Did Piquet crash on purpose? (Poll)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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 ?óÔéĽÔÇŁ 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

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

  1. Can people forget so quickly? Piquet Jnr was ruuubbbiisssh…

    This was a man that we all got up to sing “he spins right round baby right round” every GP to his mishap

  2. Keith – what about the predictions championship? It’s saturday and we still don’t have the results for Belgium:)

    1. Don’t worry mate. You are still the lead :) :)

      But your recent slump is comparable to Button :)


  3. I wanted to vote “I couldn’t possibly comment”.

    Is there still a suspended ban hanging over Renault after the wheel came off in Hungary? If so, could it affect (or be adapted by the FIA to affect) the severity of any punishment for Piquet’s crash?

    1. No suspended ban – they just got a reprimand and a fine.

  4. William Wilgus
    5th September 2009, 13:35

    Piquet’s warm-up lap incident looked more like a donut than a spin. I didn’t see any attempt on his part to correct `a spin’. That said, it’s got to be the easiest thing in world to allow a car to drive just a bit wide on a corner and have the rear wheels contact the wall—which is what appears to have happened. I voted a DEFINITE YES that he crashed the car on purpose . . . or that something was done to the car to make it do so.

    1. Yeah, it looks more like he went little wide, hit the wall and then overcorrected and spun into the opposite wall.

      If it was on purpose I’d guess he tried to put a rear wheel in the wall rather than a front wheel and risk injury. It then went horribly wrong and he lost the car totalling it across the track in the other wall.

  5. As insane as it sounds, I think he may well have crashed intentionally.

  6. Talk about split opinions.
    3.00pm Saturday
    785 Votes casted 39% say YES, 39% say NO, 22% say Don’t Know.

    Very interesting.

    1. Still the same!

      After almost double (1365) amount of votes at 21:11…

      interesting indeed!

    2. 721 Yes / 721 No
      This has to be the closest poll yet.

  7. ABOUT EVIDENCES: When Reginaldo Leme told about Renault case on TV last Sunday, there was something that was lost in translation and in all this mess: The man said that FIA ALREADY collected strong testimonies from Renault´s engineers that incriminates Flavio Briatore.

    Because of that, the mood inside the team is like a witch hunt…

    So, I don’t think that FIA will conduct their investigations backed only in telemetry data. Could be have another people (supposing that was our Piquetzinho the main source!) inside the team that opened its mouth…

    1. Does this indicate that perhaps the FIA were looking to brush this under the carpet and give it very low level media. But it is being reported that the initial source was Nelsons “People”!

  8. The irony is that Alonso won Fuji also. With a heap of luck but without any apparent skulduggery. So his contract clause was probably fixed up there ensuring his return for this year.

    I’m not sure I believe a driver would do this. But Whatever happened Piquet will NEVER admit to such a thing— if he ever wants to drive so much as a tuk tuk again. If he does he’ll have to testify that he reasonably believed Flavio had his girlfriend tied up in a basement somewhere. Whatever the data say, he’s the one with his foot on the pedal so he can just deny everything or offer other explanations. Or he can say he didn’t know where Alonso was (didn’t ask, wasnt told). He’s already said the car was so heavy it was bottoming on straights and wouldnt even go in a straight line. It will be hard to bring down the full ton of bricks on Renault without a complete conspiracy.

    1. Alonso won Fuji because of Hamiltons Kamikaze bomb at the first corner.

    2. I totally agree. I have no idea whether or not this conspiracy is true but I never got why everybody was so quick to pick Piquet, at least Junior, as the undisputed spreader of the rumour. It’s career suicide and he’s said numerous times he’s still looking for a drive.

      On the other hand I can see why he could have done it, people have done far crazier and far more dangerous stuff for much less gain. We’ll see what the FIA comes up with the 21st. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true, like many the thought crossed my mind more than once during the signapore grand prix.

  9. Someone said to me soon after Nelsinho got the boot from Flav that Flav shouldn’t upset the Piquets…

    I initially thought that was a little odd as Piquet Senior didn’t appear to have the pull in the paddock that Flav has but now I wonder… not necessarily about the pull with the FIA but about Daddy Piquet not being a man to cross…

    (And as to Junior being a rubbish driver that is a little wide of the mark… he wasn’t the top of the tops but I bet he’d do pretty well in most other formulae… indeed he had a couple of days where he out-performed Alfonso who is rated as being pretty decent…. and he did that whilst being treated as a second class citizen in the team….)

    1. Your right Lady Snowcat, we all love to joke about young Nelson but like you say in any other class he would do well, he seemed to have issues concentrating over race distance but he always seemed to have good single lap speed. And poor old Luca has shown us what a driver who is really off the pace looks like :).

      1. he always seemed to have good single lap speed

        Except in qualifying where it actually mattered …

        1. LOL :)

  10. Going to shut down all the big heads in F1. Ron and Now Flavio. who can face Max now?

  11. There is some precedent here, but in another formula. Back in 2004 Dale Earnhardt Jr. intentionally spun (but didn’t hit anything) in a NASCAR race in Bristol in order to bring out a safety car so he wouldn’t go a lap down. He was fined $10,000 and lost 25 points. (Although in NASCAR 25 points are nothing.)

    1. Good spot. Although I wouldn’t besmirch the good name of F1 by describing Nascar as a “formula”…

  12. Delibrate or Not Delibrate one thing is sure. The FIA would rule in favor of Renault on Sep 21st. With the departures of Honda and BMW from the sport they cannot afford to aggravate another major manufacturer who is already considering an exit from the sport.

    Again F1 is the most complicated sport and it is not as simple as it looks on the TV. There are big guns and a lots of money involved. This is more than racing and I would’nt be surprised if these kind of things are happening regularly in different places in the sport either going unnoticed or pretending to be unnoticed.

    Somehow I am getting a feeling…It is just my personal opinion that FIA is trying to act as if they are very serious about it and in that way if they rule Renault not guilty it will look all the more cleaner.

    And the Piquet’s are not foolish to jeopardize their career in this sport when it is evident that if Renault is found guilty, Piquet has an equal share in the crime and will be met with a severe punishment.

  13. My question: What is the evidence?
    The direct and most compelling evidence would come from the driver. Much like when the FIA granted immunity to Alonso for his testimony during Spygate, I’m sure they have cut the same deal with Piquet Jr in exchange for his testimony.

    It just may come down to Piquet’s word against Flabio’s.
    What other evidence could exist, besides other team personnel?

    As for sanctions against Renault if found guilty, they may overlook the Renault team and sanction the team principal for allowing or creating this incident. Banish the leader, with a nominal fine for team.

    Sounds fair to me, IF found guilty.

    1. I would say that Renault the engine mfg is innocent if this affair comes to fruit. But the principles of the team..flavio, pat symonds and a few other should be banned from the sport for life.
      If this is true then the fia has to come down hard on the players and I mean all the players like they did with mclaren.
      If F1 cannot police itself better of people who will go to any extent to win we will end up with formula cosworth and max will win anyway.

  14. I find it surprising that some people think it unlikely that the Renault F1 team would cheat. The two big forces in the Renault team are Alonso and Flav. Both of these men are never far away from controversy and alleged (and often proven) impropriety of some sort. In that sense, Alonso is the natural successor to Schumi. Alonso has been associated with pretty much every allegation of cheating or impropriety over the last few years. And who can forget Flav’s reign at Benetton: when illegal launch and traction control systems were found on the Benetton onboard computers. Flav’s and Benetton’s insistence that the systems were too complicated to remove (when Williams and others had removed their systems in an afternoon) and that, although they were present, they hadn’t been used (!? Recall, e.g, the French GP of ’94) will convince few people. And I haven’t forgotten the illegal fuel rig that Benetton used, either!

    If found guilty, Renault, Piquet, Alonso, and any other key figure, should be banned from F1 for ten years.

    1. Joaqo (Max should resign now!!!)
      7th September 2009, 4:02

      Amen brotha!

  15. I voted YES, but I don’t think Renault is guilty other than put a man such as Flavio commanding their Formula One Team, but if it’s true, they will pay as well as Flavio – no more team managemente in F1 and both drivers, because NOBODY will make me believe that it was something that was never discused with Fernando… Keep dreaming. The call to do it right there my have been Flavio, but Alonso and Piquet already knew the plan. From Flavio it’s some I personally would expected, even with everybody was saying Denis was the big bad wolf in F1… I already knew there were other mush worst like Flavio and the mob at Ferrari… So, for a change, lost hope FIA does the right thing, and bans Renault (the lesser guilty – I’m sure the CEO fom Renault was not included in Flavio’s plans), Flavio (goodbye and don’t come back), Piquet (never will we forget the great driver his father was in F1) and Mr. Alonso (that already has been saved from other affairs that he was involved and other were punish – let’s see if FIA has the same guts shown when then were (are) after Hamilton….)

  16. I voted ‘no’. If a team is daft enough to do this then there has to be a good enough motive, doesn’t there? What serious gain was there for Renault by doing this? Alonso wasn’t in the the hunt for the WDC title. Renault weren’t in the hunt for the Constructors title.

    If this story is true then I’m sure that Flav would have treated Piquet a little bit better this season and not dump him, but I don’t think that Flav would put himself in this situation in the first place.

    I don’t think that Piquet has the skill to crash or lose control of his car on demand. Also, would Piquet jeopardise his racing career in some kind of vengeance over Renault as this would imply he was implicit in this?

    Perhaps the spanish Mafia’s involved. They put a ton of money on Alonso and then leant on Flav to come up with the goods. lol

  17. how would piquet know when to crash????

    am i missing something but the comms between the driver and pitwall would have been listened over by the powers that be at the time very much like melb this year (which i know is diffrent but used as an example!!)

    1. The whole idea is that it was premeditated. With Alonso’s early stop included. They could have agreed on a code sentence. Like: “Piquet we want you to push” or “Alonso just pitted”

    2. If it was pre-arranged then Renault would have known when Alonso was coming in and could have told Piquet in advance what lap to crash on – providing there was no safety car period to begin with.

      A more likely scenario is that they could have agreed some innocent-sounding key word or phrase before the race – something as simple as them giving him the information that Alonso had pitted – which Piquet was to take as his cue.

      You’re quite right, it not as if they’d have gotten on the radio during the race and said “Oh by the way Nelson, we’d like you to stick it in the barrier now…”

      1. have we got the comms??? that would make it all a bit clearer…..would Nelson Jnr have made such a statement in his claim??like “alonso has pitted” as his Q for the crash…..it would support his account far more….

  18. I voted that I didn’t know.

    And it’s not as if anyone else on this site can answer anything other than that.

  19. How much did Renault pay Hamilton to run everyone wide at turn 1 in Fuji, allowing Alonso through to win the race? :D

      1. Keith! how do i put a picture beside my name?

        help me out i cant figure it out

        1. Just follow the instructions in this link

          1. You rock Mclaren Project 4!

  20. any one here play GRID? I wonder why Nelson Piguet is the one who always crashes on the first lap in the end-of-season Leemans 24hours?

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