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. Augusto Barreto said on 31st August 2009, 3:32

    For those who speaks portuguese here is the link that transcripts Galvao en Reginaldo´s dialogue during the TV transmission. http://www.24horasnews.com.br/index.php?tipo=ler&mat=303411

  2. lol no more conspiracy than T Glock pulling over and letting Hamilton thru…..

    where is the radio chat from that call?

    why now, we all know Jr isn’t the great f1 star, I dont think he needs team orders to crash…LOL otherwise he would still be employed for following orders…

    I am just wondering the team radio communication to get him to crash. I mean you cant say let slow and let Alonso win if you are in that sort of situation so what was the code word for stick it in the wall?
    Go faster Jr?
    Be consistent Jr?
    Try and not crash Jr?

  3. I say having to use a cosworth engine or not be accepted as a new team for 2010 is more a conspiracy and anti competitive behavior..Yer it’s a sport but also a business so that sort of behaviour is funneling $$ towards cosworth with teams (businesses) un able to choose there own supplier…

    If I owned a shop and was forced by the mafia to only sell one brand that they issue then is legal?

  4. sumedh said on 31st August 2009, 5:33

    Assuming that something terrible comes out of these investigations, then are the results of the Singapore GP going to be removed from the calculations for the WDC and WCC? Since, if that happens, Felipe Massa will become WDC. Which will make things, even more crazier.

    Or, will only Renault? or Fernando+Renault’s points are deducted?

    Is there any precedent for the results of a Grand Prix changed after such a long time after the race.

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 31st August 2009, 5:51

      The FIA won’t change it. I believe they would have the power to strip Alonso and Renault of their victory and points, but I don’t think the entire race result would be annulled. And even if the worst came to pass, I think that te status quo would remain the same: Lewis Hamilton would still be champion, and I should think Ferrari would agree with that decision. They’d want one of their drivers to win the championship on merit, not from some investigation into a race a year previously. It would be a very hollow victory.

    • Moo Point: Like a cow's opinion, it's Moo!! said on 2nd September 2009, 16:41

      Why would they discount the entire race result? Surely they’d just disqualify Alonso and give Rosberg the win..!!

  5. Prisoner Monkeys said on 31st August 2009, 5:47

    I’ve had sometime to think about this, and all I can really say for certain is that my exact sentiments are difficult to pin down. We simply do not know enough at this point, only that the FIA believes there is some evidence, and that they feel it is worth investigating.

    I think people are putting far too much emphasis on Piquet’s role in all this. While I don’t deny that he was a poor driver and that life experience has told me that when somebody loses something they truly desire through their own fault, they tend to go into denial and seek retibution. It’s difficult to say how Piquet fits into all of this; he denies being the accuser, even if he lashed out Briatore and has a motive for seeing the team run into trouble.

    Likewise, I think people are going on a witch hunt, especially in the way there’s aleady talk that Max Mosley picked up on this and instigated it as a parthian shot at Flavio Briatore, the ringleader of the rogue FOTA faction. Again, Mosley is both devious and has nothing to lose, but it seems somewhat uncharacteristic. He only ever makes a play if he’s sure it’s going to benefit his position, even if it ultimately fails. If this is something as specious as Piquet seeking revenge against Briatore, Mosley wouldn’t do anything about it. It’s not going to end well for him, because it would quickly become apparent that he was bluffing with a low pair.

    No, I think there’s something more going on, something greater at large. It’s very difficult to say precisely how Piquet’s accident came about, largely because the angle that the accident was broadcast at was a long shot; the camera actually had to zoom in on him. While there might be other angles of that corner, I don’t recall any of thm from the race, and they wouldn’t be publically available to begin with, much less now.

    Whatever this evidence is, it’s not something we’re privvy to. Like the Raikkonen-Hamilton incident in Spa last year, the marshalls would have access to a lot more information than we do (during that incident and in the wake of the fallout, they actually released additional footage from alternative angles). It’s evidently something strong; maybe a secure team transmission or something. But for now, I think it would be best to sit and wait, rather than ge ahead of ourselves with wild accusations and conspiracy theories.

    But all I have to ask is this: with all the sex, lies and politics, why hasn’t someone written a Crichton-esque thriller set in the world of Grand Prix racing?

  6. I would rate this conspiracy theory as highly unlikely. Piqet often had spins of this very type. That just one of the (how many tons of spins?) would result in a lucky consequence for the team is not improbable at all, since there has been so many of them.

    People often makes mistakes when thinking about improbabilities. Let’s say that there’s a 2% chance something will occur. If only done once, it’s surely very unlikely for the outcome to be the 2% one. But if done hundreds of times, people still fail to take into account that it is then [b]unlikely[/b] for it not to be in those 2% at some point. Instead they think “wow, what an outrageously improbable thing! Something is fishy. Fate/god/conspiracy” as if the real odds should be 0%.

  7. Ronman said on 31st August 2009, 8:04

    After some thought, and experience in Conspiracy theories since i live in the middle east, here’s my theory.

    Flavio is Nelsinho’s manager, Nelsinho got kicked out of Renault, but Flavio is still his manager, and after that executioner letter, Flavio would not be very happy, and would care less if Piquet has a drive.

    Now Piquet Senior has other plans, he possibly secured a drive for his son, but Flavio being hurt by the letter will not agree to release Piquet junior from his managing contract.

    so Piquet plays his card, he is carrying nearly lethat information, and since he’s burnt he’ll take the whole team including Flavio down with him since he has nothing to loose.

    i imagine the rumor has some credibility to it, enough credibility to blackmail Flavio into releasing Piquet from his managerial contract. when that is done, Piquet can claim that it was a misunderstanding when he explained it to his fellow Journalist friend who made a sensational headline out of it….

    because lets face it, if the claim is actually true, it wont be the Renault team that would only be reprimanded, it would also be Piquet himself, and i doubt Piquet would burn himself like that.

    fixing a race goes beyond cheating, so in the spy gate, Mcmerc got a $100 million penalty. With something like this, Renault and the men responsible for such a decision will be banned by the FIA/WMSC and never allowed on a race track for a long long time. The repercussions are immense for a company like Renault that is hoping to stay in F1 through several engine supply deals, not to mention the cheat reputation that will filter down to their showrooms.

    Carlos Ghosn will be very very upset, i wouldn’t want to be his assistant now…. Yaykes!!!

  8. Bigbadderboom said on 31st August 2009, 8:45

    Having slept on it, my thoughts are still the same (unlikely but possible). However as I read the recently posted comments, TALKsport radio have just started reporting the investigation in their half hour news reports. The story (an old one i know) now seems to be gaining some momentum.
    More negative PR for F1, although Bernie loves all PR, and recent news coverage seems to have given the sport plenty of airtime, I can’t help thinking that the sporting element of the F1 circus is becoming irreparably damaged. Too many times I hear casual followers or non F1 fans say “Its all fixed anyway” maybe they have a point after all.
    If (and it’s a big if) there turns out to be truth in all this, some people have asked what punishment should be applied. Well simple, all implicated individuals should serve a 5 year ban from all motorsport, I know Nelson snr runs his own team, but he should be excluded from attending all venues, as should Flavio and anybody else.
    I hope it’s all hot air and sour grapes, I really do, F1 does not need this.

  9. If this is true, then like most other fans I will be shocked and deeply sadened.

    If it turns out to be fictious then the instigators of the theory could find themselves the recipient of a multi-million law suit for deformation. Renault, Flav, Alonso, Piquet all would have some claim against the instigators.

    Conspiracies/secrets require all involved or who know about the truth to remain silent. I really don’t think people of such integrity as Pat Symmonds and the rest of the Renault team would knowingly allow this to happen or remain quiet if it had happened.

  10. Bebop said on 31st August 2009, 9:08

    completely unexpected driver wins F1 race

    possible connection – no waaiii

  11. mp4-19b said on 31st August 2009, 9:11

    “nando” ( meaning short in spanish) has really stooped to the lowest possible level a human can go.He’s not only short in his stature but also in character. Teams have to realize this fact. This “short” man is dangerous for the sport. He tried to blackmail a great team that existed since before he was born.He is just trying to appease stefano dommenicalli & ferrari thats all.He always wants to be in the limelight. Wants to make the front page of every spanish news paper.Nando is making a serious mistake. He is losing respect among the elders of the sport.

  12. Clay said on 31st August 2009, 9:30

    I must admit when I swa it live I thought it might have been pre-planned. I mean think about it – when was the last time any F1 driver was seriously injured in a crash? Kubica survived (and only missed 1 race) a MASSIVE shunt in Canada 2007 so a light-ish hit into the wall by Nelson would be nothing.

    There was also a case of something similar claimed to have been done in an Indy 500 race in the late 90’s/early 00’s when just as Paul Tracy – a CART driver who had entered with Penske into the IRL Indy 500 – was about to take the lead with a couple of laps to go when all of a sudden some backmarker crashes, brings out a caution and an IRL driver takes the win.

    Doodson’s article is interesting however, so it shall be interesting to see what comes of it. I was always a bit cynical about how Renault got away with their use of another team’s data in 2007 when for a lesser offense McLaren got smashed, both by the FIA and by the media.

    Very intriguing…

  13. mp4-19b said on 31st August 2009, 10:11

    i know many people over here disliked James Allen’s commentary, but his blog is very informative, though its not as famous as this one, nevertheless unbiased & informative to an extent. He makes a very intresting point

    There is no doubt however that should there be any proof, this situation offers the opportunity for outgoing FIA president Max Mosley to settle a few scores with Briatore before he leaves office in two months time. Briatore has been in Mosley’s cross-hairs for many years, since writing an open letter of no confidence in the FIA president in 1994.

    His role in the recent FOTA breakaway series is also believed to have been a source of irritation.

    Is this Mad Max’s Final act of madness??

  14. mp4-19b said on 31st August 2009, 10:23

    Nelson is such a lager lout. Enjoys his former team mate’s failure.


  15. This is absurd. Exactly what would Renault gain by telling a driver to risk his life by purposefully crashing a multi-million euro machine?

    Of course the FIA has to investigate claims like this, even if they guys claiming it are wearing tinfoil hats.

    • I think the actual car is pretty much a writeoff anyway, a team like renault couldn’t care less about contructing a new car, most of the money is in in R&D and continuously updating the car, which Renault was doing a lot at the time.

      Besides, the financial gain from winning a single Grand Prix, especially an historic first night race on a new track in a season in which they had yet to win a race with their extremely popular driver far outweighs the cost of a single F1 car.

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