was watching (100th time) Grand Prix movie, it was so damn dangerous. And they raced and crashed and raced again… or not… von Trips, Bandini, Scarfiotti, Bonnier, Clark, the count goes on..

        All these guys who bring shame and disrepute to F1 should be banned from approaching this sport for life. Almost like getting restraining order.

    2. You forgot Tire-Gate!!! ;) I remember as I was there that fateful USGP…

  62. I think everyone needs to remember that Flavio, Pat and Nelson Jr are not “Renault”. Everyone speaks of the punishment Renault should get, yet Renault was not the perpetrator of this. Punish the three that took part in the fixing–substantially, yes–but don’t go overboard on punishing the team as a whole. And, yes, I do think the team needs some sort of punishment, as Flavio was their employee, and companies should have some responsibility for acts carried out by employees, to a certain extent. Fine the team, or some such thing, but don’t put hundreds of employees on the street with a ban.

    As for Flavio, Pat and Nelson Jr, they made their beds, now they must lay in them. A lietime ban from Formula 1 for those three wouldn’t upset me a bit. And for Formula 1 to be seen as taking responsibility to ensure the sport is free from further scandals like this, a lifetime ban may just be what it takes. As for Alonso, I just don’t know. Could he not have known something in Denmark smelt rotten? The taint of all this will cling to him, I’m sure, in the minds of many. And that may be enough to make it difficult for him to get another seat in Formula 1, if Renault indeed leaves(for whatever reason). It seems the taint of scandal may already have affected his prospects, since Ferrari apparently(obviously, to me) backed away from any thought of signing him for 2010, perhaps at any time.

    But in all, in all the talk of the sport and the fans and the Renault F1 Team employees being losers in this mess, everyone has forgotten another person affected by this–Lewis Hamilton. He must be absolutely gutted. To have won the WDC last year, only to have people now saying that it all would have been different if not for the Singapore race.

    Well, I don’t know that it would have been different. That one race MIGHT have been different, surely, but would it have been the difference in the WDC ? Can anyone know for CERTAIN ? Can any of us be absolutely certain the entire remainder of the season would have been different? I feel badly for Hamilton, whose first WDC will go down in history as the “tainted championship”. Like him or not as a driver or a person, it’s a heck of a thing.

    1. Lewis knows how many unfair penalties he had against him last year, so he would be quite happy knowing he won that title fair and square.

    2. very good points. Flav and Symonds are not Renault, but they represent a team of few hundred talented dedicated workers, engineers, mechanics and so on. What they did they smeared a good name and good reputation of every one who works for the team and the team itself. So, while Renault is not to blame, but Renault F1 team, gained extra championship points, FA got his points AND winning bonus and so the chain reaction follows. Where to draw the line between the punishment for the perpetrators and preserving the good name of the team. Good question.
      FIA is not good at it at all. They just throw the book at the whole team, as they did with McLaren.

      1. It’s all very easy: the Renault F1 Team is responsible for the actions of its employees. If those employees cheat during a race, mislead the audience, and subsequently lie about it to the media and the FIA, not only should those individuals be punished, but the company responsible, too. That’s even in the FIA’s Sporting Regulations.

    3. The taint of all this will cling to [Alonso], I’m sure, in the minds of many. And that may be enough to make it difficult for him to get another seat in Formula 1

      Unlikely. Ferrari had no such qualms when taking on Schuey after all his dodgy antics during 1994 (partly down to Flav then too). There are dozens of people commenting here who want to see Alonso strung up, but his involvement is far from proven yet.

  63. It all seems rather low-rent, though, doesn’t it?

    Let’s assume that the resignations are in fact admissions of guilt, and Renault senior management really did conspire with Piquet to cause an accident. There must also have been others involved, at least tacitly — for example, NPJ’s race a data engineers must have been aware something was afoot, even if they didn’t know what. But let’s lay it at Symonds’ and Briatore’s doors.

    It was a **** conspiracy, though, wasn’t it? The best that could be achieved would be that Alonso would be catapulted to the lead about a third of the way into the race, with a pit-stop to go, but with a safety car meaning that he has no lead. The best outcome is that they win. On the other hand, on a street circuit at night with a pitstop left to go, there’s ample chances to foul up over forty-odd laps and lose anyway, and if they get caught it’s the end of the world. Plotting a conspiracy in which everyone goes to metaphorical jail if they’re caught, between one clever man, one obvious egomaniac and one disgruntled naif, in order to have no more than a racing chance of winning, is the act of desperate men.

    Perhaps they were desperate. Perhaps Renault had said privately that the game was up without a win or two. Perhaps Alonso had said he’d leave without a win and he was critical to the marketing plans. Who knows? But compared to other schemes (Option 13, Schumacher and Senna’s crashes) where one gives a long-term advantage and the others win championships, it’s all incredibly low-rent, the stuff of an F1 Dick Francis.

    Anyway, it’s happened. A sad end to a colourful (Briatore) and respected (Symonds) career, and one which re-opens a lot of old wounds and suspicions. Really,. really, sad.

  64. Well, at last, Briatore gets his comeuppance, after years of cheating. Launch control? Cheaty refueling system? It may have taken 15 years, but he’s finally being seen for the little **** he’s always been.

    1. I have to ask, are the stars part of a censoring system or did you put them in yourself? I’d try myself but I haven’t the grapes.

  65. Through out the trash,keep the rest of the team,rename it Nissan and lets get back to racing!

    1. I agree with that. Or they could sell the team to Zoran!
      But to be honest, I think Nissan will cut all ties to them after this.
      If Nissan were to take over the team, then they would gut and start from scratch.

      1. I don’t think Nissan has any say about who they are tied to, since Renault owns Nissan, not t’other way round.

        1. Renault owns 44% of Nissans Shares. That means Nissan still owns the other 66% of the shares and they have a 15% share in Renault. Renault is the bigger company, but all Nissan has to do is buy out the 44% that Renault currently has.

  66. This is getting worse every day.
    But I still believe Piquet shouldn’t have brought it out… he got his contract, failed horribly and then started being a baby

  67. Mussolini's Pet Cat
    16th September 2009, 16:42

    oh, a corrupt Italian, how novel…….

  68. Flavio was never a classy character. But for his good luck & his association with Luciano Benetton during his younger days, he I am sure would have turned up to become some kind of a crook. This is what he had to say in 1994:

    “All the team owners are orientated towards the technical side rather than the entertainment side, and this is a big fault. Every meeting that I go to, people are talking about pistons and suspensions. Nobody goes to a race to see that kind of thing… People come to see Schumacher and Senna racing each other.”

    Yes! People also come to see people crashing on purpose? You are a sick man Flavio!!

    1. I don’t see how that quote makes him a sick mana. Or you really can watch the pistons working while the car is moving at high speed? :-)

  69. Can Renault sue Flavio?

    1. That depends on Flav’s contract and the law that governs it. There may be provisions e.g. requiring him to maintain the good reputation of the company (not uncommon – my employment contract has “conduct” provisions and I’m no F1 boss). If they sue him for breach of contract, then they could claim the value of his contract (i.e. salary) and other consequential losses that could have been reasonably contemplated e.g. if FIA fine Renault, then that would almost certainly be foreseeable. This could be a *very* expensive mistake for Flav, but I doubt it. Renault probably just want to distance themselves as much as poss and pray that Max/FIA don’t ban them or stick them witha fine that drives the team out. (Disclaimer: this is some basic English law, not an expert opinion!)

      Personally, I don’t think Renault should be fined less than McLaren for Spygate. However, that leaves a moral dilemma if such a huge fine would force the team out and add to the current unemployment problem. Fortunately Max isn’t known for his morality as noted above.
      Maybe FIA shouldn’t use such huge fines at all if they can’t enforce them equally over the years. Perhaps a move away from financial penalties is called for? If the only penalties were race-altering (e.g. not retrospective, but future bans/place drops etc) then recessions would have limited effect and Max et al wouldn’t get richer!

    2. im sure they can

  70. The net reacts quickly, showcasing Renault’s new Singapore livery.

      1. LOL Wicked!!

  71. So, The Piquets have finally won over Flavio and Renault.

    A sad day indeed for Formula 1. Flavio Briatore has always been a controversial team head. But he has also been pretty successful.

    First Ron Dennis was removed, now Flavio Briatore. I am assuming the FIA will next go for Ross Brawn!! :( :(

    1. First Ron Dennis was removed, now Flavio Briatore. I am assuming the FIA will next go for Ross Brawn!! :( :(

      never! Brawn is too smart for all of the F1 field put together.

      Briatore practically threw himself out when he cut the deals with Piquet… he is too naive and insanely dumb as we now see..

      Ron, played the pretense game too much and .. well, got caught out. or got outsmarted by Max Mosley.

  72. The net reacts quickly, showcasing Renault’s new Singapore livery.

    Mind posting a link or something? Google isn’t working.


  73. I don’t think there will be a draconian penalty for the Renault team; the three party involved in this sad incident are gone from F1; therefore there is not reason to punish 700 employees at the Renault factory for the action of a handful bad apples. The team got a very bad publicity already and that is in my view a hard punishment.

    1. The 700 employees won’t have to pay the fine, Renault will. And if they pay with their jobs, that’s Renault’s decision, it’s not down to the FIA.

  74. After an incident the renault technicians would have checked all telemetry to ensure crash wasn’t due to some failure.. both sides of the garage would have had that info presented.. if, as MM claims, the telemetry is really dodgy then someone on Alonso’s side would have spotted this and probably mentioned it to others in the team and poss Alonso. I’m sure he wasn’t told for plausible deniability, however i’d be amazed if it wasn’t obvious from the info that something wasn’t amiss about the crash.

    I wonder how many teams would give piquet a drive now? he had the “I wasn;t given equal chance” line and clearly has some skills and fans, but i’d be amazed if anyone would even get in his taxi cab now!

  75. I love this comment I saw on the Guardian website – a different take on matters:

    “Nelson Piquet Jnr – Balls as big as steel cannonballs.

    He could have just knocked a wheel off, or broken a wing and parked up a la Schumacher but no. he rammed his renault into one wall, spins across the track and hits the other wall. Then takes on Briatore head on…and wins?

    Crikey. Huge cojones. Shame he probably won’t get another drive in F1. I tip my hat to the lad.”

    1. It’s not like he hasn’t had a lot of practice at surviving wipeouts unscathed. The least you’d expect from the lad is a convincing crash!

    2. I am thinking the matter from a different angle….

      That Piquet might have blackmailed Flav this seoson to get a Renault drive this year!!!!! And when Flav got fed up and sacked him, he went to FIA :D

      Just another theory in these flurry of theories…

    3. If Piquet has any sense, he’d be happy to have that on his headstone. I think we have underestimated him!

  76. I hope Symonds gets a shot at another team….He’s a great guy and loved to hear him (on the radio)

    1. Yeah, apart from all that unpleasant business about rigging races.

  77. Let’s not forget Flav is a dirty cheat! And he has gotten away with it for way too long. From the Benneton days right until now, always looking at a way to cheat and without thinking of the safety of others. Fuel rig anyone? A crash during a race places drivers – people at risk. If you had a friend or family at Singapore in 2008 and say there was a huge crash and they were spectating nearby….flav has become arrogant with wealth and disregarded the value of life. Let him hang. Book closed.

  78. I feel bad for Nissan most in this. I don’t know how their relationship exactly works with Renault but this is going to damage Nissans reputation as well.
    I hope to god that Nissan can find a way to take control of the team and return it to glory.
    I don’t know if Nissan can but I really want them to cut all ties to Renault after this is over.

    1. Okay, I figured it out. Renault has 44.4% shares in Nissan and in turn Nissan has 15% shares in Renault. That is what wiki says anyway.

    2. Exactly what association has Nissan got with the Renault F1 team? It would be like saying Skoda’s image would be damaged if the Audi Le Mans team were found to be doing something dodgy.

    1. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  79. Not a bit shocked when I heard the news, sadly. My F1 friends have suggested I was stupid to ever suggest that NPJ would have to face constant barrages from the press had he been found to have been lying.
    Flavourless is an unpleasant bully, Alonso (whose driving I admire, I think he’s one of the bravest drivers on track at the moment) appears to be untrustworthy, and Pat Symonds’ has surprised me to be honest.
    As for Ecclestone … He shies from responsibility. People who complain to “the person in charge” about being bullied shouldn’t expect to be told “do something about it then”. He should’ve taken it up himself, if he wants a clean sport. But so long as he gets his cut, he doesn’t really seem to care ….

  80. not a good day. i think renault should be fined very heavily…or offered a less heavy fine but on condition of selling the team. this way renault are punished but the team is still able to race next season, one way or another.
    also on an old post, cant remember if it was a comment or part of an article, it was mentioned that mclaren didnt pay the full 100mill fine, can someone explain this or post the link?
    you wouldnt want to shake hands with these people.

  81. Ok,

    Here is what I think should be the penalty 75 million fine. Win Resended (I know wont happen). Renault is stripped of all constructor points and driver points for the year. If both drivers knew both suspended (Alonso). Poor Romain Grosjean got to be thinking what did I get my self into.

  82. There will be no further real punishment to Renault. Rather than observing the precedent set by the exclusion of the Toyota rally team in 95 I think that the FIA will observe the precedent set by the Lewis Hamilton ‘liegate’ scandal – a suspended ban.

    The fact is that this case had no moral imperative from the start and it has achieved its goal already. Max has his man.

    1. What about the McLaren ‘spygate’ affair in 2007? That was the closest precedent. If Renault get off simply because Max has succeeded in pushing out Flav, the punishments will be inconsistent. And we all know how much we love that.

  83. Sometime ago I put forward the suggestion that the use of a Safety Car distorted results by closing everyone up and potential winners being hounded by the ones they had left behind. Why the officials cannot use the existing technology to stop all the cars at the time of the accident ( no pit stops allowed) and then restart the field with the pre stoppage time intervals being used is a mystery. There obviously has to be some refinement to this idea but in the Singapore case- it would have stopped any of this current upheaval.
    I have mixed feelings about Alonso. I didn’t like his whining attitude when he was with Maclaren and it does seem strange that he seems to be involved whenever there is a problem. As someone has said _ Good Luck Ferrari.

    1. Well the safety car rules have changed since last year – we no longer have drivers being forbidden to pit while it is out – so it would be harder to replicate this scenario.

  84. Incredible…almost too much to take in. Very, Very sad day in F1. Have races been manipulated before? Has F1 turned into professional wrestling?
    Couple questions:
    Will Flav and Symonds be able to return to F1? This statement seems to say they have “stepped down”. Not been banned.
    Also, do you think somewhere Max Mosley is smiling? Before he left he was able to get rid of Ron Dennis and maybe now Flavio Briatore, (although perhaps Flav on his own accord). What else happens before his term is up?

  85. Flav was a bad guy, but he was a great personality. In that respect it’s bad for F1 to lose him.
    I certainly will miss him.

    1. Poor guy, this decision has come at a wrong time for him. He is apparently pregnant & expecting his baby sometime later this year.
      He’s 60. Dunno why he choose fatherhood at such an advanced age.

      1. Whats wrong with fatherhood at any age?

        1. No-one said anything was wrong with it. Doh.

    2. Great personality? He was always a daft loudmouth. he never had anything sensible to say and he had to retract so much of his annoying insults that it was an embarrassment.

  86. Tit for Tat…… Piquet has the last laugh….. Briatore literally has devastated his career by messing around with the Piqeuts.

    A good lesson learnt I believe.

  87. The 100mil $ fine was a number wich was seen as a punishment that was in line with what McLaren earn and the current climate… and the climate at the moment isn’t good so the fine will be less anyway!

  88. To all those who are trying to drag Alonso into this fiasco, let me remind you of one fact, Alonso didn’t need to win that race, rather it was Renault that stood to gain. Alonso wasn’t in contention for the drivers championship, neither did he need the extra money a win might bring.
    RenaultF1 stood to benefit in the long term from that win, as it would bolster their long term prospects. In all, Symonds and Flavio may just as well have been happy to ask Alonso to crash into the wall and give Piquet the win. It wasn’t the driver winning that mattered, it was the car.

    By the way, I’ve never been a keen fan of Alonso, but I can’t stand stupid assumptions. The fact a cat has wet paws doesn’t mean it ate the gold fish. :-)

    1. I’m sure you’re right a double world champion would have no desire to win a race would he? I’m sure he’s perfectly happy to stroll around at the back of the grid and take no part in the action. I’m not saying he is involved but it’s silly to say he didn’t need to win the race so he must be innocent…

      1. I am saying it wasn’t worth it for Alonso to be party to this. But for the management of RenaultF1, it was worth taking such a gamble.
        It makes more sense to tell Piquet, crash the car cause we win and Renault will commit to F1 and you can drive for us still, than to tell him to crash the car so Alonso will win and look a far better driver than you.

    2. What we know of what happened so far points to the fact that no-one who didn’t need to know about the conspiracy knew. The documents linked to in the article claim Piquet Jnr, Symonds and Briatore were in the meeting, and not Alonso. And you have to ask yourself, why would Alonso need to know?

  89. I hope now Barricello and Button take revenge and say a lot of bad things about cheater Flavio.
    Funny he said his drivers are the best and brawn pair is retired drivers, and we have seen who is winning, fast and talented (Brawn drivers) and who is winning with the help of cheating (Alonso).

    Also what about the criminal case filed against Piquet, now the police will come to arrest piquet but will take two disgraceful crowns britore and symonds with them. I think the criminal case thing was a last effort by these two to scare Piquet. They must have threatened Piquet and his father verbally many times.
    Flavio and Symonds deserve some big Punishments, at least for not caring about Safety of anybody.

  90. OMG…
    All this comments anti-Alonso….
    Please, have a read, specially document nr 4…

    And now the Piquets what? Fia can’t do something against someone out of the team, just as happened with Ron Dennis…
    The piquets will have to eat some S***t…


  91. Now everybody who was pushing Piquet down the hill… think again. YES the race WAS FIXED! Yes it was those two cheaters up there that order Piquet Jr. crash. Of course some people will always say – I didn’t have to do it… Remember who the boss is. The boss orders, you do it, or get canned… But the most extraordinary thing about all this is that nobody talks about the one who really gain for the race fix cheating – FERNANDO ALONSO… Will we slip by without a scratch… Is he already under Ferrari protection, so FIA can’t touch him? He’s a cheater too – NEVER FORGET THAT ! It was Alonso who desperately need a win, not Renault… A word from Alonso to Flavio, from Flavio to Pat, the meeting with Piquet Jr. and it was in the sac. Crash after Fernando leaves the pits, on a place were there were not means of retrieving the car, safety car comes in… all the other had to come into the pits because they would be out of fuel. Race win to Alonso! Genial! That shows, for sure the spaniard character… a pig, a coward that would do everything to his neighbor if is makes him a step higher… HE makes me sick…

    1. Your logic makes you sick. This is the same kind of mentality that puts lots of innocent people in jail. I’m not saying Alonso is innocent, but from the evidence Alonso stood little to gain from it all and didn’t have to be a party to it.

  92. Well dont know what to make of this scandal – but no one departs any job meekly unless there was evidence of cheating/admission to the board? – so they were given garden leave and escorted of the premises – sad and bad for all the people at renault left to face the music or lose their jobs ps alaonso did acknowledge it was the safety car that won him the race as to being in the know?

  93. Honestly, the minute I saw that Piquet Sr. was involved, I knew that Briatore and Symonds were screwed. Nelson does not mess around.

  94. Results should be wiped form the race


    1. Keep dreaming… lol

      Massa brought the refueling machine with him after pitted… eheh

      That episode can only go to a F1 Gag Reel. lol

  95. the race should be re run with the 2008 cars nd drivers bar renault. massa got shafted

  96. I wish Massa could be made champion Joe but it won’t happen. A brilliant season has been tainted.
    I know a lot of people have strong feelings regarding Alonso but we don’t know the evidence and if he even knew.

  97. Lets make sure 2010 will be an interesting season: Jean Todd becomes FIA president. Briatore gets a gig as Ferrari boss and brings the old Benetton technical clud with him: Symonds, Brown, Coughlan and Stephney. And to wrap things up, Schumacher and Alonso make the driver’s line up? Looking good? Not yet, we need a side kick: bring Ron Dennis back to Mclaren.

    1. Please don’t tell me you really want Todd to be the next Hitler at FIA Headquarters… If we ALL complain about all the wrong thing done my Mosley – be sure – Todt will do worst in half the time – that man is natural born dictator – team will never have any control about rules, etc, decisions will be really bad and bias…

      1. No, no, the whole comment is a destilation of sarcasm – take a look at the lot I am putting together here.

  98. So its now official: Renault is as low as Mclaren & Ferrari.
    No one likes cheaters

  99. Massa not winning the 2008 championship had absolutely nothing to do with Renault or anyone employed by them. Blame it on the fact he ended at least two races in the gravel traps, or on the engine failure in Hungary, or on the pit traffic light system, or just on the bloke in red who pressed the “green” button too soon. I felt sorry for Massa, listening to him on the radio at the end of Brazil last year, but Hamilton won that title fair and square, despite the FIA`s best efforts.

    1. FIA’s best efforts? Remember Melbourne??

      1. I think you are confused, Hamilton did nothing wrong at Melbourne `08.

  100. Regardless of punishments from the FIA, how’s this for a guess… Singapore refuse Renault admission for this year?

    Is that possible? Would they have the authority to do that, or if they tried would anyone dare challenge them on that? Presumably even if the race officials didn’t, the Singapore authorities can refuse Renault workers admission to the country. And if that happened… really can’t see Renault sticking it out, perhaps not even finishing the season.

  101. Well, what a mess…..

    So the parties responsible for the cheating- at least some of them- have left the team and perhaps the sport overall? My big question is…what happens to those guys from here? And, was anyone else aware of the events before they went down?

    I can’t see Renault being thrown out..indeed, now that they key guys are out of the sport, I wonder if the FIA is going to take the same approach they took with Mclaren at the start of the year- force out the head guy(s), then issue a slap on the wrist?

    That’s what I would normally would say is going to happen, but this is a much more serious case. And about Nelson Jr.- am I the only person who thinks the FIA won’t issue a Super License to a driver who has crashed on purpose?

  102. I just heard the president of the Real Automovil Club of Spain and member of the World Motorsport Council, Carlos Gracia, speak on the radio. As I understood it, he made, more less, three statements asuming the crash was made on purpose:

    1) Formula 1 does not need people like Briatore and Symonds.
    2) While Symonds an Briatore should be held responsible, to his own opinion it’s nonsense to offer inmunity to Piquet as the executor of the action.
    3) Information is being leaked prematurely by publishers closely related to FIA in what seems to be the personal interest of (someone) involved. Some of this information has not even reached the Word Council yet.

    He also mentioned that it would be a disaster for Renault to be expelled. Renault provides engines and other material to other F1 teams, GP2, World Series…

  103. slighlty different angle on events, but does anyone think that this may help Ari Vatanen? Maybe this will convince people that there is a need for a culture change in FIA and F1, and Ari is the best man for the job? It would certainly be a silver lining if this was to be true.

  104. There is no concrete evidence at this stage to implicate Alonso but I think it is reasonable to ponder that Alonso, who is supposed to be very involved in strategy and even dictates what tyres he wants even if it doesn’t make sense (see Monaco last year), how come he didn’t question the senseless strategy unless he knew why there was such a strategy. And before anyone starts to say the strategy wasn’t senseless, please see the article I posted from ‘The Official Formula 1 Review 2008’ book. He even said that he suggested the strategy. Why would he say that as it is clearly a lie? Why lie? What else is he lying about? Unless he wasn’t lying and he did suggest the strategy along with the now known reasons for it. Whether there is concrete evidence or not, I don’t believe for one second he wasn’t in on it as do many people on the F1 forums. But the probability is that he will not get punished because there seems to be a buffer between him and any hard evidence. I’m afraid it will always hang over him like a bad smell though.

    1. Alonso has gone for ludicrously short fist stints many times before, just to be different. He has said that he’s not too interested in finishing 7th and 8th, so would rather go for “senseless” strategies in the hope that he may very occasionally sneak a win in a sub-par car.

      Admittedly, at Singapore, he was out in Q2, whereas all his other ludricously short first stints came in an attempt to qualify as high as possible in the race-fuel run Q3.

      1. That’s it in a nutshell – it was senseless because he was starting from 15th.

        Anyway, I think I can answer my own question maybe. Alonso credited himself with coming up with the “aggressive” strategy because he probably wanted to get the credit for the ingenious win. That makes him dishonest and egotistical. If he didn’t cotton on to the plot, it also makes him a bit dim.

        1. It’s not 100% senseless because it was 1)the first race at this track 2) there are tons of walls which typically results in safety cars 3) it was the first night race and anything can happen 4) they were having a horrible year and not fighting for anything but wins.

          Just for argument, FA could have ‘thought’ that they should gamble on a safety car within the first 5 laps for the above reasons and with a light car he might be able to pass a handful of cars at the start, and maybe get lucky enough to catch the safety car after his early pit if it came out after lap 7.

          Then, in the actual race, the crash happens and FA is in the lead, then the team tells him that it just so happened to be his VERY crash prone teammate….

          It is possible

  105. I hope Renault and any team member who is financially worse off because of this sues Flavio, this will be better than any punishment the FIA could hand out.If he was left pennyless it would be the best deterent to anyone else thinking of cheating.

  106. hardly the biggest scandal in F1 ever…

    One guy crashes to try and fix a race after a dozen or so laps doesnt declare anyone a 100% guarantee of winning, it a best is a med chance of bring out safety car, relying on cars not having to pit, hoping Ferrari stuff their pit stop, Hoping Alonso car makes it to the end, hoping their inst another safety car…and the list goes on.

    It is a desperate attempt gain a new contract, and ousting Flabio rolled into one.

    I would say Shui, purposefully crashing into another title contender twice is far more damaging to the sport but that is swept under the carpet to this 7 time ‘great’…??!?!?!?!?!
    Oh lets no forget the times Rubins had to slow down, apart from Austria, parking a car in the middle of the track in qual, illegal cars from Renault and Ferrari…and this contempt MS got away with…
    Isnt that cheating on a mass scale?

    Forcing anti competitive behavior by FIA in only picking new teams that use a cosworth engine…That is illegal..!!!! Motorsport is a business…you cant do that!

    Look if you want to dig deeper than a few years there is major corruption with in the sport and the governing body.

    1. Hey Fernando! Good to see you join in. The BIG question of course: Were you in on it???

  107. This is another example that winning has become an obsession in professional sport. I do have a regret that F1 loses a character like Briatore , because love him or hate him , I saw him as one of the most “colourful” characters therein and he will be missed.

  108. Qoute:Well the safety car rules have changed since last year – we no longer have drivers being forbidden to pit while it is out – so it would be harder to replicate this scenario.

    Well Keith – perhaps I didn’t make myself quite clear. I am suggesting that the cars return to the grid in the positions that they were when the accident occurred. Then they would restart in the order and time interval that existed at that time. It would prevent this distortion that currently occurs under Safety Car rules.
    Refinement and adverse comment invited.

    1. You’re saying they should re-run the rest of the race?

    2. This would be interesting.
      If an accident happen use the red flag, restart the race and keep the temporal differences that existed one lap before the accident.
      The only bad thing is that it will be complicated for the spectators to figure out the final grid order.
      In order to avoid this, they could restart the race from inside the pits, having the cars in the same line order that they were before the accident and allowing each car to leave the pits at the specific temporal gap from the leading car that existed before the accident…
      If anybody fails to restart he would simply lose his place from the following car/cars until he is able to do so.

      How does this sound?
      Fair and realisable I believe!

      1. It sounds very unhealthy for cars that don’t have proper radiators and rely on air flow to cool just about everything….

  109. wow what a surprise when Formula 1 tries to be fair it just gets worse over the years lol i doubt it very much Alonso knew about this Alonso doesn’t look like the kind of guy that desperate to win a race.

  110. HounslowBusGarage
    17th September 2009, 10:58

    Possible extradition to Singapore?
    I have to say I hadn’t thought of this, but the Telegraph is reporting that “Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds could potentially be extradited to Singapore to face criminal charges in the wake of their departure from Renault on Wednesday in connection with race-fixing claims.”
    Plus the paper is suggesting that “There are also legal challenges open to Ferrari and their driver Felipe Massa, who missed out on last year’s world drivers’ crown by a single point; and to Renault itself, which may want to sue its former employees for allegedly bringing the company’s name into disrepute.”
    Read it all here
    Plus I still think the Piquests will sue Briatore.

  111. Sir Jackie Stewart is right in that there is something rotten at the core of Formula 1. And that thing is Flavio. Remember his pedigree is not motor racing. He came into the sport after meeting Luciano Benetton, the multi-hued fashionista. Before that he had no apparent history, dealings or knowledge of F1. So he brings with him a “skill” set that has no reverence for the sport, but the view that it is just another less-than-serious (sporting) business where anything can go. He is the bully transferred to the new school who has started the big fight. It will end poorly for all if the WMSC make an example of him at a modern day stockade. Which they should. Not dealing with this crime properly could de-legitimize the sport for years.

  112. I meant “unless”

  113. The really bad thing is that F1’s professionals get dragged into this sort of thing. Pat Symonds this time, Mike Coughlan on a previous occasion. Nigel Stepney. Can anyone inside F1 tell us why these people get involved with the the political freaks please

    1. That one’s eeezi peezi! BUCKETLOADS OF DOSH

      1. OK but do these lesser beings earn that sort of dosh or are they seeing retirement not too far away and feeling the draught?

        1. I honestly have no idea how much they get (or ‘earn’ in some cases).
          My assumption is based on the vast honey pot that is F1 and that most of the top players (I would put Pat Symonds in that category, Mike Coughlan maybe a few notches lower) expect to scoop as much out of it as possible. Retirement or not…

  114. I don’t mind it not being quiet but a season that’s about racing would be good.

  115. HounslowBusGarage
    18th September 2009, 22:11

    Here we go for the civil court retribution.

  116. The McLaren fine was outrageous, but any amount less than that for Renault should be sent directly to Woking.

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