Briatore calls it quits
PARIS: Team chief Flavio Briatore yesterday sensationally quit the Renault Formula One team, which have been hit by serious allegations of cheating at last year’s Grand Prix in Singapore, the team announced in a statement.
Renault said in a short statement that Briatore and Pat Symonds, the director of engineering, had both left the team ahead of a meeting on Monday with the sport’s world ruling body the FIA to explain recent allegations of race-fixing.
The statement said: “The team announces that their team chief, Flavio Briatore, and their director of engineering Pat Symonds have quit the team.”
Renault have been summoned to appear before the FIA’s International Motor Sport Council in Paris on Sept 21 to answer claims by Nelson Piquet junior that he was asked by Renault to crash deliberately during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, so giving a race-winning advantage to his team-mate Spaniard Fernando Alonso.
Time to go:Renault's F1 team chief Flavio Briatore sensationally quit the team yesterday, ahead of a meeting on Monday with the FIA over cheating claims at last year's Singapore Grand Prix.-AFP
If Renault are found guilty of race-fixing, they could be expelled from the sport for the role they played in an affair which has been dubbed ‘crashgate’.
The team had denied all of the claims made against them by Piquet junior, who was dismissed by the team in July after being told he had failed to perform to expectations.
But yesterday Renault appeared to partly admit some role in the controversy by adding in the statement they “would not contest the FIA’s recent allegations concerning the Singapore Grand Prix“.
The statement added: “Before participating at the FIA’s International Motor Sport Council hearing in Paris on September 21, the team will make no further commment.”
A report by The Times on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources, claimed the FIA had offered Renault second-in-command immunity from punishment in exchange for full disclosure about crashgate.
The report said that Symonds was told that if he came clean over how and why Nelson Piquet junior drove his car into the barriers in Singapore in 2008, he would escape sanctions.
Former driver Piquet and his father, three-time world champion Nelson Piquet senior, claimed that Renault conspired to fix the outcome of last year’s race.
At the Grand Prix on Sept 28, 2008 Alonso began the race in 15th position. But after making a very early pit stop to refuel, Nelsin Piquet Jr. crashed into a wall, prompting the safety car out.
As Alonso’s rivals then gradually disappeared into the pits to refuel, the Spaniard catapulted himself up into the virtual lead to go on and win his first race in a year.
In response to the allegations Renault accused Piquet of blackmail and announced they were launching criminal proceedings against him and his father.
Briatore denied all the accusations against him — notably conspiring with team management and Piquet to cause a deliberate accident — saying they were “outrageous lies“.
Stewards investigating the claims interviewed Symonds at the Belgian Grand Prix late last month. — AFP
1) 2 years after McLaren found guilty over "spygate" scandal and subsequently fined USD100 million by FIA. Now it's Renault turn to face FIA over allegation on "crashgate" scandal.
2) The consequent it may face would be even catastrophic, the possible expulsion from F1 and other motorspot programs altogether which currently participated by Renault.
3) However, the way that FIA conducting the investigation also not in-line with fair treatment by giving partial treatment to certain people who involved in that case. FIA had even offered Pat Symonds and Nelson Piquet Jnr an imminuty from punishment in exchange with full disclosure about crashgate.
4) For me those involved in that crashgate should be punished regardless who there are and what their role it is, it seems Flavio Briatore and Renault become scapegoat in this affairs. While Nelson Piquet Jnr and Pat Symonds on the other hand would not face the punishment despite also involved in that affairs, to me it seems illogical and unfair.
5) Clearly, FIA has chosen a Machiavellian approach in searching the truth.
4) Nelson Piquet Jnr has been given 1 and half years to prove his worth to Renault, but he failed to deliver thus far which had prompted Renault to replaced him with Romain Grosjean.
5) Romain Grosjean on the other hand had managed to show his potential as good driver with Renault within a short span, thus had shown the level of competency of Nelson Piquet Jnr.
6) Apparently, Nelson Piquet Jnr by far beyond his father caliber who used to be 3 times F1 champions.