Did Piquet crash on purpose? (Poll)

Nelson Piquet Jnr's crash helped Fernando Alonso win in Singapore

Nelson Piquet Jnr's crash helped Fernando Alonso win in Singapore

After the Singapore Grand Prix last year there were some people who asked if Nelson Piquet Jnr crashed deliberately but many others – myself included – who rubbished the idea.

But the FIA believes it is worth investigating and has launched a World Motor Sports Council hearing into the affair. So how many people believe Renault are guilty?

Do you believe Nelson Piquet Jnr was told to crash by Renault?

  • Yes (39%)
  • No (40%)
  • Don't know (21%)

Total Voters: 3,343

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I didn’t believe the claims about Piquet straight after the race because they just seemed too incredible. But it’s hard to imagine a WMSC hearing being called without some evidence being presented.

I would be very surprised if this evidence hasn’t come from the Piquet camp. As F1 Fanatic reader Paolo Verri pointed out to me in an email recently, Piquet hinted at strange goings-on when he blasted Briatore after being dorpped by Renault:

The conditions I have had to deal with during the last two years have been very strange to say the least ?ǣ there are incidents that I can hardly believe occurred myself.

Renault has said it will not comment on the matter before the hearing on September 21st. It wouldn’t be a surprise if bits of information started to appear in the Brazilian press between now and then.

Until we see some evidence it’s still too much for me to believe (a) that Renault would do something like this, (b) they left some kind of incriminating evidence and (c) Piquet was able to crash an F1 car on purpose more convincingly than Michael Schumacher did at Monte-Carlo in 2006.

That’s my take. What’s yours?

Who was involved? Did Fernando Alonso know? And what do we make of Piquet spinning on the warm-up lap before the race?

The Renault Singapore controversy

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208 comments on Did Piquet crash on purpose? (Poll)

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  1. mp4-19b said on 5th September 2009, 10:43

    I’m wondering why wasn’t Piquet asked to crash at the tortoise.Even Kimi crashed out there. At least he would have had a reason to convince people questioning his abilities. The approach to the start-finish line is not a place to crash at all. The fact that he spun at the same place during the formation lap shows he was up to something. Knowing Flavio & Alonso i’m sure they did conspire.

    • The sri lankan said on 5th September 2009, 11:08

      thats a critical point in this investiaagtion and should give a clear lead to the fuel load predictions by renault strategists. they will be answering a lot of questions here

    • Ben Ell said on 5th September 2009, 11:09

      It is not the same place.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th September 2009, 11:11

      This is an interesting question: if you’re told to crash to bring out a safety car, how do you do it?

      You wouldn’t want to put the front of the car into the barrier because of the risk of something coming up and hitting you in the head.

      But you would need to make enough of a mess to bring out the safety car. So you’re going to have to take a wheel off so they have to crane the car out of the way.

      And you’re going to have to do it where the car can’t be pulled out of the way easily, forcing them to use the safety car.

      Looking at Piquet’s crash, the angle of impact, extent of the damage, and the part of the track where it happened all point to a deliberate crash executed correctly.

      But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an accident. Piquet set his fastest lap of the race on the lap before he crashed. Perhaps he was just getting into the groove and pushed a bit too hard?

      • mp4-19b said on 5th September 2009, 11:21

        Couldn’t he have just stalled the engine in the middle of the tortoise? Its a dangerous place. There is no way they could have towed the car if it was stalled.

      • Max should resign now!!! said on 5th September 2009, 11:28

        Well this was in the forum:

        TBWG
        Member

        Well let me tell you a story…………

        Earlier this year I went to watch the Chinese GP. Being an intrepid Brit traveler and always keen to sample local cuisine, I decided to visit a famous Indian curry house in Shanghai.

        Unbeknown to me this restaurant is a favorite haunt for all the F1 teams and GP personnel which is apparent from all the GP paraphernalia donated by the teams and on display in the ground floor bar.

        Anyway, being a Nobby Nomates I was tucked away in a corner all by myself to enjoy my Balti! That night a day or so before practice started it was quiet apart from another table of 4 who where obviously engaged on GP business, I suspect electronics or communications of some sort and from their conversation they accompanied the circus around the globe.

        It was impossible not to overhear some of there conversation which covered many aspects of the GP’s but in the conversation was a casual remark that suggested

        Piquet junior only retained his drive for 2009 because he had crashed to order in Singapore! This was not the main source of the chat and was accepted by all without question as fact and as as part of the wider conversation.

        Now I would not put anything past the Flav especially after seeing him in his thong! but I think this time he might have gone too far!

        TBWG
        Posted 14 hours ago #

        • Max should resign now!!! said on 5th September 2009, 11:31

          Damn this bit was supposed to go like this.

          Piquet junior only retained his drive for 2009 because he had crashed to order in Singapore! This was not the main source of the chat and was accepted by all without question as fact and as as part of the wider conversation.

      • If the allegations are coming from Piquet, then perhaps the FIA could invite Renault to bring a spare car to Singapore and ask Nelson to re-enact his spin…

      • lewisisoverated said on 5th September 2009, 12:53

        yeah that is so true.. i was seated not 10 meters form where the accident took place.. it looked very suspicious the way it happened.. he randomly lost the rear wheels and the rear end of the car (if i remember right) slammed into the barriers.

      • Hi people,
        this afternoon I took the DVD review of last season to watch the facts again. It seems to me that Piquet did not crash “directly”, but he had a spin, and then crashed. If I were him, I would have crashed my car on the side, taking a corner too wid I mean. But absolutely without a spin, because you never know what could happen to you.
        Anyway, FIA do not call for the World Council when they not have evidences. Let’s see what they say and let’s wait to see these evidences we too.

        • Chazzers said on 5th September 2009, 23:29

          I agree completely. He would be putting too much to chance with a deliberate spin. He could have either ruined his car or spun harmlessly to a halt. Running wide would be the most effective way to damage his car enough to bring out the SC and it wouldn’t be suspicious at all. It also would have put his car on the racing line, making a safety car all the more likely. Think about how many drivers got caught out by running wide at the Wall of Champions in Montreal.

          I don’t buy the rumors and I think this is just a case of Nelson being a bad loser.

      • What about the other four safety cars that came out in that race and left Fernando trailing 3 laps behind? You will tell me that did not happen but that would have required 20/20 hindsight. A dreadful race on a circuit nearly as nasty as Valencia.

    • adaptalis said on 5th September 2009, 11:28

      Ben Ell is right. He spun at different places.

      On the warm up lap, it was the approach to start-finish, near the pit lane entrance.

      But in the race, it was the exit from Turn 17 in front of the Bay Grandstand.

      I still don’t think any driver is willing to crash a car on purpose.

    • Nirupam said on 5th September 2009, 17:45

      You know Flav and Alonso???? Really??
      Thats really cool!!! Could you please introduce some of us to them as well?? :P

    • Mags MAgs said on 6th September 2009, 9:08

      Personally after watching the clip repeeatedly, I think it’s just Piquet and his sout grapes stirring up trouble. Have you ever watched David Coultard crash as he came into the pit lane, at low speed? and did anyone question that. Nope, this again is F1 politics.

  2. Alex White said on 5th September 2009, 10:43

    Well, I don’t think he crashed on purpose. He would have crashed anyway :D

  3. From my viewpoint Renault and all key persons involved in this crime: Briatore, Symonds, Alonso and Piquet should be banned from F1 forever.

  4. If this kind of “corruption” and “fixing” is being dug back up, bring back up that race in Brazil with Glock slowing down on the last straight and allowing his buddy Hamilton past. come on FIA you know he had no reason to slow down at the last corner it wasn’t even wet.

  5. I voted no… I would like to think that even if his future was at stake, Piquet would not have followed team orders to do this.

    On the other hand, I was hoping for a “I wouldnt be suprised…” option when voting =P

    • mp4-19b said on 6th September 2009, 5:28

      I voted no… I would like to think that even if his future was at stake, Piquet would not have followed team orders to do this.

      What makes you think that? Piquet always knew that he was useless,talentless. Anyway he has the backing of his rich father, he could always fallback on that.

  6. (c) Piquet was able to crash an F1 car on purpose more convincingly than Michael Schumacher did at Monte-Carlo in 2006.

    I do like this point.

  7. Max should resign now!!! said on 5th September 2009, 11:19

    If Joe Saward doesn’t think it’s nonsense then a solid YES.

  8. If you just consider the crash video, it looks like he guns the throttle on the exit to spin the car.

    Now, we know Nelson was really rubbish, but this is a mistake that is so fundamental even he wouldn’t do it by accident.

    Then you have the fact that Nelson got the drive at Renault this year when there were many others (some managed by Briatore) that could have filled the seat more capably and not troubled Alonso, and now PK is fired, these allegations come out?

    He has to have done it on purpose. Max must be rubbing his hands with glee – he has been waiting 15 years for revenge against Briatore who wrote a letter of no-confidence in his FIA leadership…

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th September 2009, 11:27

      Max must be rubbing his hands with glee – he has been waiting 15 years for revenge against Briatore who wrote a letter of no-confidence in his FIA leadership…

      I think James Allen wrote something similar to that on his blog. What I don’t get is, if Mosley has this vendetta against Briatore, why did he pass up a golden opportunity to punish Renault in the spying case at the end of 2007?

      • I already wrote this in the other post but I’ll write it again.

        Because they’re afraid that Renault would leave F1 for good if a hefty fine is imposed on them.

        There’s no danger of that happening with McLaren, hence the $100 million fine.

        Perhaps McLaren should threaten to quit the next tie they’re hauled up for something.

        • I agree – Max has a Vendetta against Flav but is in love with the manufacturers – ironic considering his team was the lowest form of garagiste!

        • Well, Mercedes did last time.
          An threatened to pull brawn’s engines.
          Look back to Haug’s comments pre liegate hearings.

        • Antifia said on 6th September 2009, 20:24

          Renault doesnt exactly need F1 to exist. That is not the case for Mclaren, so their’s wouldn’t be a credible threat and it would only make things worse for them.

      • Or indeed seriously punish Benetton in 1994 after the team had tampered with their fuel rigs – an incident that was even more dangerous than Piquet’s crash. Instead Mosley met with the team’s QC the night before the WMSC meeting and suggested if the team pleaded guilty and blamed it on a junior employee (which the evidence didn’t support) then there’d be no punishment.

  9. Tommyb said on 5th September 2009, 11:21

    Of course he wasn’t. Piquet Is just biter from Renault sacking him. He is a rubbish driver and is just trying to cover up his useless races with an excuse.

    • Amén.

    • Ned Flanders said on 5th September 2009, 13:00

      He may be a rubbish driver, and we all know by now that he is perfectly capable of crashing without being asked by his team, but it just seems like there is something to this story. Also, Piquet admitted after the accident it was his fault so he’s already taken the damage to his reputation.

      Piquet may get his revenge on Briatore/ Renault by initiating this, but he’s ruining his career- what credibility does he have left now?

    • Nah's said on 6th September 2009, 5:07

      Glock gave massa a chance to win do you not realise that!, if glock had pitted for intermediates he would have been behind hamilton anyway. dont you know you have to be on the right tyre at the right time?

  10. the sad thing, that we won’t know the truth.
    and maybe this whole story wouldn’t have been revealed if Piquet would still drive for Renault.

    so my point of view: check the telemetry and radio transfers, and make a decision. we don’t have access to any of them, so we won’t know, we have to trust the fia.

    i have mixed feelings about that
    – if it is true, than it’s nothing worse than Austria 2002, just a simple team-order, with some financial loss added by crashing a car.
    – it wouldn’t be the first time for Briatore (remember 1994-95? every second race benetton were investigated by breaking the rules somehow, with Briatore and Schumacher) and for Alonso (mclaren-gate 2007)
    – i don’t think that Alonso would ask for anything like this as his season was off or would have agreed anything like this (however, i’m not sure that Schumacher was asked about wheter he would like to pass Barrichello…)

    i just can hope, that this is some kind of revenge of a frustrated and laid down former driver…

    • - if it is true, than it’s nothing worse than Austria 2002, just a simple team-order, with some financial loss added by crashing a car.

      It’s much worse than that.

      Austria 2002 was just unsporting behaviour. Barrichello wasn’t asked to become a crash test dummy so that Schumacher could get 10 points.

      • yes, he was just humiliated a bit…

        the main reason the media picked up this case (except for the daily scandal dose for tabloids) is the damage this kind of behaviour could cause to the betting industry.

        if you’re a real driver, it doesn’t matter if you have to just simply pull over or crash the car, and he “did” it in the safest way in a safe car on a safe track, if he was asked to do it.

        of course there is difference, because the risk is never 0%, as we seen in the case of Massa, and this fact might make it an irresponsible decision, but considering the aspects of the sport, the fair play, it’s totally the same

      • John H said on 5th September 2009, 12:14

        The reason why it would be much worse, is that crashing endangers others (drivers and spectators) not just those within the team.

        This is also why it would be much worse than Austria ’02.

        • see your point of course

          • Have to agree entirely with John H. Add to the point that Piquet’s crash changed the whole race and the qualification position of all the drivers and teams on the field. Alonso was never going to win it, never. The Austrian switch, bad as it was only changed the order of the 2 team”mates” involved. In many ways Ferrari has done it again more smoothly in Brazil 07 with nice pit stop set up and China 08(still abit too obvious there).

  11. Bigbadderboom said on 5th September 2009, 11:25

    I think that Piquets intention was to push the car out wide and have a minor side impact, stall it and then get the safety car out, what happened in my opinion, is that he gave it too much and bought the back round, causing a much bigger impact than was planned. Piquet couldn’t even crash properly!!!
    I also believe that there must be telemetry data that points to something, this is the smoking gun. He would have to have done something different for the incident to occur, if he has detailed that to th FIA, and the data confirms it, then its case closed.
    I didn’t believe this when the conspiracy arose last year, in fact I was very doubtful until the FIA announced the extraordinary meeting, but although most people are concentrating on thinking the radio transmissions hold the clue, there is a lot of live car data collected through a race, so it must be fairly easy to prove.
    As for punishments, all involved should serve a ban, not so sure about a life ban but certainly 2-3 years with a huge fine imposed, for me this is far worse than spygate, so 100million euros would not be out of the question.

  12. Armando666 said on 5th September 2009, 11:25

    until there is a decision made by the powers that be, i find it hard to believe that renault would do something like this. Flavio doing something dodgy, yeah i can see that. Crashing an F1 car in the manner that piquet did, you could try to do replicate that 100 times and it not work out. It just seems to far fetched for me. Why would Flavio ask his driver to do something like that knowing that a)it could cause injury to his driver (which would then possibly mean replacing him if the injury was severe enough) b) the subsequent cost and pain in the *ss it would cause the team to fix the car. The utter stupidity of asking something like this. As i said it wouldn’t surprise me to ehar flavio doing something unsporting but to ask a driver to crash his car, no way.

    If i’m proved wrong then i’ll eat my socks…although i might add a little soy sauce some bok choi and roasted garlic…just to help it go down a little easier. =)

    and just quickly 2 more points why would piquet Agree to do something like this? If he in fact did i can’t imagine his dad would be too pleased and would more than likely have quite a bit to say about it.

    • It wasn’t a very high speed crash so there wasn’t much risk in Piquet being injured.(Not that it justifies anything)

      The subsequent cost to fix the car would be peanuts compared to the money that Renault would get for winning 10 points.

      They could have also done it because Alonso might have had a clause in his contract that allows him to leave Renault at the end of 2008 if they do not win a single race.

      Piquet probably agreed to do it in exchange for a racing seat in 2009. He obviously couldn’t earn it on driving skill alone.

      • Alonso had a clause in his contract last year saying if they didn’t come 3rd in the constructors then he could leave. By Singapore Renault could never have beaten BMW to third, so there would have been no point in engineering a win.

        Alonso stayed in the end due to the massive improvement in performence by Renault toward the end of ’08 and the umpredictaility of who would be quick in ’09.

      • bananaman said on 5th September 2009, 11:52

        It was so early in the race that it was far from certain that Alonso would go on to collect the ten points, let alone finish the race himself.

        • Patrickl said on 5th September 2009, 21:59

          It worked for Piquet in Germany. Why wouldn’t it work for Alonso on a track where overtaking him back is virtually impossible?

      • Ned Flanders said on 5th September 2009, 13:08

        Sykes, surely you can’t defend Renault for asking one of their drivers to deliberately crash a car (assuming they are guilty)? The risk of the driver/ marshals/ spectators being injured may have been small, but the needless risk is still there.

        In a sport which has suffered as many fatalities as F1, asking a driver to crash deliberately seems quite disrespectful. Regardless of how small the crash may have been, I’m completely against it on principle.

        • It wasn’t a very high speed crash so there wasn’t much risk in Piquet being injured.(Not that it justifies anything)

          I never said that it was justified, merely that it could be a possible reason for Renault doing what they did.

  13. i dont think he had crashed on purpose he’s just a lame driver (testing new avatar) :P

  14. When this story first appeared, I was sceptical, thinking it was just Nelson trying to cause trouble for Flavio. Now, having read a lot of articles, and see that Quest probably started their investigation before the Spa w/end, and there is now to be a hearing on the 21st, I don’t see how we can avoid the probability that this incident was planned.

  15. As posted previously here and elsewhere, I always believed this was done on purpose. For me the interesting thing will be to find out what evidence the FIA has managed to unearth, and who within the team was involved.

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