Piquet Jnr and Alonso in Renault conspiracy claim

2008 Singapore Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Nelson Piquet Jnr crashed out of the Singapore Grand Prix on lap 14
Nelson Piquet Jnr crashed out of the Singapore Grand Prix on lap 14

After last year’s Singapore Grand Prix there were plenty of conspiracy theories that Nelson Piquet Jnr crashed deliberately to help Fernando Alonso win the race.

Those theories are now being given credence by Brazilian F1 journalist Reginaldo Leme, who claims Renault are to be investigated by the FIA over the result of last year’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Brazilian TV station Globo also carried the report during its Belgian Grand Prix coverage today. The allegation is that Piquet was ordered to crash by the team to help Alonso win the race. Here’s a paragraph from the race report which explains the scenario:

Alonso, who along with Rosberg had started on the less favourable super-soft tyres, made his first pit stop. Although he fell to last it proved extraordinarily fortunate timing when his team mate crashed two laps later, Nelson Piquet Jnr backing his car into the wall in front of the grandstands by the Marina.

Sure enough, as the other drivers made their pit stops Alonso inherited the lead and won the race. This came a day after qualifying down in 15th due to a car failure.

Piquet was, of course, dropped by Renault earlier this year and later launched a vitriolic attack on former boss Flavio Briatore. It doesn’t take a cynic to wonder if he might just be trying to get revenge on his old team.

Here’s a look back at some footage of the crash:

Piquet also spun on the warm-up lap in Singapore. More evidence he was capable of spinning without being told to? Or was he getting in a practice spin ahead of his big moment?

I still think it’s a bizarre conspiracy but if Piquet himself claims it’s true then, notwithstanding his obvious antagonism towards the team, the FIA are surely going to have a look.

Do you think the claims are true? Here’s links to the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix coverage from last year, and other relevant articles, to help you make your own mind up:

Thanks to Sandro and Dank for the tips!

218 comments on “Piquet Jnr and Alonso in Renault conspiracy claim”

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  1. Ka and Boom spring to mind.

    1. isn’t the journalist being a little paraniod

  2. Wow!. Amazing how Piquet is angry with Briatore!

    1. Well, i think Briatore is capable of coming up with something like that, but have doubts if he actually would. perhaps he had complete faith that Piquet’s inabilities would not be questioned.

      but crashing so that the other car can take the lead? either Piquet is dumb to accept to go along with it and put himself in danger, and Renault would be dumber to commision it, these cars cost millions, whatever happened to flavio wanting to bring costs down….

      part of me wants to believe it, the other doesn’t, imagine the extra air time F1 would get if that were true or at least the FIA buys it and starts sniffing around….

      1. Is there any way that they can “sabotage” a car from the pit wall? I mean, did Jr even know?

        For example, can they change an engine map or “something” mid lap…Could it be, they give Jr the command to Push(Cover story)……then change a setting on his car(Unknown to Jr or Alonso), so that when he uses the throttle exactly the same way he has for the previous 11 laps, on this occasion, it causes a spin?

        Dont flame me, I am just wondering if it is possible to “trip” a car up from the pit wall? To change something so much, that it causes driver to lose control?

        1. Remember when JV’s left rear wheel fell off in the the last race in 1996…like FW didn,t plan that.

          1. Hmm, well remembered. I cant stop wondering why Ruben`s Anti-Stall keeps kicking in.

      2. The FIA are already sniffing around.

      3. I think Briatore would absoulutely do something like this
        Piquet could never lie about something this big. There is definitely something here

    2. Hey, wait a minute. Who said that it is Piquet who is bringing it up?

      1. @AntonioPizzonia Renault+Badoer+Briatore+Grosjean= DreamTeam 2010!about 22 hours ago from web

        Amanhã ou segunda mundo da F1 terá surpresas. Aguardem pq é coisa quente…10:14 PM Aug 29th from web

        Translation: Tomorow or monday F1 world have some surprises. Hold on because is hot stuff.

        AntonioPizzonia and Nelsinho are training at Monaco together… so I believe there is something..

        1. http://twitter.com/AntonioPizzonia

          will the anti-christ reveal himself in a few hours from now?

  3. what can they do though?

    that safety car changed the whole championship, we all remember massa disaster in the pits

    1. Punish Renault.

      1. freakin take away the team and esp the manager from entering the fields of F1 forever!! would be really good for the sport!! let him manage a 2nd rate football team

        1. Flavio is “good” to F1 business…

          (understand that I agree with you.. but F1 is a money machine and this things help it)

  4. aah! don’t take globo tv & Galvao Bueno too seriously!! He’s an absolute patriot & will go to any extent to defend his brazilian drivers. We all know how close piquet sr & galvao are :) i think both the piquet’s must shut up. The son is maligning his father’s image by doing this.

    1. i extend your “shut up” idea to galvao!
      when could renault have maid this order, that it never appeared on the radio?

      1. Last year’s radio transmissions were not all public, if they wanted they could communicate without being heard. (i hope i remember correctly). in any case i would suspect national pride and friendship has come in to cause a stir, who knows maybe the Piquet’s want to pressure Briatore into releasing Nelsinho from the management contract

        1. Definitely! There would have been secondary radio channels for communication. Do you think what the FIA transmits on TV is the real communication? The FIA wants us to believe the on goings are transparent. Teams have always had alternate methods of secure cockpit to pit communication.

      2. It might have been decided before the race, hence the spin on the warm up lap to practice … allegedly :)

    2. I agree that Piquet Snr is very self serving. You don’t win 3 world championsips without being driven and selfish. However at the time of the incident I like many did wonder if the whole thing had been orchestrated by Renault. I hope that it is not true because F1 really doesn’t need any more scandal. The timing of the revelation does seem a little like the Piquets getting some revenge over Flavio and Renault. Personally I’m not a fan of any of the parties concerned.

  5. Was Piquet stupid enough ‘then’ to drive into a wall just ‘coz his team boss said so? or is he stupid ‘now’ to have come up with a bizzare story just as a revenge-seeking ploy?

    and who’s to say that Alonso would have won? The stewards might not have asked the Safety Car, some other driver might have stayed out and gained an advantage….

    Next he’ll say Briatore also bribed Ferrari pit crew to leave the hose in Massa’s car!

    all it reminds me of is: sour grapes!

    1. All i remember at the time is quite a number of bloggers feeling that the crash was quite bizarre. A few actually dared suggest that it was staged.The fact that FIA are sniffing says something. Ok lets be clear here – if the story is true, who is most likely to expose it if not a Brazilian journalist?

    2. Safety car was 99% sure.. It’s a track and 2 walls along side…

  6. What a mess !??
    I say like this song
    perhaps I send it to him on twitter. ;)

  7. It’s just a coincidence. It is pointless to go on about it near to this years Singapore GP. Piquet wouldn’t risk his health by crashing the car just for Alonso.

  8. I sincerely hope it is not true, both as a Renault fan and as an F1 fan. If it is then you can expect a serious beating from the FIA under Article 151(c).

    1. The FIA often seem to take into consideration commercial factors when punishing teams. Remember, in 2007, they fined Mclaren $100 million over ‘spygate’, but they let Renault off for a very similar offence. Apparently this was because a large fine might have encouraged Renault to pull the plug on the team.

      So even if the story is true, perhaps the FIA will let Renault off lightly to try and encourage them to stay in F1. (But I hope, if guilty, they are punished fairly- such commercially influenced, unsporting decisions are exactly why some people don’t consider F1 to be a true sport)

      1. I don’t think having a few technical documents from a competitor, brought by an employee moving from their team to yours, is “a very similar offence” to having an on-demand flow of stolen information from another team, courtesy of a mole. But I digress….

        One could also argue that “commercial factors” caused the WMSC to change their original punishment of McLaren – exclusion from 2007 and 2008 – to the comparatively lighter penalty of the fine and points loss. And of course there is the matter of Renault’s recent appeal against their Valencia ban …. so there is certainly evidence that some judgements may be commercial rather than strictly sporting, but I think regardless of the punishment, if Renault are found guilty the damage caused to the team and the sport will be massive.

        1. I don’t think having a few technical documents from a competitor, brought by an employee moving from their team to yours,

          a few?, surely you mean, the entire technical specs of an F1 car.

          The shop where Coughlin tried to get photocopies is about 500 metres away from my friends house.

          Strange that.

          1. I was referring to Renault in that case. The “on-demand flow of stolen information….” etc. was McLaren.

          2. But then Renault actually put the part that they stole the plans for on the car.

  9. I don’t see the point in this conspiracy at all, would they be saying this if Piquet was still Fernando Alonsos team mate? i don’t think so, its generally a load of rubbish and strictly a conspiracy, what can they do though? The safety car changed everything, Alonso won the Race, and of course the Ferrari Pit Blunder which cost Massa the championship.

    1. well, Massa only had a chance because Hamilton was penalised in Spa.

      1. That is a blatant distortion. In Spa, Hamilton lost 6 points (in my opinion, deservedly) in his fight with Massa. In Singapore, Massa lost 11 points to Hamilton (10 himself plus 1 for LH due to his demise). If you sum to it the engine blow up in Hungary and the mess Ferrari did in his 1st pit stop in Canada, Hamilton would not have had a snif of chance to win last year’s championship – which he did by the skin of his teeth.

        1. Massa not getting points in Singapore was a blunder by Ferrari. Can’t blame anyone else there.

          Lewis got penalised in Spa because the FIA decided to make up a new rule about waiting aleast 1 corner before overtaking.

          1. Plus the Bourdais-Massa incident in Fuji where Massa gained a position and Bourdais was penalised.

        2. Massa crashed/spun out of the first 2 races. If he hadn’t done that he might have won the WDC too.

          1. Strange that people here fail to mention the fact that kimi almost parked his car to let ‘CHAMP’ massa through into second place at china ;)

          2. You can’t blame Massa for the Singapore blunder either. My point here is that he lost the Championship due to problems that he was not to blame. Regarding China, well, the same could be said of Kovi letting Hamilton through in Germany… Hamilton only won the championship (by 1 point in the last curve) because his team did not blunder like Ferrari did.

          3. Hamiliton won by one point because that’s all that was required. He would have had to apply different tactics if it were necessary.

          4. @ Antifia

            Regarding China, well, the same could be said of Kovi letting Hamilton through in Germany…

            just to refresh your confused memory, hamilton went on to WIN that race, in the process he overtook four cars(kovi,nick,massa & our very own piquet ;) ) hamilton & mclaren achieved that on sheer speed. In CHAMP Massa’s case he was trailing kimi by 10 sec with 15 odd laps to go, kimi was forced to drop his pace just for champ massa to catch him & pass him. you see the only person massa overtook on that day was his very own team mate, if you can call it overtaking ;) At least be glad that ferrari didn’t do something they did to irvine


            & most importantly champ massa never deserved to win at spa in the first place.

          5. I think you’re all missing the real culprit who lost the championship for massa and won it for Hamilton. TIMO GLOCK!!!

  10. Leme is very close to Piquet. So I’m pretty sure the Piquets are his sources.

    Also, Joe Saward just confirmed a investigatio is indeed going on.

    1. Augusto Barreto
      31st August 2009, 2:40

      I felt Galvao Bueno very upset, asking Reginaldo Leme about the source all the time.

  11. It wouldn’t be the first time a driver has exposed dodgy goings-on at his former team. Remember Norberto Fontana?

    1. Be that as it may, does Briatore strike to anyone like a man that would refrain from practices as such? Or would Alonso for that matter???

      1. NO and NO!

    2. FOM have removed that video. Obviously ashamed of themselves.

  12. If this story was about anyone other than Briatore, I wouldn’t believe it……………

    1. Seconded.

      And it did seem far too convenient at the time.

      1. Mark Hitchcock
        30th August 2009, 18:09


        I don’t think it’s true but when Briatore’s involved you can never be sure.

  13. I think that this things might be true. I thought of it the moment I saw Piquet crash. People have done much worse things for much worse reasons.

  14. Let’s hope this is’nt so, it would be so damaging to F1, if true. My, oh my, never a dull moment in F1!

  15. So that tells us that the 35 pts racked by Alonso in the closing stages of the 2008 season was also a conspiracy?! I don’t think so. The Singapore GP was just a very wild coincidence.

  16. I always thought that it was deliberate. His voice on the radio was so unemotional, and both Flav and Fernando have form in terms of being willing to break rules to gain the advantage. If the team was in danger of having its budget pulled, as was rumoured last year, they may have felt it justified “tweaking the circumstances” a bit.

  17. Cockney James Hunt
    30th August 2009, 17:26

    It’s not true. Renault would simply not allow such a potentially lethal and plain idiotic plan to happen. Not just Renault – any sane individual. Not only that, but given that Renault and Fernando Alonso were well out of the drivers and manufacturers championship, they had absolutely nothing critical to gain by co-ordinating such a bizarre, homicidal plan at that particular moment, on that particular circuit. This is utter bonkers. Pantaloon wearing bonkersness.

    1. +1. Absurd.

      Why would Piquet endanger himself, other drivers, marsels and members of the public?

      He might not have set the F1 world on fire, but he is a professional driver and good human being.

      FIA is wasting money and futher damaging the F1 brand.

  18. Only one problem with this idea. All team radio transmissions are monitored and recorded. No way that Renault could radio Nelson Piqued (sic) and advise him to trash the car.

    Anyway, you have made racing your life. You are driving in the ultimate global series, one of the most powerful racing machines ever made. Race you really going to risk you life, career or reputation by trashing your drive?

    Nah! No way. More chance that Michael Jackson has just moved into a villa next to Elvis in the Seychelles.

    1. I agree, complete rubbish!!

    2. The FIA are investigating and presumably the first step would be to demand copies of the radio transmissions – as they did with McLaren at Melbourne this year, for example.

      But you wouldn’t necessarily have to use a radio instruction of “Piquet, please crash now so Alonso can win”. If it was pre-planned, any phrase could have been used as a trigger.

      At the time, there’s no way I would have believed the story. And even now I’m sceptical about Piquet’s motives. But we’ll see what the investigation turns up. After their recent troubles and given the economic situation it’s the last thing Renault need.

      1. But you wouldn’t necessarily have to use a radio instruction of “Piquet, please crash now so Alonso can win”. If it was pre-planned, any phrase could have been used as a trigger.

        Indeed, and the true meaning of any “trigger” phrase (and this entire affair) would presumably be Piquet’s word against Renault’s. Unless Piquet can find someone within Renault to back up his account it won’t stand up.

        It would also be an incredibly risky thing for Renault to agree with a driver who was at that point widely believed to be on the verge of the sack – why give an already underperforming employee potential leverage for blackmail?

        I remember reading a piece in Autosport years ago, an interview with Stefan Johansson where he’d been filming some promotional material for McLaren. At one point, the script required him to spin the car and he found it near impossible to do intentionally.

      2. Max should resign now!!!
        31st August 2009, 6:32

        Well it doesn’t have to be Renault, I mean the companies are always expecting results from their teams and the teams have their team manager or however it’s called. So maybe Flavour Flav was in pressure to deliver some results and he figured out he could do this and to maximize his options of getting a podium at least.

        I’m not a big fan of conspiracy theories, actually I don’t buy’em at all but I live in Argentina and with the kind of politicians we have here I’m no longer shocked when horrible claims are made. I guess we will just have to wait for the investigation (and to see how it was carried out too) and see.

        The only thing that tells me that this could be very well true is the fact that they had not had a good result before that and the fact that Alonso had a very unusual fuel strategy to be starting from P15.

      3. How long do the teams have to keep audio tapes. They could well be scrapped by now, as it was last season.

  19. The FIA can probably use this as an excuse to scrap Singapore from last years results and say that Massa is the new 2008 WDC champion.

    1. I wish! More fuel for the FIA-is-against-McLaren fire. It’s been too quiet, we need MORE rumors, conspiracies, what-if’s etc

  20. And for a moment I felt sorry for Piquet jr after he was out of his Renault seat, but now… whether its true or not revenge at all costs is not the way. It would be better for him, more honourable showing to Briatore what hes worth on race track, just like Kubica did. Now Im sure we wont see Piq jr in an F1 car, I cant see any team taking him.

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