Nelson Piquet Jnr, Renault, Singapore, 2008

Briatore: ‘No proof I was involved in Crashgate’

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Nelson Piquet Jnr, Renault, Singapore, 2008In the round-up: Flavio Briatore insists there is no proof he ordered Nelson Piquet Jnr to crash during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.


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Interview: Flavio Briatore uncut (Autosport, registration required)

“There was no proof that I was involved in Singapore. Which is the reason I won in court. I’ve nothing more to say; I say it already at the time. If what people claimed about Singapore was true, then why did I fire Piquet in the middle of the next season? Why take that risk?”

Azores Rally ERC 2013 Robert Kubica is Rolling Crash (YouTube)

Bahrain Grand Prix ratings drop versus 2012 (The F1 Broadcasting Blog)

“Coverage of the Bahrain Grand Prix dropped on both Sky Sports F1 and BBC One versus 2012 last Sunday, overnight ratings show. Whilst the two channels averaged 4.24 million in 2013, the number is down on the 4.39 million average in 2012.”

Clark brilliant at Aintree (Peter Windsor)

Jim Clark then produces a supreme display of class driving, perfectly-balancing the carburettored 25 through Aintree?s medium-speed corners, blipping the throttle on the slow ones to keep the revs in the useable band. He works his way back to an eventual third place. His lap times are consistent to within tenths; his fastest lap ?ǣ a staggering 1min 51.8sec ?ǣ is 0.6 quicker than his pole time and a full 1.8sec quicker than his pole lap at the British GP in ?62.”

The Bahrain conundrum ?ǣ the politics or the race? (Richland F1)

“I cannot speak for Formula One as a whole, but with protests also taking place around this year?s race, personally, I was struggling with what to focus on in my preview piece ahead of the race. It would have been wilfully ignorant of me to focus only on the race.”


Comment of the day

William Katz weighs in on the entertainment versus sport debate:

I bet WWE?s Wrestlmania got higher viewership than the US Grand Prix last year [in the USA]; that doesn?t mean that I think F1 needs drivers hitting one another with folding chairs. But we?re living in a time when what we think about sports is fundamentally changing ?ǣ it?s a huge business and it?s an entertainment business.

Here in the States an NBA coach was fined by the league because he chose to rest his star players in a game that the league considered important for viewership numbers. In one overt wave of the hand the NBA effectively announced that entertainment value is more important than sporting integrity. It?s disgusting, and F1 is traveling down exactly the same path.

I?m not suggesting it?s new ?ǣ I am sure in smoke filled rooms in times of yore, men in dark suits and thick cigars made all sorts of seedy arrangements ?ǣ but I can?t help but feel like all of the people who are saying “This is great!” are just totally missing the point.
William Katz (@Hwkii)

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Russell G, Varun, Muz and Krtekf1!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Two F1 champions scored their first victories on this fay in F1 history: Niki Lauda in 1974 at Jarama and Jacques Villeneuve 22 years after him at the Nurburgring.

Image ?? Singapore GP/Sutton

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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  • 66 comments on “Briatore: ‘No proof I was involved in Crashgate’”

    1. “2012 vs 2013
      – Australia race week – 3.405 million (2012) vs 2.383 million (2013)
      – Malaysia race week – 3.473 million (2012) vs 2.832 million (2013)
      – No race week 1 – 684,000 (2012) vs 751,000 (2013)
      – No race week 2 – 608,000 (2012) vs 394,000 (2013)

      Overall, the channel is trending down versus last year, if you can average out reaches year-on-year then it is an ‘average’ weekly reach of 2.04 million vs 1.59 million.”

      Bahrain is not special.

      1. This is really interesting. In my country (Hungary), we actually reach double-digit increases from race to race. So I guess this is rather down to how an audience perceives the product rather than the overall quality of the product itself.

    2. Wow Keith, thanks very much!

      1. congrats, well deserved. I stopped referring to F1 as a sport a while ago. But the show must go on..

      2. Yes indeed , very well deserved, and the Jim Clark article above just highlights how much F1 is being changed from what it was, and not for the better (safety excepted).

    3. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      28th April 2013, 0:29

      I know “everybody is innocent till proved guilty” but if i were suspect in that kind of scandals (Singapore 2008), I would say “no comments” and that’s all. But people with power don’t know what embarrasement or shame mean.

      1. Indeed they do, that’s why they feel the need to defend themselves in the public.

      2. if he wasn’t involved, then it means he was not respected at all inside the team, and his employees did wathever they wanted.
        Either way he looks pretty bad to me.

        1. Agreed kovi…this is what I have felt all along…that if in fact FB is innocent of crashgate then he is still guilty of not being in control of his team. And I never had the sense that FB was so outraged by team mutiny that that he was going to leave no stone unturned in finding out who did this behind his back. And I am always mindful that this is the same FB who was in charge of MS/Benetton, rife with illegalities and the skewing of all the data toward MS while MS’s teammates were shuffled under the carpet and did not get to share the data that would have helped them. Herbert said he felt like a second class citizen as MS’s teammate. By all accounts so did NPjr as FA’s teammate.

      3. @omarr-pepper

        Flavio Briatore is pathetic. Nelson Piquet Sr. and Nelson Piquet Jr. have told the story, I’d say if there’s someone lying it’s Mr. Britaore.

    4. Why did Briatore “take the risk” and fire Piquet?

      Because he knew Piquet could not reveal the conspiracy without also revealing his role in it.

      1. Yep, he did not think Piquet would take himself down to come out with this.

        1. And Piquet, Pat Symonds and “Witness X” all place Briatore as being present when the plan was concocted. As parties to the conversation, they might be individually compromised, but together, they’re hard to refute.

          If Briatore really is innocent, then why wasn’t he hired the moment his lifetime ban was overturned? He might have been vulgar, self-centered, autocratic and overbearing, but he won two World Championships, and it’s hard to argue with that kind of success. Unless you have a reason to.

          1. he won more than 2!

            4 drivers and 3 constructors.

          2. I’m having such a hard time believing the ever planning mastermind Alonso knew nothing about this plan… Just doesnt fit…

    5. Well if he says he’s innocent… then i believe him.

      1. thats why I believe Horner and Red Bull

        1. That’s why I believe Charles Manson.

      2. *sarcasm detector explodes*

        1. Does this means i have to pay for a new one?

      3. @aimalkhan Did he say he was innocent, or did he say there was no proof? They’re not the same thing…

        1. In the next sentence he says… “If what people claimed about Singapore was true, then why did I fire Piquet in the middle of the next season? ” To me that is more or less saying he is innocent of any wrongdoing.

    6. My reaction to that quote form Briatore was just a big, loud laugh.

    7. If I was playing devils advocate, if it wasn’t Flav who organised, then who? Its not like Nelson Piquet Jnr felt like helping his team mate out, on his lonesome here.

      1. Pat Symonds claimed it was Piquet who suggested the idea, hopeful of a contract for the next season in return.

        1. That would be just pathetic!

          1. Well, he was quite pathetic…

            1. Hmmm…so NPjr supposedly suggests the idea hoping for a contract for the next season according to Pat Symonds, but if that’s the case it still doesn’t excuse the other players for going along with it, unless of course NPjr literally had a gun to their heads. If it was NPjr’s idea, PS should have had him fired on the spot, or at least reprimanded him for suggesting such an immoral act, making it clear to him that that was no way to win and in fact if those are the kinds of thoughts he has perhaps he is not worthy to be on their team. Also, let’s say NPjr gets re-signed by doing this act to be subservient to FA and help him get a win…what’s the new contract going to say other than ‘you will continue to be subservient to FA’ so what would be the point for NPjr?

              More likely, if it was NPjr’s idea, he must have thought there was a level of immorality on the team such that they would go for the idea. In fact, the act was followed through on no matter who instigated it. I think it far more likely that NPjr was threatened that he would not be re-signed if he did not commit this act. That is far more believable than that NPjr thought of it and the team just followed his lead like sheep.

    8. I’m not sure if the message is getting through to Kubica, but maybe, just maybe, rally isn’t the best option for him. I’m sure he could get into DTM or another road circuit series :)

      1. In fairness its not as if he’s been slow in rallying, he had won all but 1 stage before his crash & the crash didn’t end his rally, He came back to finish 6th.

        On the coverage they also mentioned that he hadn’t been able to fully sort his pace notes because there had been heavy fog in the pre-event recce. Other drivers had past experience of this event & had pace notes from last year to go by, Robert was starting totally from scratch.

        I also get the feeling that if he could be in a circuit racing series like DTM right now he would be.

        1. And the guys Kubica is competing against – and beating, until he crashes – are no slouches, either. Jan Kopecký was one of the most successful drivers in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (now the European Rally Championship). Craig Breen won the 2011 WRC Academy championship, and is the reigning Super 2000 World Rally Champion. Bryan Bouffier won the 2011 Rallye Monte Carlo (when it was an IRC event), and dominated the WRC-3 class in Portugal two weeks ago.

          Likewise the drivers in the WRC-2 championship – Esapekka Lappi, Sepp Wiegand, Yuriy Protasov, Elfyn Evans, Yazeed al-Rajhi, Robert Barrable and Abdulaziz al-Kuwari have all been highly successful in regional championships, and are very competitive in the WRC-2.

        2. Pretty sure his point was that he crashes a lot…

    9. “There was no proof that I was involved…

      Guess the opposite could be said as well – There was no proof that I was not involved…

      Which all this proves is nothing?

      Nothing, but Briatore still craves the publicity.

      1. @bullmello

        There was no proof that I was not involved…

        That doesn’t make sense, if I were to accuse you of murder, you wouldn’t be the one who’d have to prove yourself innocent. I would have to back up my claim on to why I believe you are guilty, not the other way around.

        That being said, I’m glad Briatore is out of the sport. Inspite of the fact that he’s probably a better team manager than Domenicali, the man has no morals.

        1. In a court of law I would be in complete agreement. But, this is the court of public opinion and Briatore is very clever fellow. Just because he says there is no proof doesn’t mean he had absolutely nothing to do with it. Truth is we will probably never know the complete story and at this point I guess there are more important things to deal with. As entertaining as he could be sometimes, I’m also glad he is out of F1. I agree his team manager skills were better than some and you’re right about his lack of morals too.

          1. Fact is, he is even screwing fact when he mentions that he won in court because of a lack of evidence.

            There was no proof that I was involved in Singapore. Which is the reason I won in court.

            The reason he won in court was that team principals at the time were not really under the FIA jurisdiction so a punishment from the FIA handed to them was not really able to hold.

    10. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      28th April 2013, 4:54

      Re: COTD: @Hwkii

      “Here in the States an NBA coach was fined by the league because he chose to rest his star players in a game that the league considered important for viewership numbers. In one overt wave of the hand the NBA effectively announced that entertainment value is more important than sporting integrity. It’s disgusting, and F1 is traveling down exactly the same path.”

      David Stern was perfectly right to fine the Spurs organisation, because the game was an early regular season game and they were on the first game of a back to back road trip.

      Coach Popovic had no reason to rest Duncan, Parker and Ginobli, because it was so early in the season. They didn’t need the rest, as they still had fresh legs.

      And you’ll notice that Miami wasn’t fined for resting Lebron, Dwade, and Bosh, because it was late in the season (i.e. Less than 10 games until the playoffs), and they did it the right way, by warning the league with 48 hours notice, and an injury report. The Spurs did not do this, they just showed up without Parker, Duncan and Ginobli, without any notice to the league.

      David Stern was well within his rights to fine them.

      1. @topher cheese21 I understand it to a very slim extent. However, the size of the fine, and the situation around it sound more like spilt milk for the NBA and wanting to collect back on failed “entertainment”. If that game is so important, why the heck would you schedule it as the 4th game in 5 nights for the road team and the 2nd back to back in 5 days when the home team got 4 days off before? I mean clearly the NBA planned such a game to be a major event way before it went down. Also are you trying to imply through the words of Stern that the Spurs were perpetuating some sort of conspiracy to hurt the NBA? Not the off chance that maybe Greg in his age and wisdom, forgot about the rule and was more worried about his team as a coach? Just curious…

        1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          28th April 2013, 12:20

          I see you point, and the organizers of the NBA schedule could have done a better job for that week, but at the same time, the Spurs did themselves no favours by not alerting the league that their 3 best players wouldn’t even be traveling to Miami, let alone not playing.

          They went about it the wrong way, and in my opinion, that’s why they were fined.

          However, I do think that the fine was a little too hefty, which perhaps in fact was to make up for lost entertainment, as you say.

          1. The ‘lost entertainment’ argument that may have been made is weak at best. What is the value of having a team owner/manager etc. if they cannot select what is best for their team in a sporting environment. Regardless of entertainment value, it should always be up to the manager of the team concerned to choose who he sees fit. This kind of thing may seem trivial at the moment, but as COTD suggests, it’s a slippery slope and I wouldn’t be surprised if one day in the distant future sport for sporting sake becomes obsolete and it becomes 100% about “entertainment” (which is subjective and nonsense!).

            1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
              29th April 2013, 6:19

              They are allowed to select what’s in the best interests of the team, however, that’s not why they were punished by the league.

              They were punished because they did not give proper notice to the league office about their big 3 not even getting on the plane to Miami.

              I feel the fine was so hefty because:
              1) it was their 3 best players + Danny Green
              2) It was a nationally televised game

      2. David Stern was well within his rights to fine them.

        No way, Popovich should be able to do what he wants with his team and considering Spurs’ “B” team nearly beat Miami, it’s not as if the fans lost out.

        Whilst it is important that the fans are entertained in any sport, sporting integrity should not be completely sacrificed, it can’t always be about the fans. In Formula One’s case, if they want to improve the show then fine, but don’t cheapen overtaking by allowing drivers to easily pass their rivals halfway down back-straights.

        1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          29th April 2013, 1:29

          No way, Popovich should be able to do what he wants with his team

          I agree, he should be able to do what he wants with the best interests of the team in mind, however my point is that he got fined because they didn’t notify the league with proper protocol.

          They just didnt show up. THAT is why they were fined.

          If they had notified the league, and provided an injury report, and still gotten fined? Then i’d disagree with that strongly, but because they didn’t use the proper protocol then they were setting themselves up.

    11. Another slow news day for F1. I hate these three-week breaks between races.

      With regard to Kubica, is he just trying too hard? How many times has it occurred now for him to be quickest initially, only to crash out later? In terms of the now-popular percentages talk, is he always driving at 95% with other rally drivers at 90%? Maybe if Robert had raced F1 in the Pirelli era he would have found it easier to adapt to rallying…

    12. Regarding CotD;

      I bet WWE’s Wrestlmania got higher viewership than the US Grand Prix last year [in the USA];

      No it did not. Though Wrestlemania 29’s buyrate figures are not out yet, it generally is around 1 million. Wrestlemania 28 received 1.2 million buys, though it was much better than this years ‘mania. Though that doesn’t include the fact that many wrestling fans such as myself will stream the pay-per-view.

      Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure that more than 1 million American’s watched the US Grand Prix last year.

      1. Now don’t get sloppy. Where are the figures for the Grand Prix?

      2. Lol @kingshark: I think F1 is very similar to WWE. It could also even be scripted. Lol. We have Bernie, they have Vince McMahon. We have Vettel, they have John Cena. We have Kimi, they have Rock. And guess who’s our Undertaker? Kimi Raikkonen. He has a 21-0 streak too for finishing in the points. :D

    13. I am seriously worried about Kubica.

      The man seems to be on a mission and not on a bright one. He basically crashes week. in week out. Of course, he usually manages to lead the respective rally until he crashes out, likely because he goes absolutely flat out from hour zero, but he still crashes everytime.

      I can’t help but fear he could easily have a huge shunt again – and this time he might not be as lucky as he was last time out.

      I would be terribly sorry for him, I think he will remain known as the greatest unfulfilled talent of the 2010-2020s.

      1. “He crashes everytime”?!
        What about Fafe Rally Sprint and Rally of Portugal 2 weeks ago? He’s just making his rookie mistakes, once in a while, just like everyone else do in the beginning of their rallying career.

      2. the greatest unfulfilled talent of the 2010-2020s

        Talent? The guy’s got speed but seriously lacking in talent. Kubica should really seek an alternative profession. Preferably without an engine before someone else gets really hurt (he has already been hurt.)

        1. I dont think that anyone who got to F1 without paying for his seat and won a race is lacking in talent…

          1. Well he’s got more talent in his little toe than I could ever hope to have, that’s for sure. But it’s all relative.

            He’s a seriously quick driver who does not seem to understand his own limits. Or appreciate when he’s exceeded them. Along with speed, these are crucial ingredients for a top driver.

            He has the speed but…?

            1. He wasn’t the crashing type in F1 even in his early days when he was less expierienced. I just think whats causing him to crash from time to ime in rallying is the lack of expierience in lower class rallying.

    14. You cant compare viewing figures for races that aren’t live on the bbc. As it doesn’t include people who are unprepared to pay the sky subscription but still use alternative mediums to watch the race in full.

      1. but you can compare when they were not live on the bbc either in 2012 nor in 2013 Crowspite, as there is no difference

        1. Yes but the change in viewing figures for the bbc is a less statistically significant figure just under 2% as opposed to 3.5% on the combined figures

    15. Regarding Jim Clark, am I alone in thinking this kind of driving would be impossible in this era of marginal everything? Marginal fuel, tires, gearbox, etc. Skills such as blipping the throttle on gear changes, using the throttle to steer, and even dancing the cars through the corners are now surely lost for ever. Now its “save fuel”,…… “drive to delta”,……”dont lock the brakes”, look after the tires….etc. Drivers like Schuey, Montoya, and Lewis were truly a joy to watch then.
      I really yearn for the Bridgestone days…..and I’m not talking about the tires. Sigh.

      1. Well I think you’re completely wrong in that in every regard except from the tyres: the Lotuses were highly unreliable cars and had far more failures than the cars do nowadays, so Clark had to have a great deal of mechanical sympathy to bring the highly strung machines to the end.

        Nowadays, the cars are pretty much bulletproof and I think the only thing they truly have to manage to any great extent is the tyres.

        1. max is right.

          People that say old F1 was flat hour for a hour and a half have clearly forgotten what happened in those races. The turbo era had alot of fuel saving and will again.

    16. Kubica crashed! Really!?! No, surely not. That’s not like him at all. :P

    17. No fair @keithcollantine.
      How come Muz gets a double birthday shout-out? Is he your favourite?…I thought I was your favourite. :'( :P

    18. If Briatore knew nothing about something that big, then he really isn’t fit to run a team.

    19. Uh oh, opening the can of rotten worms make Flavio even more guilty as charged “morally”.
      Flavio must be itching like crazy to get back to F1 I bet, that’s why the claim of his innocence.
      From postings since the gate crashed began I don’t recall reading anyone who’s in favour of him.

      Must be the 3 week break for news like this.

    20. Sorry Flav, no-one believes you. Court case or not. Anyway, even if you didn’t know anything about crashgate all that shows is that you were incapable of keeping control of the team and were rightly sacked. Ignorance is not an excuse, as team principal its your responsibility to have an all seeing eye where the team is concerned. So, you’re either a cheat or incompetent. Clearly you prefere the latter.

    21. Flavio Briatore = Lance Armstrong

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