Piquet Jnr and Alonso in Renault conspiracy claim

2008 Singapore Grand Prix

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!

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218 comments on Piquet Jnr and Alonso in Renault conspiracy claim

  1. How would you penalise Renault anyway?

    • Dougal said on 1st September 2009, 17:32

      The FIA would decide the penalty for Renault by looking at what fines they gave to other teams for equivalent offences, then deducting $100m.

  2. I don’t know if it is true or not, but is a stranger case. Piquet was ironic by radio at moment.
    However, if we think about a conspiracy claim, what he would gain? Why to reveal it now?
    It is very misteryous.

  3. For me is really hard to believe in a history like that, but Reginaldo Leme is a very respected journalist who covered F1 for over 30 years. The man is a close friend of Piquet Senior and the people here in Brazil believes that The Father is the main source backing Reginaldo´s history.

    He said also that the mood in the Renault garage has been terrible and that the investigation is independent.

    Incidentally, Mike Doodson written some weeks ago this very odd paragraph:

    “…On this subject, though, I had expected Renault to have thought twice about firing Nelson Jr mid-season, for a variety of interesting reasons which would have been likely to attract the attention of m’learned friends if I had been rash enough to reveal them here. Let’s just say that the Piquet/Renault story is almost certainly unfinished, with some potentially fascinating and possibly even scandalous turns in the road still to come….”

    • S Hughes said on 30th August 2009, 20:50

      Wow, that’s interesting. The credence level has just been heightened.

    • I read that Doodson piece at the time and wondered what he was referring to. Maybe now we know….

    • Arrows98 said on 30th August 2009, 21:42

      While i agree that Reginaldo Leme has been around forever [and I'm sure he should then have many connections among brazilian drivers], I certainly wouldn’t call him an F1 expert, and I’m not sure his so respected among more specialized media. I’ll wait for the Celso Itiberê column on the subject [he's a trustable source, I can't tell you]. So far, I take it as sensationalism.

      And I can’t tell you Nelsinho is really, really angry at Renault and everybody at the team. On his twitter page, shortly after Grosjean crashed out of the race, there was a tweet on Portuguese mocking him and his performance. They were teammates, for God’s sake!!! It wasn’t his fault that PIQ was sacked!!!

    • Arrows98 said on 30th August 2009, 21:42

      While i agree that Reginaldo Leme has been around forever [and I'm sure he should then have many connections among brazilian drivers], I certainly wouldn’t call him an F1 expert, and I’m not sure his so respected among more specialized media. I’ll wait for the Celso Itiberê column on the subject [he's a trustable source, I can tell you]. So far, I take it as sensationalism.

      And I can’t tell you Nelsinho is really, really angry at Renault and everybody at the team. On his twitter page, shortly after Grosjean crashed out of the race, there was a tweet on Portuguese mocking him and his performance. They were teammates, for God’s sake!!! It wasn’t his fault that PIQ was sacked!!!

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 31st August 2009, 11:04

        On his twitter page, shortly after Grosjean crashed out of the race, there was a tweet on Portuguese mocking him and his performance.

        Which Piquet later deleted! Too late now though, we’ve seen it.

  4. Gusto said on 30th August 2009, 20:46

    It was such an obvious plan I`am amazed it wasn`t picked up at the time. Oh hum just another sleezy story involving F1, you never know,one day they might get back to racing.

  5. It’s hard to believe but then it’s hard to believe Alonso would blackmail his boss, that McLaren would lie to the stewards in Melbourne etc.

    I’ve been surprised before and as unlikely as it sounds, well as they say, once bitten…

    I hope it’s not true, for the sports sake. We’ve had enough political hoo haa this season and this is the last thing F1 needs.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 31st August 2009, 11:01

      It’s hard to believe but then it’s hard to believe Alonso would blackmail his boss, that McLaren would lie to the stewards in Melbourne etc.

      That’s exactly how I see it. Can’t believe it on face value. Where’s the smoking gun?

  6. where Benetton (Renault) with Flavio in charge not caught cheating back in the Schumacher winning years???
    and was Alonso only too happy to use info stolen from Ferrari when he was at Mclaren and would young nelson have not done anything to get another season in F1.
    it would not take a great leap of faith for this to be true.

    This is F1 and nothing would surprise me!!!

    • david said on 31st August 2009, 9:24

      This sounds again like the 9/11 conspiracy theories. Really stupid

      It was McLaren, not Alonso, who used info stolen from Ferrari. Alonso’s emails were published which shows, among many other things we do and don’t know how he was treated.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 31st August 2009, 10:55

      Benetton were found to have removed a filter from their refuelling system, but not punished.

      Benetton were also discovered to have a secret program hidden in their car’s software – the so-called ‘option 13′. This was discovered to be a launch control system, which had been banned for 1994. Again, there was no punishment.

      Schumacher’s two-race suspension was for overtaking on the formation lap at Silverstone and subsequently ignoring an instruction from race control. He was also disqualified from the Belgian Grand Prix, which he had won, for excessive plank wear (which could have been by accident, by negligence or by intention, but in all likelihood probably not the latter because it’s hard to get away with).

  7. Roger Carballo AKA Architrion said on 30th August 2009, 21:17

    Finally, here is my piece of conspiracy theory to add to this little mess…. :-)

    It’s well known that Freddy has some clause that makes him free to get out of Renault if the team is found guilty of breaking the spirit of the sport…. Maybe, and I say just maybe, someone is trying to give the Fred a freeway to get rid of his contract with Renault so he can sit on the Ferrari next race in Monza…. twisted mind what I have.

    • Giant21 said on 30th August 2009, 23:20

      I wonder sometimes if having Alonso as a driver is such a great idea. He is arguably the best driver today in Formula 1 but he seems like such a bad person to work with, a real backstabber. He may (and probably would) win races, but his demeanor and morale would probably do more harm than good in the long run.

      Best of luck to Ferrari (and Massa) should they hire him…

  8. Fabio said on 30th August 2009, 21:24

    Funny how everyone is suddenly blamming Piquet for speaking too much.

    He is not the one to blame and he is not the one that spread the history just to get a revenge on Briatore.

  9. S Hughes said on 30th August 2009, 22:17

    2 points:

    If this theory came from Piquet, I find it hard to believe he would just make it up. His situation is already embarrassing and uncertain, so if he was making this up, his whole racing life would be over.

    If this theory was found out to be true, what should the punishment be? To me, it is more serious than anything I’ve heard in the last 3 years, so I would think a ban for next year would be in order (and the rest of this year too).

    I wonder when we will hear the outcome.

    • gabal said on 31st August 2009, 8:19

      Punishment? Taking away superlicence for him because of results fixing. Financial punishment for Renault if it turns out beyond doubt that they really did the fixing.

  10. Patrickl said on 30th August 2009, 22:27

    I remember a similar incident in IndyCars (or whatever it was called back then). Mario Andretti stopped his car on the entry to the pitlane so a full course yellow would come out. This benefitted his son Michael Andretti. I don’t think either of them got any penalty for that.

    • Mutton said on 31st August 2009, 10:52

      what about schumi’s famous not-being-able-to-make-the-corner scheme in Monaco?

      Now THAT’S cheating & what happened to him?

      • Even though we all know he did it on purpose, it was still questionable to the stewards. They gave him a fair penalty by making him start at the back of the grid….

  11. Cockney James Hunt said on 30th August 2009, 22:31

    Screaming James Allen has suggested this investigation is a fart in the general direction of Briatore delivered from the freshly spanked behind of Max Mosley. A devious scheme designed to avenge all the FOTA shenanigans earlier in the season. This I can believe.

    • Salty said on 30th August 2009, 23:03

      Agree CJH, tis at least more likely than a pre-planned ‘crash on lap14 50M down Raffles St. Don’t forget to make sure there is LOTS of debris.’

      No, tongue in cheek, I suggested 4 hours ago (psst. Keith, why is it at the bottom of this thread?) that FIA investigating this nonsense was a direct slap at Max’s contructor enemies (doh!).

      But the horrible truth is, it’s a lot more plausible than Piquet taking a dive for a drive in Singapore.

  12. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th August 2009, 22:32

    Antonio Pizzonia Tweeted this a while ago:

    E a bomba na F1 começa a estourar.. Aguardem pq isso, é apenas o começo..

    Which Google Translate turns into:

    And the bomb in F1 begins to blow .. Pq wait it is just the beginning ..

    But I’m sure someone who knows Portuguese can do a better job!

    • Arrows98 said on 30th August 2009, 22:48

      That’s pretty much correct, Keith. The only thing I have to add is that “pq” is internet short for “porque” [nothing to do with Piquet, if anyone thought of that], so the tweet says: And the bomb in F1 begins to blow… wait, cos’ it’s just the beginning…”

      Very strange, indeed…

    • Giant21 said on 30th August 2009, 23:09

      Your right Keith, good job!

      “A bomb in F1 starts to blow.. just wait, because this is just the beginning..

  13. Mike "the bike" Schumacher said on 30th August 2009, 22:33

    What a load of nonsense, even if it were true I think I’d be disgusted with renault and flavio but even more disgusted with piquet for doing it. Its one thing letting your teammate pass for a win but quite another crashing out for him.Piquet surely would have mentioned this in his rant anyway.

  14. Bigbadderboom said on 30th August 2009, 22:36

    A story with little credence in my mind until i read a few of the posts and links here.
    A few questions
    1. What is the origin of the story in terms of Lemes source?
    2 Has Nelson jr given a quote yet?

    The FIA love a good investigation and a conspiracy even more! And they are in a damned if they do and damned if they don’t scenario, so their investigation on it’s own means nothing.

    I think the fact remains that the truth will prove irrelavent in the end. What will emerge will be the best publicity for F1. With the Concorde now signed, the future of several factories in doubt (Inc Renault), Venue and promotion issues and the new teams having problems with cash and equipment, the future is currently too fragile for F1, the only conspiracy I believe is that the FIA, WMSC and FOTA will do almost anything to protect the image and percieved integrity of the sport at the moment.
    FOR SURE!!!!

  15. Alex Cooper said on 30th August 2009, 22:37

    Having read all of the points above (some interesting, some the results of wonderful imaginations out there) I’m very sceptical of this alleged event.

    1) Why would Piquet junior harm his already poor reputation?

    2) Why would he risk his own mortality to keep his race seat?

    3) Who would be stupid enough, following the massive fine that McLaren received in 2007, to try anything akin to cheating this way?

    4) Unlike Mercedes, who were able to distance themselves from McLaren when details of ‘Spygate’ emerged, Renault aren’t in the same position – this will reflect on the brand.

    I personally think that someone from the Piquet camp is trying to rock the Renault boat, just while they’re working hard to convince their greatest asset (Alonso) to stay with them.

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