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Briatore bows out in unsavoury style

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Andrew Benson | 14:07 UK time, Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Flavio Briatore's departure from his position as the boss of the Renault team in the wake of the Singapore race-fixing scandal robs Formula 1 of one of its most flamboyant and controversial characters.

The 59-year-old Italian, who has cultivated an image as a jet-setting playboy businessman, left his position as team principal after Renault decided not to contest charges that they had asked their driver Nelson Piquet Jr to deliberately crash in last year's Singapore Grand Prix to aid team-mate Fernando Alonso's chances of winning the race.

The allegation has rocked F1 to the core, the latest damaging episode for a sport that has recently suffered a number of cases that have brought its integrity into question.

There was the 'spy scandal' of 2007, when McLaren were found to illegally have possession of confidential technical information about the car of rivals Ferrari. McLaren were fined $100m (then £49m) and thrown out of the constructors' championship for that.

Shortly afterwards, Renault themselves escaped punishment after being found guilty of a similar charge.

Since then there has been 'lie-gate', when Lewis Hamilton, the world champion, was found to have misled stewards over his actions in this year's Australian Grand Prix, and numerous rows over rules and politics.

Earlier this year, F1 was in danger of being torn apart when a group of eight teams threatened to break away and set up a rival championship.

This one trumps the lot, though.

Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone at last weekend's Italian Grand PrixBriatore formed a close relationship with F1 impresario Bernie Ecclestone

Some people inside F1 have attempted to play it down, suggesting that teams are always looking for the 'unfair advantage' in their attempt to win, and that it should just be accepted as part of the sport.

But F1 has long been notorious for its skewed sense of morality, and it appears that may be what has led to this latest scandal. For that is exactly what it is.

The attempt to gain an unfair advantage is only one aspect of what is so wrong about what appears to have happened in Singapore last September.

In essence, what we are talking about here - if they are found guilty at Monday's hearing of the FIA's world motorsport council - is a team that was prepared to put at risk their driver's safety - and that of his competitors, marshals and the spectators at the race - in an attempt to engineer a better result for another driver.

It smacks of desperation, which is odd because Alonso, at least, was competitive in Singapore that weekend. Renault had been having a dreadful year, but changes to their car had made it a front-runner by that late stage of the season, and he was down in 15th on the grid only because of a mechanical problem in qualifying. He went on to win the following race in Japan with a quite brilliant drive.

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Whatever sparked the decision for Piquet to crash on purpose in order to engineer a safety car period that would benefit Alonso - and who knows whether the truth will ever come out - two of F1's most prominent and brilliant figures have lost their jobs over it. Engineer and strategist Pat Symonds has also been forced out of Renault along with Briatore.

As it happens, Briatore's downfall may not be entirely unconnected with the political battles that have scarred much of this season. Certainly most people within F1 believe the one has come out of the other.

The Formula 1 Teams' Association (Fota) ultimately won its battle with Max Mosley, president of governing body the FIA, over the future direction of F1. But Mosley, forced to agree that he would not run again for president in October's elections in order to get Fota back on board, has never been one to take defeat lightly.

There are plenty of people in F1 who believe he has taken his opportunity to exact revenge for his defeat. After all, Briatore was one of the hawks in that battle - to the point that Mosley was moved to describe him as a "loony".

Briatore's business career first took off when he established Benetton in North America in the 1980s - a move which made him a very rich man. His first involvement in F1 came in 1988, when he was employed to run the commercial side of the company's racing team, quickly being promoted to team boss.

It was there that he first met Symonds.

Along with the brilliant technical director Ross Brawn, the designer Rory Byrne and the hard-nosed manager Tom Walkinshaw, Briatore set about turning the team into a major contender for wins and championships.

Briatore's genius as a team boss was his ability to realise his limitations - he understood nothing of the technical or strategic side of F1 and didn't want to - and instead focus on the commercial side of the sport.

In that sense, his presence in the sport for the last 20 years has been a valuable one. He constantly reminded his fellow team owners that F1's success - and their bank accounts - depended on the fans, not on obscure engineering excellence.

"Every meeting I go to," he would say, "people are talking about pistons and suspension. Nobody goes to a race to see that kind of thing. People come to see [Michael] Schumacher and [Ayrton] Senna racing each other."

Ironically, Mosley himself would use similar sentiments when railing against what he perceived as the short-sightedness of the teams this year.

In other ways, though, many will take a more equivocal view of Briatore's involvement in F1.

His ruthlessness was in evidence when he stole Schumacher from under Eddie Jordan's nose in 1991 and parachuted the German into one of Benetton's cars.

And the mystery surrounding his origins was heightened when a bomb went off outside his London home in 1993, something which has never been satisfactorily explained.

With Schumacher at the wheel, Benetton finally achieved their first world title in 1994, but it was a triumph overshadowed by a year of quite extraordinary controversy.

Benetton were accused of running illegal traction control, but got away with it. The FIA found the device in the Benetton cars but could not prove it had been used in races.

There were also rows over the team's official fuel rig, which had been tampered with - Walkinshaw lost his job as a result - while Schumacher was excluded from a total of four races for various transgressions by either him or the team.

After winning another world title in 1995, Schumacher left, taking Brawn and Byrne with him to Ferrari, after which Benetton entered a slow cycle of decline. Briatore was eventually replaced as boss by David Richards.

By this time, Briatore's keen eye for F1's commercial value, allied to his maverick approach, had led to a close friendship with the sport's tsar, Bernie Ecclestone. They both have a stake in Queen's Park Rangers, a club in the English Football League.

Briatore took something of a back seat for a while, running Renault's customer engine supply business for a couple of years. But a string of high-profile liaisons with supermodels, among them Naomi Campbell and Heidi Klum, kept him in the public eye and enhanced his glamorous image. He has also established his own 'Billionaire' clothing brand and set up a nightclub in Sardinia, a restaurant in London, a beach club in Tuscany and a holiday resort in Kenya.

Flavio Briatore and Naomi Campbell

Then, when Renault bought the Benetton team in 2000, the French automotive giant re-installed him as boss and he began turning the team around again.

Just as he had done the first time, he built it around an outstanding young driver, Alonso, who had impressed Briatore with his performances in the Formula 3000 feeder series.

The Spaniard became the youngest race-winner in F1 history in 2003 - a status he lost to the German Sebastian Vettel last year - and, by 2005, was in a position to challenge for the world title. Alonso and Renault delivered in style, clinching it with two races still to go.

They followed that up with an even more impressive victory in 2006, keeping their nerve and beating Schumacher and Ferrari in a straight fight.

Alonso then left for an ill-fated year at McLaren before returning after falling out with McLaren chief Ron Dennis. But not even Alonso's return could arrest Renault's decline.

All year there has been speculation - fuelled by Mosley, who is uncomfortable about the power wielded by the manufacturers - that Renault would quit F1 at the end of this season as a result of their lack of success and declining road-car sales.

Briatore has always shrugged those allegations off, but this latest development can surely only increase the chances of Renault not being on the grid next season. On the other hand, Renault's decision to jettison Briatore and Symonds could be seen as a signal that they wish to carry on.

By the end of the year, it may not be just Briatore and Symonds who have left F1 in the wake of this latest unsavoury turn of events.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

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  • Comment number 2.

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  • Comment number 3.

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  • Comment number 4.

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  • Comment number 5.

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  • Comment number 6.

    I don't think it matters that Renault have ditched Symonds and Briatore, the FIA still need to come down on them like a ton of carbon fibre shards. Where this differs from "Spygate" and the Hamilton incident in Melbourne this year, is that, as Andrew says, the safety of spectators, marshals (who give their time free to risk their lives for the safety of all involved) and all the drivers was at stake. It would amaze drivers of 30 years ago to hear of drivers crashing on purpose, given the extraordinary risks involved back then, and that Renault took everyone's safety so horrifically for granted is absolutely disgusting.

    They should be at least thrown out of this year's championships (without being allowed to compete in the last rounds), and stripped of the Singapore victory, whether Alonso was complicit or not (and I suspect he was not). The FIA need to show that safety is not something to be taken so lightly.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    Don't argue with me: You slag off Rooney and slate F1 yet I you are commenting on a F1 story and I bet you have read the Rooney story already! lol

  • Comment number 9.

    This must surely mean that Alonso is a definite for Ferrari and makes yesterdays news re the sold BMW team as the 14th and first reserve team in the event of a withdrawal even more intriguing.

    Renault's main sponsors ING bank have had their difficulties as well.

    Anyone want to wager that Renault will announce a pull out of F1 during or after next weeks meeting? This would allow the Corporates to disassociate themselves from Briatore and the curent team management.

  • Comment number 10.

    If Alonso is stripped off the Singapore victory, it would promote Nico Rosberg to 1st place and therefore his first Formula 1 victory. I'm pretty sure Nico would want to win a race like that, and therefore I think stripping Renault of the victory wouldn't be an effective punishment.

    It's sort of like when Fisichella was retrospectively awarded the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2003 or so - It takes away the magic, as he didn't get to be on the top step of the podium.

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm not watching this nonsense anymore - 30 years fan, over and out.

  • Comment number 12.

    My above post was meant to say "would not want".

    The most logical punishment would be to throw the team out of both the 2008 and 2009 championships, also handing them a suspension for a number of races. A large fine (and repayment of any prize money) would also be given.

    The problem now is that other teams could quite logically look to sue Renault for all kinds of random fees, for example teams that lost constructors money as a result of Renault's extra ten points. Williams could sue them also for depriving Rosberg of a first victory, and thus the exposure that would have brought the team.

    Ultimately, with all of this, I fail to see a way for Renault to continue in F1. It seems likely that BMW Sauber will be taking their place in 2010.

  • Comment number 13.

    The FIA new Briatore And Pat would stand down. They're going to ban Renault from F1. That is why they're have accepted Lotus for 2010 in place of Renault.

  • Comment number 14.

    The drivers have it and the teams have it, to the core, the "must-win at any-cost" attitude.
    It doesn't surprise me in fact I have to say that this is what makes F1 so exciting. The glitz, glamour, subterfuge and skullduggery which always seems to lurk below the surface of the teams and the drivers like Hamilton who are on the ragged-edge race after race.
    That's not an excuse though. As this piece points out there were serious implications for not only the driver's safety but the marshalls and the public too.
    The FIA need to come down on Renault hard. As much as the main protaganists may have gone it's a team sport so the team must pay the price.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    I don't know much about Briatore since I seriously started to follow F1 2 years ago. But when Nelsinho was sacked, he said that Briatore was his 'executioner'. It must've summed up his personality in Renault, and that he has ended up killing himself in F1 for being so opportunistic and despicable.

  • Comment number 17.

    @10, Esteffect

    I cannot see how Alonso can be stripped of his Singapore win: he crossed the line first, by obeying the rules and regulations.

    As to the comparison with Fisichella's win, that arose because the Brazilian organisers didn't understand the rules they were supposed to administer.

    A better comparison would have been with Barrichello's pulling over to let Michael Schumacher win - i.e. the TEAM deciding to favour one driver at the expense of the other.

    --

    Given his utter lack of talent (at F1 level), I am surprised that Briatore trusted Piquet to manage to crash at the right time and place.

  • Comment number 18.

    We all know that F1 is a dangerous sport, it could be argued that the drivers, marshalls and anyone else who is around the track are risking their lives every race. I believe that they choose to do so on the understanding that the risks are minimised as far as possible but there are no guarantees. Asking a driver to crash on purpose creates unnecessary and uncontrollable risk. For anyone involved to think that this is acceptable is incredible in the truest sense of the word.
    Whatever happens next, F1 is the loser.

  • Comment number 19.

    Shocking. Had to try and explain to my son and three year old F1 fan what cheating is. Personally I will miss Flavio's personality and showmanship. And if Renault go - we will miss them even more.

  • Comment number 20.

    We dont need this kind of behaviour in F1. Sure it says on the ticket "Motor racing is Dangerous" but for heavens sake It certsainly doesnt say Racing teams will put your life in danger deliberately.

    Make no mistake that is what the culprits at Renault have done and that is why they should be banned from all forms of motorsport for life. Anything less is an insult to the racing fans upon whom F1 depends for its survival.

  • Comment number 21.

    If Alonso is stripped of the win and the victory given to Rosberg, all the other points will need to be re-allocated. Would that affect the 2008 title battle between Hamilton and Massa?

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    Rosberg wouldn't have been second without Pique's crash so he acctually did Williams & Nico a favour

  • Comment number 24.

    In reply to my own question (see 21) the answer is NO! Hamilton would be promoted from 3rd to 2nd, so would get an extra 2 points, but Massa would still be only 12th

  • Comment number 25.

    Given the penalty imposed on McLaren the penalty on Renault needs to be so much greater. They actively cheated in a race and risked injury to a driver and potentially others.

    If Piquet was found to have deliberately crashed on his own initiative he would have been punished (as was Schumacher). But this was done on team instructions! Briatore, Symmonds and Piquet should never be allowed into FIA motorsport again and Renault should have a massive fine.

  • Comment number 26.

    I beleive the resignations of Briatore and Symonds should be an end to the matter.
    The difference with the McLaren SpyGate affair is tha tno one accepted responsibility. No one stood up and said "yes we were to blame". In essence, this is what Briatore and Symonds have done. Why shoudl the team and its employees suffer for the lack of judgement of two individuals?

  • Comment number 27.

    I can believe this of Briatore but that Pat Symonds should be so involved surprises me. I always had him the the group of people in F1 with sporting integrity along with the likes of Adrian Newey and Patrick Head

  • Comment number 28.

    If Renault are guilty, then it doesn't matter who has been sacked, the company is responsible for the action of its [then] employees. Guilty means sanctions and if F1 back away from sanctions because two people were fired, then F1 don't deserve any supporters. If Renault are held guilty and not fined of thrown out, then F1 needs to repay the fines taken from McLaren in 2007 over a far lesser offence. The fact that Renault appear to have put the life of a driver at risk, plus the lives of other drivers, marshalls and spectators for the sake of 10 points is disgusting and they deserve, if proven, to be removed from F1 for the safety of everyone in the sport.

  • Comment number 29.

    From Flavio Briatore's own website on the Singapore GP victory last year...


    "This is an amazing victory for Renault and for Fernando. Since Friday we knew that the car was very competitive and we were very disappointed at the end of qualifying. Today the car was extremely quick, stronger than the Ferrari and McLaren, and although we had some luck when the safety car came out, we deserved this victory. It’s a very important result for Renault after two difficult seasons and helps us prepare for 2009 in the best way possible."

    So they were in trouble when this happened and it got them out of it...

  • Comment number 30.

    Anyone else think that Renault might be expelled from F1 and, surprise surprise, a space opens up for BMW Sauber (or whatever they will be called) in next year's championship - just a day after the FIA was heaping praise upon the professionalism of the Swiss team.

    Surely the FIA should appreciate, if not condone, Renault's professional foul..?

  • Comment number 31.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 32.

    @ 11; "I'm not watching this nonsense anymore - 30 years fan, over and out."...yet another sadly pessimistic comment from a supposed "fan". And others too, and yes indeed, this is a downer of an episode that has cropped up. It always seems to be centred around Ferrari, McLaren and Renault - these three teams are constantly cooking up the scandals these days.

    To me, the exit of Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds confirms that, as much as I don't want it to be true, they DID indeed ask Piquet to crash. I am shocked at the fact Symonds was part of this decision, as he is a very talented man, to whom I have always given huge respect.

    As for Briatore, well, I'm just not surprised. He comes out with all sorts of shocking comments over the years, and I wouldn't put asking his own driver to crash past him.

    What is a massive shame is that Briatore was one of the key motivators behind the ridiculous breakaway series, for want of "good racing"...It is a cruel irony that the man himself could have damaged the sport's reputation yet more.

    But for goodness sake, going back to my first point regarding comment 11 and such like - hasn't this sort of riff-raff become the norm in sport as a whole?? It isn't the end of the world guys! Chin up!


  • Comment number 33.

    I don't know why so many people are being so generous with Nelsinho.

    Briatore and/or Symonds might have told him to crash, but he has a brain in his head.

    The old "I was only following orders" ploy is never an acceptable defence.

    The Brazilian clearly cared more about his F1 career [at Renault] than about the safety of other drivers, marshals and spectators.

    The Singaporean authorities should be considering legal action in light of what PIQUET did, whatever his motives!

  • Comment number 34.

    The average episode of Wacky Races is more plausible than F1 at the moment.

  • Comment number 35.

    You may not like Moseley, and I don't, but you have to admire what he has acheived this year.
    A more affordable F1
    Four new teams in F1
    A weakening of the car manufacturers influence on F1.
    My personal belief is that Moseley is exactly what he has been accused of being but he is wiley enough to avoid anyone being able to prove it.
    A very clever and a very shrewd man.
    He may have been forced out of the top FIA job for the future but anyone who thinks he lost the fight with FOTA needs to think again.
    This affair with Renault is a bonus that he might not have expected in his battle to loosten the grip of the car manufacturers but he doesn't miss an opportunity or run from a fight.
    I look forward to the FIA Verdict and its outcome early next week.

  • Comment number 36.

    F1 is off my TV for me this year and maybe even next year too. I am totally sick and dismayed with the lying and fixing and whilst Briatore may be a super-celeb with a beautiful wife, it's clear that he's just taking us (the public) as idiots.
    I normally visit the Monaco and Barcelona races every year, but with all the fixing in the sport, it's time I took my money elsewhere until they clean up their act. And as for Briatore, look at the mess he's created at QPR as well.

  • Comment number 37.

    i find this whole saga shocking tbh theres been so much money invested into safety over the years that teams like renault can now try and make someone crash on purpose, what if Piquet were too have died how would have flavio have felt then?? tbh its nearly attempted murder but it also shows the pressure piquet must have been under if they asked him just to do that just for alonso

    i dont believe alonso is totally innocent in this as someone said earlier he came in 2 laps earlier with the perfect amount of fuel on board which i dont find a coincedience, i feel the only justifable ban would be to ban renault from this years racing or chuck them out completely for BMW if renault want to continue

  • Comment number 38.

    The problem is you have to have to be driven by such a desire and belief to win in order to win that the boundaries between right and wrong get blurred. These guys have such a mentallity that they will throw their toys out the pram on occasions - thats life - a punishment comes and then we move on.

  • Comment number 39.

    This is a real shame. Reading the full radio transcript, I can guess that this idea must have been surfaced before the race, but surely couldn't be a plan by Briatore/Pat. This decision from Renault looks to be influenced heavily by circumstances and what you can/cannot prove rather than what is true or lie.

    F1 is losing its key personnel recently and it surely isn't good for the sport. One thing for sure, This also cements that there is no future for Piquet(s) in F1 anymore.

  • Comment number 40.

    Fae Farfar -

    So your summary of this is as follows;

    1) Lewis Hamilton should be banned for life from all forms of motorsport.
    2) Max Moseley is his fathers son.
    3) The FIA should be able to take a joke.

    Should you have any fresh insight on this matter, please do share - it's brightened my afternoon no end.

  • Comment number 41.

    And on Nelson P,

    1) He tainted the last year championship
    2) He put a lot of people lives in danger
    3) He lied the whole of last year and half of this year as the crash was legit.
    4) And the moment he lost the job, he showcased his true colors

    All for what? Thats a very bad & Dangerous attitude and he isn't a quick driver anyway!

  • Comment number 42.

    Throwing Renault out is not the answer, especially if they are going to leave anyway.
    In this corrupt world of motorsport I would not be suprised if Renault had not 'induced' the two to leave in order to keep the Renault name squeaky clean.
    The penalty should be at least equal to the one dished out to MaClaren. If they are not hit hard in the pocket and then leave F1 anyway they will have basically avoided any penalty and kept a more or less untarnished image by virtue of having two fall guys.
    As for Alonso I can't really believe he had no knowledge of this. He's also proved his worth as a toe rag in the MaClaren saga, only speaking up when he could'nt have his own way as number 1 driver.

  • Comment number 43.

    Fernando Alonso is becoming accident prone. At Mclaren he blew the whistle on the Ferrari spying scandal and McLaren were lucky to avoid being thrown out of F1. He moves to Renault and now they are facing being thrown out too. It can't happen three times... can it?????

  • Comment number 44.

    Glad to see the back of Briatore.

  • Comment number 45.

    We don't have the full evidence in the public domain, but I very much doubt Piquet would have come out with something like this if it wasn't true. The telemetry from the race showed that Piquet was accelerating right up to impact, barring a brief lift (which was probably the instinct to slam the brakes on before he realised he had to keep spinning the rear wheels). That, to me, shows that the crash was intended. There must be some other evidence behind the scenes that shows guilt on the part of Briatore/Symonds.

    Whatever the outcome, is it right to punish Renault, if it was only Briatore, Symonds and Piquet complicit in this scam? Piquet will never race in F1 again, and Briatore and Symonds just ended their racing careers also. Is it right to punish the unknowing team mechanics, race engineers, and Fernando Alonso? It will be interesting to see how the FIA comes out of this one.

  • Comment number 46.

    Does this mean that Renault will be ceasing their legal action against the Piquet's?

    As for whether Briatore and Symonds' resignation saves Renault from punishment I guess will come down to if the FIA are satisfied that they are the only 2 personnel (Piquet aside) who had anything to do with it.

    Either way F1 has been anything but dull this year

  • Comment number 47.

    I find this incredibly difficult to believe. Piquet is saying his team asked him to risk his life in order to help Alonso win a race? And, Yes, deliberately crashing a formula one car is a risk to life, I don't care what anyone says.

    I think Piquet is just bitter because he didn't make the grade.

  • Comment number 48.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

    @ 11; "I'm not watching this nonsense anymore - 30 years fan, over and out."...yet another sadly pessimistic comment from a supposed "fan". And others too, and yes indeed, this is a downer of an episode that has cropped up. It always seems to be centred around Ferrari, McLaren and Renault - these three teams are constantly cooking up the scandals these days.

    To me, the exit of Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds confirms that, as much as I don't want it to be true, they DID indeed ask Piquet to crash. I am shocked at the fact Symonds was part of this decision, as he is a very talented man, to whom I have always given huge respect.

    As for Briatore, well, I'm just not surprised. He comes out with all sorts of shocking comments over the years, and I wouldn't put asking his own driver to crash past him.

    What is a massive shame is that Briatore was one of the key motivators behind the ridiculous breakaway series, for want of "good racing"...It is a cruel irony that the man himself could have damaged the sport's reputation yet more.

    But for goodness sake, going back to my first point regarding comment 11 and such like - hasn't this sort of riff-raff become the norm in sport as a whole?? It isn't the end of the world guys! Chin up!

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    What are you talking about?

    (yet another sadly pessimistic comment from a supposed "fan")

    You are blinkered, and naive, some people don't want the sport they watch to be constantly exposed with these acts of cheating.
    It takes away so much out of the sport.

    If you are happy to keep on watching regardless of whatever happens then good for you. (I also will be watching)
    But to dismiss that guys comments like your some big man and he is not is just ignorant beyond belief.

    For me F1 is on the verge of disaster, teams coming and going has always been the way of F1 and even through the Shuey years people were watching avidly, now the sport is becoming a joke and people are turning off.

    Chin up?
    Yeah only if like you, people want to sit back and accept any old rubbish....

    Your on your own there mate................






  • Comment number 50.

    Renaults pleas for clemency, now that the Flavio & Pat have left, should fall on deaf ears. The seriousness of this incident was demonstrated at brands hatch, so tragically, & hungary this year respectively.
    To deliberatly cause an accident on a street circuit is beyond comprehension in this sport. The FIA should impose the harshest punishments possible, beyond anything ever seen before. 'Crashgate' is an entirely different kettle of fish to 'spygate' & i echoe the views of other bloggers here in saying so.
    Renault should expect the expulsion of the team from F1 with immeadiate effect at the very least. Anything less and they have gotten off lightly.

  • Comment number 51.

    What's new here? Senna and Prost crashing into each other, Schumacher turning in on Jacques Villenueve and Damon too and Parking his car in the middle of the track at Monaco - wasn't that dangerous too?

    F1 is more like a soap opera but seems to have lost the thread. At least Flav was right that people want to see racing and that is more and more rare as cars and tracks don't allow overtaking.

  • Comment number 52.

    Effectively Briatore's resignation is an admission of guilt, of which I am very surprised. Can one really imagine a team, telling it's driver to crash to help the other one. This is the lowest ebb in F1 I can remember.

    This will drag on and possibly ruin this years championship with all sorts of gossip and press. Sad.


    Briatore should never come near a F1 car again if Piquet's allegations are true. And Renault can expect a heavy fine. I mean HEAVY! They might not race next year.

  • Comment number 53.

    The resignation of the two gentlemen accused of orchestrating the alleged "crash-on-purpose" should not be allowed to get in the way of a free and full investigation into the events at the race in question. Only in that way will we have confidence that all those who are responsible have been held to account. Otherwise, those who are innocent may face suspicion for years to come.

    Indeed, it is already beginning, with the question of what Alonso did or did not know about the conspiracy: I prefer to think that he knew nothing, but seeing some of the arguments above I realise that this may be wrong.

  • Comment number 54.


    As a previous post, I do think there is a sense of over reaction and quick finger pointing over this episode.
    If the real protagonists of this ludicrous plot are found guilty for their actions then so be it, they should pay for the crime as for Renault yes there has to be a punishment but in reality it may have to be accepted that this incident was limited to possibly 3 people and accepted as such.
    In regards to Piquet himself, words fail me! Here is a guy who has grown up in a racing enviroment with a triple WDC father and then he 'allegedly' dumps the car into the wall at high speed? I still find it hard to believe if you get to that level you do not dump a car into the wall...not for anyone, can you imagine Nigel Mansell carrying on like that, he would be telling Flav where to go and driving his socks off there after, Piquet has basically terminated his career in motor sport.

  • Comment number 55.

    McLaren caught with a Ferrari manual - $100M fine.

    Renault caught in similar circumstances last year and let off.

    Renault conspire for a driver to crash to deliver a win for their other driver... what are the chances it'll be a slight slap on the wrist and a 'don't do it again'?

    What we need to know now is whether Alonso knew or not. Piquet had no future in F1 anyway, but if Alonso knew the plan then he is just as culpable.

    Any punishment for Renault of less than exclusion from last year's championship and a fine of more than $100M would prove beyond all doubt that the FIA punishments are driven by personal vendetta above anything else.

  • Comment number 56.

    This one will be a real test for the FIA. McLaren we find an enormous sum of money for something which was really only perpetrated by one "rogue" employee and gained little or no real benefit from. Renault, on the other hand (if found guilty of course) have directly benefited from cheating and endagered the saftey of many.

    The problem they now face is that if they fine Renault, it ought to be a minimum of $100M and surely such a sum would cause Renault to quit F1 at the end of the season. Also they should face disqualification from this year's championship at the very least.

    So, what are the FIA likely to do? Meted out the requisite punishment or concoct something lesser that would ensure that Renault are racing next year? When teams pull out of F1 it is the back room staff that are hit the hardest, as very few of them will have large sums of money put by.

    The most worrying thing for me about the whole episode (again, if proven) was the blatant disregard for anyone's safety. If Massa had been closer to the accident, he may well have come out of that corner and collided with Piquet, not to mention the dangerous mixture of crowds and flying debris.

    In any normal walk of life, this could be seen as some kind of reckless endangerment that would almost certainly lead to a court case and possible imprisonment; so, if proven, those responsible should face the justice of the law courts, not only the FIA.

  • Comment number 57.

    Did Briatore or Symonds ask - or did either instruct - Piquet to crash? The distinction is important. I cannot imagine that the police and courts in Singapore would not be very interested in the implications. Given the potential for loss of life or serious injury surely a serious crime has been committed in their jurisdiction.

    Do we or any other EU country have an extradition treaty with Singapore?

  • Comment number 58.

    First of all, Alonso has the defence of 'plausible deniability'. He's intelligent, so he must of had a hunch of what was going on. But because nobody at Renault told him about it, he can deny having any part in this scandal.

    This move was probably done because Alonso was getting tired at Renault. They wanted to do 'anything' to prove they're competitive and keep him, and therefore they did do 'anything.

    I may not be Alonso's biggest fan; all he ever does is whine, and i'm glad Hamilton destroyed him a couple seasons ago. But he is not a cheater, and it is constantly the people around him that are bringing him to these stupid scandals.

    Briatore quickly plunged into the life of a playboy, and looks like he dragged Pat Symmonds with him. But nobody can deny what they've contributed to this sport. You deserve to hang your heads in shame, but nonetheless, thankyou for everything.

    On a final note, lol at all the fans who are saying "i've been watching this sport for 7000 years, and i'm never watching it again". hahaha, you guys make me laugh so much. THis has been one of the most low-key scandals in F1 for the past couple years, and you've been through decades of cheating, trickery, and Michael Schumacher. Now this little thing happen (when it would have happend in a MUCH more sly way a long time ago, ya know with teamworking and all that), and you all go in a puff. Sorry that you're not going to be watching the greatest motorsport in the world anymore. Goodbye.

  • Comment number 59.

    Re: #48 Carlonso.

    "attempted involuntary Manslaughter". I almost fell off my chair! That'll keep me chuckling most of the night.

    I am about to attempt to involuntarily drive home. Wish me luck.

  • Comment number 60.

    I'm puzzled:

    After the acrimonious split between Piquet & the team, specifically Briatore, surely it was always on the cards that a disgruntled driver was going to 'spill the beans' eventually?

    If it's is true that the crash was premeditated (and we're not 100% sure yet), I would've thought that sacking a driver mid-season and expecting him to walk away smiling was very poor judgement on Briatore's part, especially with what Piquet knew. Strange . . . .

  • Comment number 61.

    Dear Lord_Lancaster

    I've only been to the Monaco GP last year, and the British GP the year before and another back in 1991, and i've only watched almost every race since the age of 10 so yes, i'm no real fan and don't count, that's why i've taken the time to voice my heartfelt dispare. I like the racing, the engineering, the skill. Yes, i'll probably carry on watching (secretly) and i'll enjoy it all the more. I'm just fed up - OK.

    "@ 11; "I'm not watching this nonsense anymore - 30 years fan, over and out."...yet another sadly pessimistic comment from a supposed "fan". And others too, and yes indeed, this is a downer of an episode that has cropped up. It always seems to be centred around Ferrari, McLaren and Renault - these three teams are constantly cooking up the scandals these days.

    To me, the exit of Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds confirms that, as much as I don't want it to be true, they DID indeed ask Piquet to crash. I am shocked at the fact Symonds was part of this decision, as he is a very talented man, to whom I have always given huge respect.

    As for Briatore, well, I'm just not surprised. He comes out with all sorts of shocking comments over the years, and I wouldn't put asking his own driver to crash past him.

    What is a massive shame is that Briatore was one of the key motivators behind the ridiculous breakaway series, for want of "good racing"...It is a cruel irony that the man himself could have damaged the sport's reputation yet more.

    But for goodness sake, going back to my first point regarding comment 11 and such like - hasn't this sort of riff-raff become the norm in sport

    as a whole?? It isn't the end of the world guys! Chin up!"

  • Comment number 62.

    @ Carlonso:

    I do not understand how someone can suggest that Pique should be tried for involuntary manslaughter. Firstly exactly what legal system would you bring a claim under? Secondly, under UK law you cannot be guilty of involuntary manslaughter (known as constructive manslaughter in the UK) without actually killing someone. Correct me if I am wrong but Piquet did not actually kill anyone. So in answer to your question no claim can be launched against Piquet. So please refrain from making sweeping statements about Piquet without having the legal knowledge to do so. Besides, even if he had killed someone, which he did not, it is very rare for juries to convict someone to manslaughter when the accident involves a car hence the introduction of the offence "death by dangerous driving".


    I cannot see Renault being kicked out by the FIA. Renault's legal team will have been in contact with the FIA through various means and will have worked out that if Symmonds/Briatroe go then they will be safe. Kicking Renault out is just not a realistic option for the FIA. In times of economic uncertainty it would do a huge amount of damage to the sport, to put 700 people out of work. We must also remember that the UK and French Governments will be lobbying the FIA not to kick Renault out. Equally we have to remember that the people who work at Renault are not guilty of the offence.

  • Comment number 63.

    I wouldnt be surprised to find out that Alonso knew something was going on, even if he didnt know exactly what.

    Just listen to his reaction when interviewed by the BBC at the Italian Grand Prix, Monza. He is very, very, cagey about the whole thing.

    Pat Symonds I am surprised at, Briatore not so much.

    Piquet agreeing to crash is the worst of all .. I think as he ultimately was the one who could make the right choice, and on the day failed himself and jeopardised the integrity of F1.

  • Comment number 64.

    If Renault have the Singapore race win taken away from them, doesn't that make Massa World Champion for 2008? Something to contemplate, methinks.

  • Comment number 65.

    This latest scandal (sigh), only came out because of the sacking of Piquet Jr. If that had'nt have happened, then nobody would be none the wiser about it. So it makes you wonder, what else goes off that we would'nt get to hear about? What other skeletons are lurking in the closet? It's sad that I have to assume that there are some skeletons knocking about, but unfortunately thats modern F1 for you these days: Controversy and Skullduggery. It's what you come to expect from the sport nowadays and its a shame.

    Have you ever wondered why F1 is never far from a scandal? They're almost coming off a conveyer belt and its getting monotonous. I dont watch F1 for this, I never have and never want to.

  • Comment number 66.

    how come the bbc always take the spaces out of my posts?

  • Comment number 67.

    And to think Briatore wanted to take over Bernie's role in F1. What a joke. I wouldn't trust him to honestly run a raffle!

    I'm extremely happy this dishonest, cheating man is out. It's a shame the top dogs, the old men of F1 are proving to be so untrustworthy of late. Lets hope the new younger generation have higher moral standards in future.

    Any fine Renault get I hope they chase Biatore in court to get it. It's not right that people can ruin businesses or race teams, jeapodising many others livelyhoods, and just get to walk away. Taking responsibility is one thing, but people like this, or dishonest company directors need to start paying for their crimes/dishonesty/bad decisions where it'll really hurt them – out of their own pocket. It's not on that the richer you are, the less likely you are to pay for crimes or dishonesty.

    Piquet was asked to do something extremely dangerous, effectively putting other drivers lives at risk. No one should be allowed to walk away from this.

  • Comment number 68.

    @Team_Kermit - nope. Massa was out of the points in singapore, and Hamilton stands to gain 2 more points from being bumped up. If Renault were stripped of all results for that season then it would be interesting, as Massa would have enough retrospective points for the title. But I doubt that action will be taken, as it would be a horrible way for the title to change hands, especially after such a thrilling end to the season.

  • Comment number 69.

    heard on 5live earlier john watson stating that the piquet family do not come out of this smelling of roses. all very well but i cant remember a similar comment following alonso's alleged emails prior to the mclaren spygate fiasco breaking, and he was still a mclaren driver!

    it would be most surprising to find out that alonso was totally ignorant of what was going on, i certainly hope these resignations will not dilute any investigations.

  • Comment number 70.

    Its interesting that both Briatore and Symonds were at Benetton in 1994 when Schumacher crashed into Damon Hill, ending the race for both of them and making Schummi champion. The German had gone off the track shortly before the incident and damaged his car, Hill tried to overtake the struggling Benetton and, had he finished the race in the points, would have won the world championship. Schumacher wasn't penalised for what was obviously a tactical crash and won the championship by one point. The theme of tactical crashes is nothing new.

  • Comment number 71.

    I suspect that when they have retired, certain F1 drivers will have colourful stories to tell about stalling cars as well.

    Especially when they were on pole......

  • Comment number 72.

    Well I wonder what all those who castigated Piquet are saying now?

  • Comment number 73.

    I've read through the blog and the comments, and a lot of people are wondering about whether the results will be changed for the Singapore race, and whether Alonso was involved; and I don't think anyone has answered yet. Based on what I've read on other sites...

    THE RESULTS WONT BE CHANGED. I think Mosley has already said that the results are set in stone. If Piquet had pointed out that the race had been rigged before the results in Brazil were finalised (in mid November last year) then the Singapore result could have been changed.

    SUPPOSEDLY, THE 'EVIDENCE' SUGGESTS ALONSO WAS NOT INVOLVED. Although Alonso is in as much danger as the rest of Renault, apparently there's no suspicion of him being a part of the 'plot'. Some new evidence would have to come about for that to change.

    After all this, I'd be amazed if Renault didn't leave the sport. Such a shame.

  • Comment number 74.

    Hmmm....FIA HQ, Paris. Renault HQ, Boulogne-Billancourt, a western suburb 5 miles from the centre of Paris.

    I wonder what punishment will be meted out?

  • Comment number 75.

    Try this scneario:
    Pat works out several stratergies for the race and the only one which secures victory is the Crash and Safety Car just before the other teams refuel. Other stratergies will bring about favourable results if they refuel on Lap 12.
    Briatore makes the actual decission and gives the coded signal to his driver to have an "Accident" at this part of the track.
    Pat came up with the strategie, Briatore instructed it and The driver complied.
    The Driver would be at fault for "causing" an accident during a race (Breach of Regulations). Briatore would be at fault for instructing a breach of the regulations which are there for the safety of all concerned. But, Pat, could be given imunity because he was doing his job and providing the team with race stratergies.

  • Comment number 76.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 77.

    I thought better of Pat Symonds and am very disappointed with him. Regarding the other bloke...words fail me. To make a driver deliberately crash is beyond belief and put others at risk. Although unlikely, what would they have done if he or a marshall had died? I have no doubt that Alonso had no knowledge of this but he is vicariously liable and should be stripped of his race win which would have caused an interesting conundrum if Massa had been ahead of Hamilton in the race in terms of points and the championship. I am a huge fan of F1 and have been to many races this year and over the past years but the continuing controversies do nothing to further the image of the sport. I was in Italy last weekend and the subject of Renault's future was much talked about and i have no doubt that this will probably end their involvement in the sport.

  • Comment number 78.

    Prost into Senna, Suzuka 1989
    Senna into Prost, Suzuka 1990
    Senna into the wall, to get pole

    I can't find a reference online to that but I just found this :
    http://blogf1.co.uk/2008/06/21/bruno-senna-takes-sideways-pole-in-france/


    Bruno Senna did the same trick last year!

  • Comment number 79.

    All those who say "I'm not watching F1 anymore because of this etc etc etc"

    I would like to point out that very few professional sports are devoid of scandal;

    How many football matches have we seen players cheat to earn penalties and get the other man sent off? And Horse Racing has seen it's own fair share of "fixing" allegations too. Doesn't stop fans or punters from turing up does it?

    And every Tour de France / Olympic Games seems to be plagued by cyclists / athletes who have taken banned substances.

    F1 is no different i'm afraid. As long as there's money involved, the rewards for cheating are immense.

    Feel free to criticise me, I'll hold my hand up and admit I know very little about the above sports but WHAT I DO KNOW is I am aware of their scandals!

    Not that i'm condoning Renault's behaviour (and they havn't been proved guilty yet either)...

    I also think people are reading too much into what Alonso said at Monza. Look, he was under orders not to make any comments regarding the issue - of course he wasn't going to say "Yes, the team were cheating and i'm ashamed about it" nor was he going to say "Actually, yes I was involved too"!

    And finally, Nelson Piquet certainly doesn't deserve to set foot in an F1 paddock again after this.



  • Comment number 80.

    REF 59 PorterRockwell.

    Firstly I hope you got home safely without suffering too much jawache...
    It's always good to try and see the funny side of this.
    The way Kovalainen's been driving this season he should be done for murder...

    However - my remarks are based primarily on the tragic death of Surtees Jnr. - a freak accident within a fast and dangerous sport.
    Add that to what stupid Piquet did that was dangerous, irresponsible and DELIBERATE - The deliberate intent to crash is a cause for investigation. He could have injured or killed someone. And he'd know why. That's no laughing matter.

    and REF 59 Poincianakings

    In Singapore you get 10 years for spitting, so I'd set the trial there...

  • Comment number 81.

    Well Max, you nearly did it - but I guess two outta four ain't bad.

    You got Ron & you got Flavio - that'll show those common FOTA people for standing up to you and taking the fans' side. Still, it'll make Jean's life a bit easier - won't it?

    You're like an old cowboy, surrounded by the sheriff and his deputies. You know your time is up but you're darn-well gonna take as many of those guys with you as you can.

    Now, you've got a month - what do you have planned for Luca & Jackie?

  • Comment number 82.

    I am sure that Renault will be keen to make a claim on Briatore's personal wealth for bringing their brand value and reputation into disrepute, while he was team principal. I feel Piquet is probably in the clear, but the nature of the skewed relationship between Piquet and the Renault team, as represented to him by Briatore, would certainly be of interest. Was a struggling, insecure Piquet truly in a position to make this episode public until now - or was his silence in effect coerced by a toxic relationship, as evidenced by Piquet being so put upon as to drive his car into a wall.

  • Comment number 83.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 84.

    Briatore was not just Piquets team boss, he was his manager too. Who knows how much bullying and pressure was brought to bear? Whilst no one could condone NP jnrs actions, he must have felt pretty desperate to do this.
    Feel sorry for the team and hope they don't go. That said I hope that Alonsos part is meticulously investigated. He and Briatore were a good match. His potential move to Ferarri seems another fitting partnership!

  • Comment number 85.

    Piquet should rightly be damned for his actions. He has been naive and idiotic. In 2008 he was a young, impressionable driver, desperate to keep his place in the Renault team - desperate enough to follow orders to crash his car.

    It is brave of him to ultimately blow the whistle on this, but he knew that his F1 career was effectively over anyway. Would he have done so if he still thought he had a chance of a drive in F1? Unlikely.

    Briatore is a character no doubt, but you have to consider whether he has done more damage than good.

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 87.

    If Kylie Minogue knows then sure as hell Fernando Alonso knows!

    How much remains to be seen.
    Poor lad. He's been behaving like an alter boy ever since he got his mitts burned by Ron and just as he's about to jump ship and straight into Ferrari this happens.

    Kylie knows why Alonso's proposed moved to Ferrari has been delayed, but he's not telling, because it's really quite obvious - and it's having a knock on effect with the other drivers.
    The FIA hearing will need to be conclusive and definitive.Given all the evidence to hand, it has to be clear that the three men are the only ones involved in this scandal.If not then this whole saga will drag,Alonso, Renault and F1 in the gutter.

    As for Piquet - like Father like Son.

  • Comment number 88.

    Also, on the idea that this drives people away from watching the sport...to be honest, scandals just make me more intruiged, not less.

    It might not be the right thing to say, but fudge it. SCANDALS IN F1 MAKE FOR GREAT ENTERTAINMENT, and result in more coverage for F1. No F1 commentator/critic would dare say this.

  • Comment number 89.

    Andrew,
    Sounds almost as if you are lamenting the fact that Briatore/Symonds are gone and almost as if you're defending them.

    In my opinion if they've gone it means there is enough evidence to suggest they are guilty and if so they have no place in the sport. Renault have done the right thing in washing their hands clean of them.

  • Comment number 90.

    "88. At 6:57pm on 16 Sep 2009, TheamazingMrWhite wrote:

    Also, on the idea that this drives people away from watching the sport...to be honest, scandals just make me more intruiged, not less.

    It might not be the right thing to say, but fudge it. SCANDALS IN F1 MAKE FOR GREAT ENTERTAINMENT, and result in more coverage for F1. No F1 commentator/critic would dare say this."

    Yes but it's the wrong sort of coverage.

    Proper motorsports fans want to hear of the racing and motorsport, not the political rubbish that is at the forefront of F1.

    It's the "car crash" set that have made it this way unfortunately. Those among us who are proper motorsport fans would rather people like Flavio (and a few others) did not exist, certainly in F1 at least.

  • Comment number 91.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 92.

    What about those who placed bets on the race? Can they sue the guilty parties for lost profits? And/or betting agencies for having to have paid for those who placed bets on Alonso?

    Anyway, Nelsinho should be punished too. Just because your boss tells you to do something, it shouldn't mean that you don't have to take responsibility for your actions. Certainly not when you do something so dangerous as crashing an F1 car on purpose.

  • Comment number 93.

    There are a lot of points to take from this but surely the biggest one is

    HOW MUCH DID ALONSO KNOW?

    The two biggest scandals in the (recent) history of F1 have been spy-gate with McLaren in 2007 and crash-gate with Renault in 2008. Who is the only person to have been at McLaren in 2007 and Renault in 2008?

    Previous contributors mention Senna & Schumacher - they used their own cars as weapons.

    McLaren's spy-gate only came out when Ron Dennis supposedly refused to be blackmailled by Alonso. If Alonso has the brass appendages to try that then what else is he prepared to do to win? Remember the backdrop to this. The first ever night race, the glamour of Singapore, massive publicity and prestige. Alonso going like the wind in practice and looking very good for pole before having mechanical problems and ending up 15th with a car that should have qualified 1st. A disillusioned number 1 driver looking enviously over at the red garage and a team that doesn't want him to leave them. The likelihood of zero points for either driver unless.......

    12 months ago what odds could you have got on Ron and Flavio both being gone from F1 before Max? To borrow from a well know advertising slogan - You know when you've been Fernandoed.

    And now we're told that the worst kept secret in F1 is Alonso to Ferrari. Dear Mr. Domenicali, is your granny still alive? If so then please keep her safe 'cos there's someone coming who'd sell her for tuppence to gain one extra place on the grid.

  • Comment number 94.

    I am saddened about Pat Symonds. I believed him to be a remarkable and true Brit, one of many Brits who totally enhance the world of F1. I am not so surprised about Flavio, guess you can call it a gut instinct!

    What I would really like to know is the part Alonso took in this sad scenario. I will never believe he is innocent in this total fiasco. He dumped on McLaren instead of going to his team and stating what he had received by way of an e-mail. Now he is going to deny any knowledge of this latest scandal concerning Piquet Jnr. Come on. All Alonso wants is a Ferrari drive and it appears he will be party to any controversy that he will get him that seat and make him out to be the innocent driver. At least let's hope that Ferrari will NOT touch him. Please God Massa will be back next year and Kimi seems to be coming on in leaps and bounds. This cannot be compared with the McLaren incident in Melbourne. Endeavouring to be neutral, Lewis/McLaren were made a scapegoat, but then McLaren have been made a scapegoat for sometime.

    If Flavio and Pat have resigned there must be some truth in what has been alleged. I thought Renault were suing Piquet for wrongful allegations and again I understood that one of the better broadsheets had "team radio" proof that Renault had given instructions for this incident to occur. Again I ask the question, is Alonso an innocent party in all this? What is the future for my beloved F1?

  • Comment number 95.

    It's cheating if the FIA decide so after the meeting next week, but I doubt anything will shock the business, sorry, sport. The two men will get a slap on the wrist, Piquet too I shouldn't wonder. What should happen is they all stand trial for conspiracy to cause an accident (if there is such a thing). As someone pointed out, cheating is almost an occupational habit in most sports. The tripping over the whie line thing in football to get the opposition sent off etc, should be met with the 'injured' prima donna being stretched off and taken to hospital (at the clubs expense) and have a proper medical examination (as clearly the team doctors are useless) and if found to be acting, the player should be banned the rest of the season and his wages given to charity. I wonder how many get broken legs then?

  • Comment number 96.

    87 - Kylie_Minogue_knows -

    "As for Piquet - like Father like Son." Not in terms of talent! But both will be missed as little.

  • Comment number 97.

    It all seems to be falling apart at the seams, to many liars, to many rule changes, how can you have no refuelling? They’re taking away strategy, pit stops and tactics are all part of a race, it’s not just the driver, it’s the pit crew, and it’s the tacticians, its running light or heavy on fuel, its one or two pit stops? Leave the teams alone, give them a choice, otherwise it will be one car for all, same strategy and very very tiresome.

    Come on Bernie, put your foot down!

    Unhappy of Essex….

  • Comment number 98.

    The tone of Benson's blog is absurd at best.

    Briatore steps down after implication in serious foul play that might have endangered human life and we are told 'the sport loses one of its most colourful characters'. It makes me sick you slimy man.

  • Comment number 99.

    hmmm - well this is interesting because I was on a website this morning (I thought The Daily Mail) and they had posted 12 or 13 pdf files - and of course I can't find that site now and/or they have taken the files down - the files showed all the background data - and if they were genuine, then Flav and Pat are in a heap of trouble, which is probably why they resigned or got fired by Renault.

    From what I remember:

    - transcript of Piquet Jr's interview + his written statement to the FIA
    - transcript of Pat Symond's interview - which you can find on other sites now - I just checked
    - all of the telemetry graphs that back up Piquet Jr's testimony - ie. he was ordered to crash at turn 17 - you can see where he keeps his foot on the accelerator because the wheel rpm's and engine rpm's stay high until the crash
    - there is another file showing Alonso's telemetry data from the same corner in practice, where Alonso starts to lose control ie he is experiencing some rear wheel spin - you can see that he takes his foot off the accelerator momentarily, the wheel and engine rev's drop a bit, then he puts his foot back on the accelerator after the wheel gains traction - transcript of the interviewer asking Alonso for his interpretation of the telemetry data from turn 17 - the interviewer purposefully did NOT ask for Alonso's interpretation of Piquet Jr's telemetry data from this corner during Piquet Jr's crash
    - transcript of Alonso's interview - he was totally unaware of the deal with Piquet Jr
    - other data showing that one of the Renault engineers was reviewing the telemetry data and apparently asked Piquet Jr "WTF happened at Turn 17?" - its obvious from the telemetry that he kept his foot on the accelerator because you can clearly see the engine RPMs and wheel RPMs
    - transcript of the communications between Piquet jr and the pit because he kept asking what lap he was on - remember he had to crash at a specific turn on a specific lap after Alonso was back on the track from refuelling

    All in all, IF all the stuff I read was true, then its pretty tough to refute Piquet Jr's story - particularly the engine telemetry data and the radio transcripts from Piquet Jr and the pit wall. I am sure the FIA will post it AFTER the meeting on Monday.... I see on some sites the FIA are saying they are upset the data files were posted "on the internet" today......


  • Comment number 100.

    Surely the nadir for Formula 1.

 

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