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
- Piquet-Renault scandal: more new evidence and complaints about leaks
- Statement by Nelson Piquet Jnr on his Singapore crash leaked online
- Did Piquet crash on purpose? (Poll)
- Renault face Singapore crash hearing
- Nelson Piquet Jnr and Fernando Alonso in renault Singapore claim
- 2008 Singapore Grand Prix review: Fernando Alonso’s bad luck turns good for win
- 2008 Singapore Grand Prix analysis
- Piquet’s scathing attack on Briatore
- Nelson Piquet Jnr dropped by Renault