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?

[poll id="82"]

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)

  1. 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.)

    • James_mc said on 9th September 2009, 10:58

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    • Martin said on 6th September 2009, 4:49

      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.

  4. Alistair said on 5th September 2009, 18:01

    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.

  5. Net Sticks said on 5th September 2009, 18:22

    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….)

  6. 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

  7. 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!!)

    • Patrickl said on 5th September 2009, 22:09

      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”

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th September 2009, 22:13

      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…”

      • 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….

  8. I voted that I didn’t know.

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

  9. adz2193 said on 5th September 2009, 19:12

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

  10. 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?

  11. Carl27 said on 5th September 2009, 19:48

    If this incident is found to be true, wouldn’t Piquet Jr has some punishment? He certanintly put at risk not only his life (I know controlled eviroment…) but other drivers lives. In court If I ask you to robber a bank and you do it, aren’t you guilty of robbery? Anyone can answer this questions? Thanks fanatics.

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 5th September 2009, 23:15

      What kind of punishment would that be?
      Loss of all points scored in the 2009 season?
      He scored points in 2008 Germany and is still eligible for a seat in 2010, so for a punishment to be actually felt by Piquet Jr it would need to be removal of points on 2008 and 2009, plus removal of superlicense for 2010.
      Likely?

      • mp4-19b said on 6th September 2009, 5:52

        If there is a provision under Singaporean law,Piquet could possibly be booked for:-

        Crashing deliberately, endangering his own life, which can be treated as ‘Attempt To Suicide”

      • mp4-19b said on 6th September 2009, 6:11

        Yep, i agree with you bus. Merely stripping him of the points he scored in 08 & 09 wouldn’t possibly teach him a lesson. That kind of punishment is useless as we’ve seen it with cheating schumi. He was stripped of all his points in 97, but he continued to cheat until his very last season in 06.

        Very long ago a journalist once asked Piquet Sr as to why he punched Eliseo Salazar in the 1982 German gp. Piquet sr replied by saying ” So that he(Salazar) learns”

        Piquet Sr being a ‘good’ father must punch his son straight in the face so that he lears not to “lie” when he fails ;)

  12. Phil T said on 5th September 2009, 21:21

    Would`nt Massa have won anyway, but for the pit lane cock up ? did Flav have control of Ferrari`s traffic light system too ?

  13. it says in the times that Piquet was asking what lap he was on in the laps leading up to the crash. now i can understand a driver near the end of the monaco grand prix asking what lap he was on but i can’t understand a driver asking this question less that 10 laps into a race where his own pit stop was not till the mid way point of the race.

  14. Night before Race.

    Flavio-” Crash at Turn 17, Lap 13 ”

    Piq Jnr-” OK ”

    Remember, the secret to cheating at Poker is not to deal yourself a Royal Flush, but a succesion of Kings and Aces.

    • Sorry, should of been `The exit of turn 17, as there are no cranes their to allow quick clearance of YOUR Car`.

    • Formation Lap. Nelsinho spins. Radio transmission recorded (and currently available to Quest):

      FB: “Damm God! Nelsinho, I told you: Turn 17, Lap 13, not Turn 13, Lap 17!”

      NP(Jr): “Ok, Ok, Turn 17… Lap 13… err… including formation lap, or not?

      FB: “Pay attention Nelsinho, when the moment arrive, I will tell you:The Dogs barks”

      NP(Jr): “Ok, Ok. I will wait until a barking dog cross the track.”

      FB: “Forget about Barking Dogs, Nelsinho, when the moment arrives I will tell you: Just do it”

      NP(Jr): “Ok, Ok. Err… So I will have to do it in turn 17 or when you tell me Just do it?”

      FB: “Forget it, Nelsinho, cancel everything, cancel everything. Just drive and push as mach as you can”

      NP(Jr): “Ok, Ok. I will do my best, as in every race.”

      FB:”Thanks, Nelsinho. Push, push, push!”

  15. toncho said on 5th September 2009, 22:42

    I voted no because:
    a) I do not believe ANYONE would risk an injure or worse by deliberately crashing an F1 car at top speed
    b) there was no warranty of SC
    c) even with SC, there was no warranty that FA would win d) the way things ended with his boss suggest that PIQ is just seeking revenge
    e) knowing PIQ skills is hard to belive that he managed to do that on pourpose lol

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