Alonso follows Piquet during qualifying for the 2008 Singapore GP
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission
Renault face an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris later this month to answer charges of potential race-fixing.
The allegation surrounds last season’s Singapore Formula One Grand Prix when Fernando Alonso won the race, aided by a crash from then team-mate Nelson Piquet Jnr.
If found guilty, the team face severe sanctions which could result in them being excluded from the current world championship.
“The team representatives have been called to answer charges, including a breach of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code, that the team conspired with its driver, Nelson Piquet Jr, to cause a deliberate crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix with the aim of causing the deployment of the safety car to the advantage of its other driver, Fernando Alonso…”
Intriguingly, Renault had opted to fuel Alonso short for his first stint, a bizarre tactic when starting so far down and on a typical street track where it is notoriously difficult to pass…
At the time suspicions were roused, in particular by Felipe Massa who is understood to have confronted Renault team principal Flavio Briatore, accusing him of engineering the crash…
Only recently Piquet was sacked by the team, with the suggestion it is the 24-year-old, or his father and manager Nelson Piquet snr, who has since blown the whistle, prompting an investigation, and now subsequent hearing.
The politics of F1, the FIA and international motorsports grow more Byzantine – not less – every year.
Most years, when something this absurd happens – it’s a spur of the moment act of rash passion – often involving drivers who are neck and neck for the title. This piece of crap – if true – is truly nefarious.
UPDATED: Keeping French lawyers employed may not be especially useful; but, Renault is suing Nelson Piquet, Jr and his dad.
Here’s the important UPDATE: Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds have stepped down from their posts after Renault decided not to dispute allegations that the team ordered former driver Nelson Piquet Junior to crash deliberately at last year’s Singapore grand prix.