Piquet-Renault scandal: more new evidence and complaints about leaks

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Flavio Briatore has gone on the attack against former driver Nelson Piquet Jnr
Flavio Briatore has gone on the attack against former driver Nelson Piquet Jnr

Since Nelson Piquet Jnr’s statement leaked online yesterday the story has exploded, commanding back-page coverage on many of Britain’s daily papers and dominating the build-up to the Italian Grand Prix.

There are accusations of blackmail, complaints about the media’s handling of the story, more material appearing online and statements flying around. Here’s a quick summary of how the story has developed in the last 24 hours.

Pat Symonds

New material has emerged which gives further insight into the FIA hearings. In particular, data from Piquet’s car showing how the accident happened, and transcripts from his radio communications and the subsequent FIA enquiry.

The telemetry leaves little doubt that Piquet intentionally lost control of his car by applying an excessive amount of throttle at the exit of the corner.

The article also claims that during the FIA interviews, conducted at the Belgian Grand Prix weekend two weeks ago, Pat Symonds refused to answer several questions about whether they had decided to create a crash. It also says the stewards felt Flavio Briatore’s reaction to being told of the investigation by them was unusual.

Renault threatens legal action against Piquet

Today the ING Renault F1 Team and its Managing Director Flavio Briatore personally, wish to state that they have commenced criminal proceedings against Nelson Piquet Junior and Nelson Piquet Senior in France concerning the making of false allegations and a related attempt to blackmail the team into allowing Mr Piquet Jnr to drive for the remainder of the 2009 season. The matter will also be referred to the Police in the UK.
Renault statement

Renault has announced it is taking legal action against Nelson Piquet Jnr. This in itself may not be all it seems, as Joe Saward explains:

This is not possible and Renault lawyers in Paris would know this, which makes the statement seem very odd indeed. […]

In French law it is not possible for a private individual or a company to commence criminal proceedings. All they can do is to claim that a crime has been committed and ask the authorities to investigate.

Despite Symonds’ reported reluctance to answer questions, Briatore is confident about his case against Piquet and representation to the World Motor Sports Council:

You know what? Whatever happens, if someone goes against the rules, they go against the rules. If I tell you to go rob a bank ?ǣ afterwards, you decide whether to rob the bank or not.

I don’t feel I have any responsibility, and we don’t feel we have done absolutely anything [wrong]. In the case of Piquet we go to the World Council. But the fact already that we have put a criminal plan to Piquet is because we have enough confidence to be successful – the team and myself.
Flavio Briatore

Max Mosley’s take

Autosport have published an interview with Max Mosley in which he suggests Renault could be thrown out of the 2008 world championship:

Question: What could be the penalty if they guilty?

Mosley: It could be anything up to disqualification. Because that’s what’s set out in the code. Disqualification means you are out, finished.

Question. From the 2008 championship?

Mosley: Out. Total. Exclusion forever, gone, finished. That’s the worst that could happen, but don’t for a moment get the impression I’m saying that would happen or will happen. That is the worst that could happen.

He also makes some very interesting remarks about the reaction to McLaren’s $100m fine two years ago.

Nelson Piquet Jnr’s statement

Nelson Piquet Jnr has put out a statement this evening saying:

Regarding the current FIA investigation, I confirm that I have co-operated fully and honestly with the sport?s governing body. Because I am telling the truth I have nothing to fear, whether from the ING Renault Team or Mr Briatore and whilst I am well aware of the power and influence of those being investigated, and the vast resources at their disposal, I will not be bullied again into making a decision I regret.

I have every confidence in the FIA investigation and World Motor Sport Council and I will be making no further comment until the conclusion of the hearing of 21 September 2009.
Nelson Piquet Jnr

It has also emerged that Mosley offered Piquet immunity from punishment in exchange for revealing the details of the plan, just as the McLaren drivers were during ‘spygate’ two years ago.

FIA and FOTA condemn leaks

Both the governing body and the teams’ association has criticised the publication of Nelson Piquet Jnr’s statement yesterday. It first appeared on F1SA (which, at the time of writing, appears to have gone down) and later other sites, including this one. Mosley explained why he was unhappy about the leak and vowed to prevent it happening again in future:

That is actually very unfortunate because it is just one side of the story. We are quite genuinely curious as to how that happened. Next time, when we send out to 20 or 30 people, we will probably arrange it in such a way that we can tell who is leaking stuff.
Max Mosley

The Formula 1 Teams’ Association, of which Renault is a member, echoed his views:

All parties to the dispute should have the right to a fair hearing carried out in private and not in the public arena, which is producing adverse publicity damaging to the corporate image and credibility of Formula One.
FOTA

I don’t agree with these views. Greater transparency can only be a good thing for the FIA, particularly when so many of its recent verdicts have drawn criticism for inconsistent judgements and unclear rules.

As for the suggestions the leaks are unfair because it only shows one side of the story, I am entirely happy to publish Renault’s version of events and I’m sure every F1 fan would like to read it.

Until then, I hope we can spend the next few days with our attention where it should be: on the Italian Grand Prix. If you haven’t made your predictions yet, head over here: Enter your Italian Grand Prix predictions

Read more: Statement by Nelson Piquet Jnr on his Singapore crash leaked online

94 comments on “Piquet-Renault scandal: more new evidence and complaints about leaks”

  1. You know what? Whatever happens, if someone goes against the rules, they go against the rules. If I tell you to go rob a bank – afterwards, you decide whether to rob the bank or not.

    What, so he’s saying that he or someone else high up in Renault told Piquet to crash and he assumes that as the driver is the one directly causing the incident that it is totally Piquet’s fault?
    Is he being an arrogant fool or am I missing something?

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      11th September 2009, 21:41

      What he is doing is to forestall the response “I was only following orders!”
      So, if he gave the order, it was Nelson’s fault for following it.
      Hmmm.

      1. But that wouldn’t be neccessary if the team never told Piquet to crash.

        1. HounslowBusGarage
          11th September 2009, 22:15

          Quite so. But the quote reads as though Flavio is admitting to giving illegal instructions to someone in his employ. And the trying to blame them for carrying out the orders.

          1. That’s kinda how I interpreted it, although I may have jumped the gun a bit.

          2. exactly, If I hold a position of authority over you and I give a command you carry out..it is implied that you had no choice or if you chose not to there wouold be repercussions.
            This is the same position that authourities use is harrassement cases. (sexual or other)
            If briatore told him to crash the decision was his but the retaliation for him if he didnt weighed in his decision to do so.

          3. The contract that is held between the driver and its team, does not give the jurisdictional right of the team to make such an order.

            In saying that if Flavio did indeed suggest such a thing to his driver, the driver can not rest on the case that he was “ordered” to do it. Because such order does not apply under the contract between the driver and its team.

            so it was clearly Piquet’s choice to carry out this incident, and I believe it could have been Piquet himself who suggested on the grounds that he could help the team win and get a seat for next year…

            Either way Flavio is guilty for allowing such a thing to happen without reporting it, if nothing else, in addition he is guilty for conspiring and not disagreeing with his driver. Furthermore with his recent comment he has practically shot himself in the leg.

      2. I think many people are missing the key to this whole debacle and that is two fold. 1. If your boss says to file a paper or drill a hole, you ask how big and/or where. Authority is pretty easy to understand. CEO’s are legally responsible for their companies and so is Flavio and Renault in this situation. 2. It is too often overlooked that Nelson Jr. is just a kid. I’m sure he was frightened not to do as he was told despite knowing the consequences and the ethical dilemma. He did his best as far as I can tell to choose a corner where there would be no harm to anyone else which shows that his conscience was working. People need to realize the situation these kids are put in. The first person that had everything figured out at 25 please raise your hand. (If you just raised your hand, you are a fool and still have much to learn!)

        Furthermore, there is a statement regarding damages to the corporate image of Renault. Who cares. They are ultimately responsible and sounds like they need to work out their corporate ethics before they worry about their image. They look BAD because they behave BADLY. What about NPJR’s image and chances of ever getting to drive in F1 again? That’s not recoverable. They owe him a debt that has no number for forcing this situation. I’m not a Nelson fan, but I feel for him. This is his life for crying out loud. I’m sure he was thinking that if he didn’t Flavio would ensure he wouldn’t race again anyway so he chose to follow the command. This is how it happens people.

        I hope all of you, provided that we get the information to prove so, will support NPJR and hope he gets another chance to drive at this level.

        Finally, I completely agree with transparency Keith. Good call. I wonder what the FIA thinks that they have to hide? Old rich people are ethically disgusting monsters IMO. Its time for the dragon to come out of the cave and let all see just how thick those decrepit scales are!

        1. usF1fanatic
          6th April 2010, 22:58

          NPJR faltered in not bringing it up until he was fired by Renault. Yes, he was not fully a man, but his father is, and I don’t know who his manager was/is, but I’m sure he is fully a man to. Either of these people should have known that about this incident soon after the race if not before, and probably told him to go along with the plan. Junior is not an innocent child with no clue of what was going on.
          I am not excusing Renault for what took place. They are the owners of the team, and if they couldn’t keep the team principal in check (which they didn’t) then the Renault name should be tarnished. But the Piquets showed that they lack integrity with how they handled this.

    2. He is. If you give someone a gun and tell them to shoot someone, you’re still responsible. Nice try Flavio, and you’re right that Nelson still had to do it, but he’s got immunity now.

      1. Giving someone a gun and an incentive to shoot someone places even more of the blame at your doorstep, and as Piquet is saying that he was forced (or at least felt forced) into doing it to keep his seet then the team coerced him into crashing.

      2. Mike "the bike" Schumacher
        11th September 2009, 22:01

        He should NOT have immunity. Ultimately it was him who risked the spectators and marshals lives.

        1. I agree, but it is just like in normal justice, give one immunity in a trade off for a testimony and it will enable you to catch the big guys.

        2. Thats exactly correct Mike, in fact Piquet should be sent to jail if it was up to me..

          Clearly Mosley has orchestrated this immunity, that man has too much power.

          In fact one could ask, how can Mosley give immunity to for cooperating, if Piquet has come forward willingly and has given the information willingly. Simply does not make sense. If Piquet did not give the information by his own choice than Mosley himself could have advised Piquet to do so.

          On the end of the day both Renault and Piquet are guilty, but the man who actually made it happen and risk the lives of many and is the most guilty of them all, will be spared.

      3. If you give a gun to someone and tell them that if they don’t shoot someone you’ll shoot them, then they’ll do it.

        I know Flav probably didn’t threaten to kill Piquet, but if you are under extreme pressure to keep your job, you’ll do anything to keep it.

        It doesn’t excuse his role, but it does provide an explanation.
        There’s a whole field of psychology dedicated to whether “just following orders” is a legitimate excuse. Mostly that relates to group psychology, whether low level Nazis can be excused for just following orders etc. but it could be applicable now.

        1. You’re right, Flav didn’t threaten to kill Piquet, so maybe this is a more applicable analogy…

          Lets say you want someone shot and you go to one of your employees and tell them that you’l give them a large sum of money (for Piquet this was his 2009 contract) if they shoot them. If they don’t they’ll lose their job.

          Clearly in this case the person making the suggestion would be unable in a legal trial to successfully argue that they had no responsibility. This is exactly the same scenario, only with the order to crash replacing the order to kill. I just don’t see how they hope to prevail with this argument. If anything it will only serve to make their punishment much more severe. Its one thing to make an effort to beat the charges. Its another to make such a ridiculous case for your defense. Renault just needs to accept responsibility and hope to move on.

      4. That’s why Charles Manson is in jail. To my recollection he didn’t physically kill, it was on his orders and influence! If only Flavio could see the inside of bars.

    3. Let me translate from Flavese: Just because I told him to do it doesn’t mean its my fault. He’s admitted it. Unbelievable.

      Apparently Flav’s assuredly expensive lawyers have not told him what a conspiracy is.

      And the suit against the Piquets is pretty dumb. The Nelsons will get to put Symonds and Flavio under oath for discovery. That’s not going to work out for them. They won’t be able to stonewall a court like they did the FIA.

      As for going to the cops, you know the police are always so keen on prosecuting one criminal for threatening to expose his coconspirators’ crimes for an increased share of the loot. Whatever, Flav.

      The irony here is that “extortion” by Flav’s definition is what he was doing to Piquet in Singapore.

  2. HounslowBusGarage
    11th September 2009, 21:38

    I tried to understand this sentence from Flavio
    “But the fact already that we have put a criminal plan to Piquet is because we have enough confidence to be successful – the team and myself.”
    And I’m still not sure what it means.

    For that reason in particular and for many others as well, I do not agree with your sentiment Keith, that greater transparency is automatically beneficial. Instead of the court of public opinion, I would prefer to trust to learned counsel, sitting in the cool atmosphere of a court room.
    This particular argument is going to get very messy and very damaging for a number of people’s careers. The further it can be kept from the possibly ill-informed opinions of the general public (read: lynch mob), the better.

    1. I agree with HounslowBusGarage.

      This is where a jury with no previous knowledge of the incident or perhaps F1 would be needed. Unfortunately that isn’t possible anymore due the leaks.

  3. Mike "the bike" Schumacher
    11th September 2009, 21:40

    Lets hope the F.I.A. don’t make more of a mess with this and get it over and done with quickly. Looks like Piquet is finally making a name for himself although I thought I heard that name before!!!!!!

  4. “The telemetry leaves little doubt that Piquet intentionally lost control of his car by applying an excessive amount of throttle at the exit of the corner.”

    So he crashed intentionally. Why has this been revealed only now? The speculation was there already after the race. Why didn’t anyone look into it then?

    Then to the question of “whose fault was it” if it in fact was intentionally.

    Piquet drove the car. That someone else may or may not have told him to do it is irrelevant. He should know that you don’t do something like this either on your own or on order from the team, so therefore he should be punished hard – probably out of F1 forever. If he was pressured to do it but didn’t say anything until no just makes things even worse.

    If the telemetry leaves little doubt that he did it intentionally, then why didn’t the team discover this during or after the race? Surely they would examine all that related to a crash – especially if it came to a surprise. If they did see it, they should have notified the stewards about it. But they didn’t. Why? In my view that is close to cheating.

    And if they openly with the driver discussed the scenario on how a crash could benefit them, then they should be reprimanded and hard. That is very unsportsmanlike.

    And if they did tell him to do it, then they should be out of F1 forever.

    1. Seems Piquet was questioned by one or more Renault engineers about his crash after the race, so presumably their suspicions were aroused immediately. I’d imagine that after years of looking at telemetry data, they could only draw the conclusion it was deliberate. What happened after is anyone’s guess…

  5. That link doesn’t work for me (want’s me to subscribe)

    Here is another:
    http://axisofoversteer.com/blog/documents/Fit%20Of%20PK.pdf

    1. Oh sorry, maybe that wasn’t an allowed link?

  6. This is definitely shady.
    So, tell me, why would Renault be threatening legal action against Piquet Jr. if they were the ones responsible in the first place? Flav said, “If I tell you to go rob a bank – afterwards, you decide whether to rob the bank or not.” He’s probably referring as him telling Piquet Jr. to rob the bank (intentionally crash), and it’s up to Nelson to do it or not. But, most likely, he purposely crashed at Singapore out of fear of his job (Flav was his boss!). The evidence is now out, and Renault can’t deny anything anymore. Now it’s up to the FIA to give an either too harsh/lenient (you really can’t be too harsh in this case) punishment to Renault and Godfather Flav. We’ll just have to see what happens to the Renault Mafia, because I believe it’s going to be pretty devastating to the team and the brand.

    1. this bank analogy originates from bernie:

      “If it is true, then I would have thought Nelson was in just as much trouble. If I tell you to go and rob a bank and you get caught, you can’t say, ‘Bernie told me to’,” the Briton said.

      1. Yes but in the bank analogy Piquet didn’t rob the bank, he disconnected the alarms or held the door open or something, allowing Alonso/Renault (although Alonso may well have been ignorant) to steal the money.

  7. He should NOT have immunity. Ultimately it was him who risked the spectators and marshals lives.

    Couldn’t agree more, whoever is involved should not have immunity esp not Piquet when he was driving the bloody thing so it was his choice!

    If the telemetry leaves little doubt that he did it intentionally, then why didn’t the team discover this during or after the race

    I think Piquet’s engineer looked it at the time and was concerned about it.

  8. OK………not to imply guilt….Let’s assume the NPJ’s remarks are correct.

    Max says the worst penalty would be to have Renault removed from the championship forever? FOREVER???

    That seems a bit long.

    What about fines, or a lifetime ban on individuals…Symonds…Briatore? Are these likely outcomes?

    And, touching on this other subject (Monza)…how ironic if Fisi switches to Ferrari only to run mid-pack or worse, while Sutil runs at the front, perhaps even wins, in the new “force” in F1. Plus, Ferrari conveniently drops him for next year, having previously arranged for one Fred A. to come on board…that assuming he isn’t found to be a participating member of the ongoing Piquetgate scandal.

    Ah, it feels good to have the real F1 show back in town….

    1. Fisi was set to retire after this season. Racing for Ferrari is his dream, probably more important than winning for ForceIndia. Ferrari is a legend amongst teams, ForceIndia cobbled up over night. No disrespect to those who work there. All teams and their personnel may have their passions, but there is a passion about Ferrari that doesn’t always agree with reason.

  9. HounslowBusGarage
    11th September 2009, 22:27

    Oh, the Roswelite. How wonderful to have free-ranging imagination!
    But yes, I agree; how wonderful it would be to have Force India at, say third and fouth, with the Red Team at eighth and ninth – particularly in Italy.
    Except that I do not think this will happen. I’m backing Kimi for the win!

  10. With immunity Piquet can race and have involvement in [other] FIA motor sports. I’d say life exclusion is on the cards for those directly involved.

    You’d think they would have broken the telemetry transmitter or lost the the data.

  11. Piquet is doomed whether the plan was his or Flav’s/Pat’s. There is no denying he intentionally caused a crash, so labelled with that now there is no guarantee he will ever race again. Certainly not in F1.

  12. Well since the leaks started, all we’ve been hearing consistently are the Piquet’s camp version of events. Max knows very well how the leaks are happening, and its deliberate. He is hell bent on causing as much pain to those tho he felt wronged him or opposed him, so in a way its his last stand before he’s forced to stand down.

    Immunity for Piquet doesn’t take into account if Piquet is in fact telling the truth. How can you prove Piquet is being honest when there were only 2 or 3 individual involved.

    Piquet is dishonest by his very actions. If he got signed for another 4 years he would be happy to get away with murder, but now he’s been sacked he’s spilling his guts. Why did it take him a whole year before he decided to talk, that alone is worthy of punishment.

    1. My thoughts exactly. This is S&Max’s last hurrah as FIA president.

      How’s this for a conspiracy theory? S&Max orders Nelson to crash deliberately, telling him that to do so will assure his 2009 seat – he’ll get his mate Bernie to lean on his mate Flav so Jnr gets the drive. Then when Flav takes a stand against S&Max in the FIA/FOTA war, S&Max tells Jnr it’s time for part B of the plan, to ‘fess up about the crash, but with one slight twist to the story. Jnr now points the finger at Flav, saying that he was the mastermind behind the plan. All Jnr has to do is make sure there is ‘some’ evidence (the FIA has never been strong on that side of things) pointing towards Flav, and bingo. As of 21 September, S&Max can make sure that Flav goes the way of Ron Dennis. Maybe an extra added bonus is that he sees off another one of those pesky manufacturer teams as well (as I think the chances of Renault sticking around after this affair are buckley’s to none) that he keeps warning us are so bad for the sport. Howzat? :)

  13. I smell CODE RED. :) So reminded of “A Few Good Men”.

    If you go by that movie, Nelson Piquet should not get immunity. He should be dishonorably discharged. In the end, he was the one who put the other drivers, support crew around that area, and spectators (if they were close enough) at risk. And he chose to do all this for an F1 seat in which he consistently underperformed.

    1. Fantastic movie:)

    2. He doesn’t have a drive in F1, and none of us respect him. That’s pretty much the equivalent of dishonourably discharged in this case.

  14. I’s hard to believe that all this info. is out and doing the rounds. Transparency is one thing but ad hoc leaking of damaging witness interviews is is quite a different issue altogether.

    I think they are all for the high jump if what we’ve seen so far is true. Piquet is already in mid-air, immunity or not.

    Pity about Renault the car maker, they have been sullied by this whatever happens next and the company did not deserve it. Carlos Ghosn must be mad as hell.

  15. I’ve just read in a spanish website that Flav is saying that “he did a lot for NPJr, even helped him to stay away from a 50 year old man he was having a relationship with”….I think the “dirty war” has just started…I don’t think neither of them is comin out well of this one.

    1. For flavio to say that just shows how little class the man has. Just because you are rich doesnt make you have class, and the people around you often define you also. Just look at flavio’s friends we already know what a peice of work bernie is and he has been linked with many other sporting violations.
      flavio’s true colors are now coming out.

      1. You’re right Martin, but we learned long ago that Flav has no class and is all about money, etc…this is just the latest example.

  16. The sooner we see the back of Flavio the better. Go back to watching QPR or whatever you do outside of F1.

    Bernie and Max are starting to look like angels in comparison!

    1. Please!!!!!!

    2. no just devils in a different disguise’s. and we know what max’s disguise is..

      1. Heh!

        My take is that either Piquet acted with a tremendous amount of forethought in order to put them in a vice or Symonds and Briatore are guilty.

        1. I dont believe that forethought is involved with Piquet…I do believe that he is getting even for the way he was treated and if what he says is true about the way he was equipped and treated at renault with alonso getting the prime stuff and he gets the leftovers then some of his complaints are valid.. but I still dont think he is the driver that his dad was.

  17. Piquet was promised immunity from FIA punishment in exchange for his testimony, but the ferderal courts never promished him that. So he could still get in trouble.
    I still admire his courage for coming clean, but I still don’t like him that much and regardless of his immunity, no one in Formula 1 wil hire him, and I doubt he will get a seat in Indy car.

    1. I wouldnt say that no one in f1 would hire him as we have seen some other drivers hired or brought into teams of dubious ability. What would be interesting is if the drivers wouold be willing to share the track with him after this. It is one thing to upset the race fans and the organizers, it is another to loose the respect and friendship of your fellow competitors. If the drivers association black balls him and says they wont share the track with him he’s done. If they are forced to race with him then they just take him out of every race at the start, he will walk away from the sport.
      Indy car is another matter, what he did in the rest of the world doesnt matter, but if he is suspected of doing it in a US race he will persecuted and prosecuted because of the revenue the tracks could loose, and the penealty will vary from state to state. Not to mention if he is involved in fixing and Vegas boys loose big because he screwed with the betting line then he has a new grouop of people to deal with that take money much more seriously the flavio or bernie ever thought of.

  18. There are accusations of blackmail, complaints about the media’s handling of the story, more material appearing online and statements flying around. Here’s a quick summary of how the story has developed in the last 24 hours.

    Weel, Keith, I think you should add another feature on this summary: Flavio is spreading a rumour, suggesting that Nelsinho is GAY.

    That history is that Nelson has a friend named Marc Cavezzale, who helped him in some stages of his career. He also followed Nelson in some races last year. The point is that Nelson Senior didn’t look the man with good eyes. He thought that, in a way, the man interfered in Nelsinho´s focus on race weekend and in Nelson´s career planning in general.

    The father has asked Flavio to forbid Marc entrance in Renault´s garage and also to move Nelson´s place from Chelsea to London, next Flavio own home.

    Flavio suggested this history in Italian, but telling it with “some colors” to the Brazilian press today.

    LINK: http://blogs.jovempan.uol.com.br/f1/2009/09/11/briatore-fala-e-jovem-pan-registra/

  19. Sorry, I messed up the quotes.

    There are accusations of blackmail, complaints about the media’s handling of the story, more material appearing online and statements flying around. Here’s a quick summary of how the story has developed in the last 24 hours.

    Weel, Keith, I think you should add another feature on this summary: Flavio is spreading a rumour, suggesting that Nelsinho is GAY.

    That history is that Nelson has a friend named Marc Cavezzale, who helped him in some stages of his career. He also followed Nelson in some races last year. The point is that Nelson Senior didn’t look the man with good eyes. He thought that, in a way, the man interfered in Nelsinho´s focus on race weekend and in Nelson´s career planning in general.

    The father has asked Flavio to forbid Marc entrance in Renault´s garage and also to move Nelson´s place from Chelsea to London, next Flavio own home.

    Flavio suggested this history in Italian, but telling it with “some colors” to the Brazilian press today.

    LINK: http://blogs.jovempan.uol.com.br/f1/2009/09/11/briatore-fala-e-jovem-pan-registra/

    1. Thanks for this link. Very interesting to hear Flavio’s voice.

      He seems to be really nervous, and his comment on Nelsinho’s relation is really pathetic. He sounds like a big wounded animal attacking violently everything around him.

      For me, this attitude, as well as the criminal claim he told Renault has started, are (IMHO) the best demonstration for the veracity of Nelsinho allegations.

      Other thing that surprises me a lot is the reaction of Pat Symonds. In my point of view, Pat declarations are the strongest prove for Nelsinho’s case. It seems to me, Pat has been not only the mastermind of all this, but Flavio’s executioner also.

      Amazing to watch big rats “leaving this ship”; well I would like to see those three rats (Nelsinho, Flavio and Pat) leaving F1 for the rest of their life.

      On the other hand, I think it’s very unfair not only for Renault as a Team, but for all the engineers and staff working in, being affected for this. It’s quite clear nobody knew anything about, so they should not pay for (criminal) actions committed by others.

      In any case, I’m afraid Renault will decide to leave F1 after the hearing.

      At the end, they will loose top management (hopefully), they will not have F Alonso, and I hardly see other experienced driver willing to drive for a team with restricted budget, a dog as a car and a Board of Directors asking themselves everyday why on earth they have to spend millions in being part of what F1 is today.

      500 families will be asking themselves how on earth their destiny depended on the actions of an Arrogant “Capo” (Flavio), a disciplined rat (Pat) and a spoiled brat with no character and dignity (Nelsinho).

      “Gangs of Renault” could be the title of this “Martin Scorsese’s thriller”.

  20. Great coverage Keith- I’ve bene busy and this helps to stay on top of developments a great deal.

    It’s starting to look more and more like niether Piquet nor Flavio (or Renault, for that matter) are going to come out of this very well.

  21. As far as I can see, Flavio is an odious bully. He appeared to bully Heikki and he seems to have been a complete monster to Piquet Jr. I too have heard the rumours that Becken has mentioned, that Flavio is saying Piquet Jr is gay. Firstly, who cares, but Flavio would do that to besmirch Piquet Jr’s name in a macho sport. How despicable.

    I’m glad to see that Piquet Jr is standing up to this man at last. It seems obvious the crash was deliberate – suspicions were raised at the time. Instead of continuing to be an immoral bully, Flavio should do the dignified thing and tell the truth and get the Hell out of Dodge.

    I also thought his comments on the no. 2 driver were revealing. He said that he doesn’t care about the no. 2 driver when he has Alonso in the team. Well, that’s great for the other driver isn’t it? Imaging if Whitmarsh had said that about Hamilton. Maybe that is why Alonso’s ego is so huge – he seems to be treated like some sort of God at Renault. The whole thing is just repulsive.

    1. You just brought out a great point and more info on flavio and how he runs a f1 team, he has his favorite( which has been either alonso or schumacher) and the number 2 driver(or the lackey) Fisichella complained that when he was with renault that he wasnt getting the same equipment as alonso..fast forward and now we have piquet making the same acusations.

    2. William Wilgus
      12th September 2009, 7:36

      Yeah, he said the second driver doesn’t matter, but immediately after that he said Grosjean was too young. That’s rather contradictory, no?

    3. I get the feeling Piquet may actually come out of this quite well.

  22. If Nelson wasn’t axed from his seat, then the truth will not come out. It’s just sour graping… He should be punished as well by endangering other people’s lives. it doesn’t matter if someone told him to do it or not.

  23. Regarding the leak. With Renault only coming up with a defense on the 21st, the leak has put enormous pressure on Symonds now. He comes across as at least complicit if not the mastermind of the plan, and he’s being judged in the court of public opinion as we speak. This might put additional pressure on him to cut a deal with the FIA in exchange for implicating Briotore – which may be what the FIA want.

    1. which may be what the FIA want.

      I agree :p

  24. “With immunity Piquet can race and have involvement in [other] FIA motor sports.”

    His immunity may have saved his license(s) but what team principal, in any racing series, would hire this loon bat-rat Piquet after this??

    Relative to Flabio giving the No. 2 driver inferior equipment; it may be an unfair approach, but to then complain about his results is ridiculous!

    Flab is way past his sell date, time to send him to the team principal’s old age home in a rocker next to Ron Dennis.

  25. There is a good old saying in french

    ” Si vous ne pouvez convaincre quelqu’un, confondent eux”

    Which translates into :-

    “If you cannot convince someone, confuse them”

    This is what Flav is doing. I think he doesn’t realize the fact that the average Formula One Fan is 100 folds intelligent than Piquet Jr.

    1. Forgot to add one little thing.

      I think Piquet will make a perfect “Suicide Bomber” .He’s put Hamas & Al-Qaida to shame ;)

  26. American version: If you can’t dazzle them with facts, blind them with bulls__t.

  27. I wouldn’t be suprised if the punishment would be more lenient for Renault if both Briatore and Symmonds resigned. Something similar to Ron Dennis and McLaren in the spygate scandal.

    And to think we all thought there would be no off track drama this year haha.

  28. 1. The telemetry shows that the driver applied too much throttle. It does not say why he did it.
    2. Piquet Jnr had several crahses during his time with Renault, who instructed him to cause these ones?

    1. Mussolini's Pet Cat
      12th September 2009, 10:17

      Prehaps, Mark, all those other crashes were just a smoke screen!!!

    2. Only the Singapore crash could be linked to a mad, illogical strategy and an eventual win for Alonso, so don’t get your point.

      1. Mussolini's Pet Cat
        12th September 2009, 10:42

        Use your imagination.

  29. Mussolini's Pet Cat
    12th September 2009, 10:19

    Well, if Renault are kicked out of F1, then Piquet should be banned from all sport for life too. Also, this Crash-gate (lol) really paves the way for Alonso going to Ferrari.

  30. For some reason you are missing this quote by Briatore:

    Q. Have you ever heard of a team issuing an instruction to a driver to crash?
    FB: No. Never. Fernando only won the race because Massa had a problem, Kubica had a problem. There were six or seven problems.
    I think Barrichello stopped in the same place as Piquet. What is possible on lap 14, with 40 laps to go, to determine somebody winning the race. There was another pit stop, another safety car. On lap 14, how is it possible to know what is going to happen? What is possible that on lap 14 you know what is going on?.

    And a commentary to some people:
    I think it is more interesting to talk about the FACTS, rather than feelings (Flavio is bad, I hate Alonso, Ham the best, Sato we miss you…). Everyone has his feelings and supports different people, so it is OK. But just feelings do not help to understand what happened, it leads only to critizise the people we hate. And for this (critizising the people we hate) it is not necessary anything wrong to happen…

  31. If Piquet was given “inferior equipment”, and inferior here is a relative term, he was probably driving with a car at some point that was perhaps 0.3seconds slower, till he got equal machinery. Now a team would expect him to drive up to the limit of the car, ie 0.3 – 0.5 seconds slower. He would not be judged by his team mates time, rather by his machines limitations. If he cant meet the machines limits then he’s no good.

  32. So Piquet admits, about a year after the event, that deliberately crashed in a move decided before the start of the race.

    It’s remarkably similar to Senna, who about a year after the event, admitted that he decided before the start of the race that he would take out Prost if he got ahead at the start of Suzuka ’90.

    Senna’s move involved another competitor, in an era when cars were less safe than they are now, and directly involved the two world champiobship protagonists. Piquet crashed into a wall, and at a much lower speed.

    1. Yeah! You are right!! So, what shall we do? Ban Senna from competing? Or maybe ban his nephew Bruno from racing in F1. Bananaman, are you from the banana republic?

  33. Ahh yes, intrigue, threats, deception… F1 at its usual best…

    1. I’ve just been watching the GP2 Monza sprint race and heard an interesting rumour from one of the commentators about the Piquet’s apparently trying to buy out the BMW Sauber team. So Nelson decides to buy a team to secure a drive for himself and I guess either way it should make for more good friction on track as well if they do…

      1. Another thought is yet again this is another huge scandal involving Alonso. Should we be asking more questions of Alonso’s and his integrity etc or is he just an innocent bystander in this particular case…

        1. As I suspected, Piquet Snr is now quoted as saying Alonso knew about the crash gate
          http://formula-one.speedtv.com/article/f1-alonso-knew-about-singapore-crash-piquet-sr/

  34. bananaman: I believe Senna admitted to making his mind up to take his racing line and stick to it. It wasn’t a decision to take out Prost. In his mind Prost got in his way. Senna just wasn’t going to give.

    Flav has a good point with his bank robbery comment. I think he knows that there are no concrete evidence against him. Which would be the case if it happened during a 3 way conversation. Pat and Flav won’t budge so its just Nelson screaming bloody murder. I think he plans on sitting back and letting Nelson dig himself into a hole. Nelson, in his accusations, is essentially going to incriminate himself and look like a complete idiot.

    For Nelson’s sake he better hope he has some Evidence and not just his accounts of conversations.

  35. It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people, with the honourable exception of Pat Symonds, who’s one of the straightest men in F1.

    NPJr is second rate, trading on his name, and appears to suffer from the usual problems of sons with heavy hitter fathers pushing them into the family business. To be managed by a bully like Flavio and going home to a three-time world champion father who will berate you for failure as well seems certain to make a man somewhat conflicted.

    Firstly, that telemetry shows a crash caused by driver action is hardly surprising: NPJr crashed in a large portion of the races he drove in, so that he didn’t control the car correctly is hardly news. Secondly, if Piquet really, honestly was ordered to cause a major accident — and I just don’t believe it, see below — then he should either have shouted at the time or at the very least made a deposition to a lawyer for future reference. To hold it back until he’s sacked is just stupid.

    Why don’t I believe it? Firstly, it’s too pre-meditated. It involves a fuel strategy agreed at some point prior to the start of Q3. Secondly, it’s too vague. It gets Alonso to the front of the grid on lap 14, but thereafter anything can happen. It isn’t a slam-dunk win. Thirdly, the stakes are too high. Maybe one win gets Renault to renew the team for a year, but if you get caught you’re all out not merely of a team but of a career, and if anyone gets hurt Renault pull out anyway. Fourthly, asking Piquet to get as far as lap fourteen before crashing is hardly the mark of a master criminal: plenty of races he didn’t make fourteen corners, never mind laps.

    And the idea that Briatore kept NPJr on for the purpose of persecuting him doesn’t stack up anyway. One reason why Renault were doing so badly over the past few seasons is that they’ve been running Briatore’s proteges (HK, NPJr) who simply aren’t quick enough. That Briatore gives his charges drives they don’t deserve is a conflict of interest, and Renault should worry about it, but once they _have_ got drives, his incentive to make them look as good as possible. If anything, were FB the Machiaveli he’s claimed to be, we’d be seeing a Zanardi/Ralph style fight over parts in which the favoured son gets the quick bits: why on earth would FB use his position to get his driver a drive, and then do everything possible to ruin his career?

    Piquet Jr wasn’t fast enough or clever enough. Piquet Sr wasn’t clever enough. Piquet Jr had the misfortune to be managed and advised by two rampant egomaniacs. Piquet Jr is the child who was expected to become a doctor by his consultant parents, flunked his A Levels, and is now blaming others to stop his father hitting him. Tragic. But not, I suspect, a crime by Renault.

    1. If pat symonds is involved in the planning and cover up of this. I would question his honorability.

  36. If you can read this post,and this analisis, then we can think that it is true that the crash was planned and obviously Alonso knew about it.
    Is in portuguese:

    “11/09/2009 às 15:55Fiz uma análise das corridas de Fernando Alonso no ano passado, levando em consideração a posição de largada (PL), a volta em que foi feito o primeiro pit-stop (1PS) em relação ao número total de voltas (TV), a fim de calcular qual o percentual de voltas dadas até o primeiro pit-stop (%). Organizei a tabela de acordo com a posição de largada, das melhores para as piores. Não levei em consideração os GPS de Mônaco (Alonso bateu antes do primeiro pit-stop), da Europa (Alonso abandonou na primeira volta), do Brasil (os pit-stops foram motivados pela necessidade de trocar pneus), e da Itália, por falta de dados do inforace. A TABELA FICOU DA SEGUINTE MANEIRA: GP PL 1PS/TV % Esp 2 16/66 24,24 Fran 3 15/70 21,42 Jap 4 18/67 26,86 Chi 4 14/56 25 Ale 5 19/67 28,35 Can 5 19/70 27,14 Gr.B. 6 20/60 33,33 Bélg 6 13/40 32,5 Mal 7 22/56 39,28 Tur 7 15/58 25,86 Hun 7 22/70 31,42 Bah 10 20/57 35,08 Aust 11 29/58 50 Cing 15 12/61 19,67 A tabela nos permite as seguintes conclusões: Somente nos GPs em que largou até o 3º lugar, o primeiro pit-stop foi feito antes de 25% da corrida; nos GPs em que largou a partir da 6ª posição, o primeiro pit-stop foi feito depois de decorridos mais de 30% da corrida (com exceção do GP da Turquia, 25,86%), sendo que, no GP da Austrália, em que obteve a pior classificação (sem contar Cingapura), o primeiro pit-stop foi feito na metade da prova. No GP de Cingapura a situação foi completamente diferente. Foi sua pior colocação no grid (o que deveria implicar numa maior quantidade de combustível e um percentual maior de voltas antes do primeiro pit-stop), mas, contrariando tudo o que aconteceu nas demais corridas, fez o primeiro pit-stop antes mesmo de completados 20% da corrida, coisa que não aconteceu nem mesmo quando largou entre os 4 primeiros e, naturalmente, deveria estar mais leve. Essa análise me força concluir que a Renault efetivamente planejou a batida de Nelsinho e elaborou a estratégia de Alonso contando com a batida premeditada. Espero que essa análise que fiz possa servir para embasar as opiniões dos comentaristas deste site.”

    link: http://colunistas.ig.com.br/flaviogomes/2009/09/11/milanesas-3/?allcomments

  37. well in a way Fota is right not to have this discussed in the public Arena, because after all Renault’s name as a brand and operation is at stake, and the will be very damaging to the business and to the thousands of employees that make it what it is…I would love to see Renault and its directors bounced out of F1 if the cheat is true…permanently

    1. Then they shouold be more careful of the people who they employee to carry out their competition wing.
      This is not the first time that Briatore has been involved in what would be considered outside the sporting regulations or rules.
      People need to realize these days there are to many camera recording everything that goes on. Just because you think you can do it and no one will know, isnt neccessarily the case anymore.
      If you want a secret kept then you had better not tell anyone or have more than 2 people involved.
      All the telemetry recorder along with engineers testimony plus video coverage and how questions are answered are going to make this a pretty rough world for Renault the companny to live in.
      If this goes badly, we will be back to 12 teams as either renault will withdraw from all competition or will be banned for a very long tiime.

  38. First thing, Piquet should not be given immunity. If this turns out to be true, he kept it a secret until he no longer had a ride in F1. No matter how this turns out, his integrity is none exsistant. Either he is lying now, or he lied for almost a year and only came foward for vengenance or black mail. Someone moral standards this low does not belong in any sport.
    Second, only those directly involved should be punished. If Renault’s corporate representation did not know of this and wish to come back next year with a team, they should be allowed. If the whole team knew of this plan they should all be banned: Flavio, Fernando, the engineers, anyone that knew and did not come foward.
    Stong, stern, but mostly fair action is required with this.

  39. I agree, Nelson looks the worst in this situation. He should not be treated as a noble sportsman coming forward with the truth. If this really happened than he lied and participated in it for his and his teams benefit. He should have secured his ride with performance and not crashing (which ironically he was really good at). Nelson you are low on many levels.

  40. http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/78580

    Williams’s Patrick Head made a statement wich I think is very wise.
    According to him, Renault (Symonds and Briatore) are 99% guilty and Piquet 1%.

  41. There always seems to be much politics associated with Formula 1. The politics is not kept behind closed doors, but played out to the public. It seems annoying and disappointing, but at least we know what is going on. Can all sports say this? To this end I commend the way the FIA handles conflict. The truth seems to prevail and is exposed in F! – This is why we get people who will fall by the wayside. Sadly for the Renault team and mainly for Briatore, their manipulation of the rules will cost them dearly. I hope that they enjoy the rest of 2009, because if justice prevails as I believe it will, I can see Briatore spending some considerable time behind bars. He should not have put F1 fan’s lives at risk with his personal greed.

  42. Well, I am still curious of what is going to happen with Pique. Hopefully he is not going to be given immunity.

  43. Dearie me,

    What a lot of knowalls after the fact.
    What facts?.

    So you would shoot someone if told too under threat of being shot. Doubt you have been there mate.
    What’s to stop you being shot anyway?

    Will you all crash your cars at high speed on the M25 tomorrow please or I will put a fluence on you.Ensure that you don’t hurt anyone else.
    He just didn’t have to do it. Poor driver no brain.
    Let his Dad down big time: As they do.

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