Briatore and Symonds step down as Renault accepts Singapore crash charge

2009 F1 season

Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds have left Renault

Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds have left Renault

The Renault F1 team has confirmed it will not contest the FIA’s charges against the team over the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

This surprising development is tantamount to an admission that Nelson Piquet Jnr was instructed to crash to help Fernando Alonso win the race.

Renault has also revealed its managing director Flavio Briatore and director of engineering: Pat Symonds have left the team. Only yesterday Symonds had been offered immunity from prosecution by the FIA in exchange for revealing further evidence.

Update: New Renault documents leaked today – see below.

A statement from Renault read:

The ING Renault F1 Team will not dispute the recent allegations made by the FIA concerning the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

It also wishes to state that its managing director, Flavio Briatore and its executive director of engineering, Pat Symonds, have left the team.

Before attending the hearing before the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on 21 September 2009, the team will not make any further comment.

The first question now is how the World Motor Sports Council will choose to punish the team on Monday.

At the very least, Renault must be stripped of their win at Singapore last year. That could mean Williams driver Nico Rosberg being promoted from second place to be handed his first F1 win. (Update: See Hakka’s comment on why this won’t happen)

It’s impossible to ignore the ramifications of what happened. One indirect consequence of Piquet’s crash was Ferrari’s botched pit stop for Felipe Massa, which cost him a likely race win. That could even have changed the outcome of the world championship.

However even if the points from Singapore are re-distributed, Lewis Hamilton will remains the 2008 drivers’ champion and Ferrari the 2008 constructors’ champions.

But the full scale of the punishment could be far greater than just the loss of a race victory. We could be looking at a fine comparable to McLaren’s $100m penalty in 2007, or a one-year ban such as that handed down to the Toyota rally team in 2002.

What do you think should be the consequences for Renault? Will they be racing at next weekend’s second Singapore Grand Prix?

Update: The Daily Mail has leaked the FIA documents on Renault in full. Here’s links to all of them:

Statement of Nelson Piquet Jnr to FIA
Supplementary Statement of Nelson Piquet Jnr to FIA
Letter from Lars Osterlind to Max Mosley
Report of Stewards’ investigation into the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix
2008 Singapore Grand Prix Transcript of Extracts from Renault file
Telemetry 1
Telemetry 2
Telemetry 3
Telemetry 4
Telemetry 5
Partial track map
Recovery vehicle locations
Letter from Flavio Briatore to Nelson Piquet Snr
Letter from Pierre de Coninck
Invitation to an extraordinary meeting of the WMSC

Renault Singapore crash controversy

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386 comments on Briatore and Symonds step down as Renault accepts Singapore crash charge

  1. OMG…
    All this comments anti-Alonso….
    Please, have a read, specially document nr 4…

    And now the Piquets what? Fia can’t do something against someone out of the team, just as happened with Ron Dennis…
    The piquets will have to eat some S***t…


  2. Net Sticks said on 16th September 2009, 21:05

    Now everybody who was pushing Piquet down the hill… think again. YES the race WAS FIXED! Yes it was those two cheaters up there that order Piquet Jr. crash. Of course some people will always say – I didn’t have to do it… Remember who the boss is. The boss orders, you do it, or get canned… But the most extraordinary thing about all this is that nobody talks about the one who really gain for the race fix cheating – FERNANDO ALONSO… Will we slip by without a scratch… Is he already under Ferrari protection, so FIA can’t touch him? He’s a cheater too – NEVER FORGET THAT ! It was Alonso who desperately need a win, not Renault… A word from Alonso to Flavio, from Flavio to Pat, the meeting with Piquet Jr. and it was in the sac. Crash after Fernando leaves the pits, on a place were there were not means of retrieving the car, safety car comes in… all the other had to come into the pits because they would be out of fuel. Race win to Alonso! Genial! That shows, for sure the spaniard character… a pig, a coward that would do everything to his neighbor if is makes him a step higher… HE makes me sick…

    • Your logic makes you sick. This is the same kind of mentality that puts lots of innocent people in jail. I’m not saying Alonso is innocent, but from the evidence Alonso stood little to gain from it all and didn’t have to be a party to it.

  3. Well dont know what to make of this scandal – but no one departs any job meekly unless there was evidence of cheating/admission to the board? – so they were given garden leave and escorted of the premises – sad and bad for all the people at renault left to face the music or lose their jobs ps alaonso did acknowledge it was the safety car that won him the race as to being in the know?

  4. Honestly, the minute I saw that Piquet Sr. was involved, I knew that Briatore and Symonds were screwed. Nelson does not mess around.

  5. Results should be wiped form the race


    • Net Sticks said on 17th September 2009, 14:08

      Keep dreaming… lol

      Massa brought the refueling machine with him after pitted… eheh

      That episode can only go to a F1 Gag Reel. lol

  6. the race should be re run with the 2008 cars nd drivers bar renault. massa got shafted

  7. Steph90 said on 16th September 2009, 22:13

    I wish Massa could be made champion Joe but it won’t happen. A brilliant season has been tainted.
    I know a lot of people have strong feelings regarding Alonso but we don’t know the evidence and if he even knew.

  8. Antifia said on 16th September 2009, 22:37

    Lets make sure 2010 will be an interesting season: Jean Todd becomes FIA president. Briatore gets a gig as Ferrari boss and brings the old Benetton technical clud with him: Symonds, Brown, Coughlan and Stephney. And to wrap things up, Schumacher and Alonso make the driver’s line up? Looking good? Not yet, we need a side kick: bring Ron Dennis back to Mclaren.

    • Net Sticks said on 17th September 2009, 14:11

      Please don’t tell me you really want Todd to be the next Hitler at FIA Headquarters… If we ALL complain about all the wrong thing done my Mosley – be sure – Todt will do worst in half the time – that man is natural born dictator – team will never have any control about rules, etc, decisions will be really bad and bias…

  9. So its now official: Renault is as low as Mclaren & Ferrari.
    No one likes cheaters

  10. Massa not winning the 2008 championship had absolutely nothing to do with Renault or anyone employed by them. Blame it on the fact he ended at least two races in the gravel traps, or on the engine failure in Hungary, or on the pit traffic light system, or just on the bloke in red who pressed the “green” button too soon. I felt sorry for Massa, listening to him on the radio at the end of Brazil last year, but Hamilton won that title fair and square, despite the FIA`s best efforts.

  11. Daffid said on 17th September 2009, 0:05

    Regardless of punishments from the FIA, how’s this for a guess… Singapore refuse Renault admission for this year?

    Is that possible? Would they have the authority to do that, or if they tried would anyone dare challenge them on that? Presumably even if the race officials didn’t, the Singapore authorities can refuse Renault workers admission to the country. And if that happened… really can’t see Renault sticking it out, perhaps not even finishing the season.

  12. Well, what a mess…..

    So the parties responsible for the cheating- at least some of them- have left the team and perhaps the sport overall? My big question is…what happens to those guys from here? And, was anyone else aware of the events before they went down?

    I can’t see Renault being thrown out..indeed, now that they key guys are out of the sport, I wonder if the FIA is going to take the same approach they took with Mclaren at the start of the year- force out the head guy(s), then issue a slap on the wrist?

    That’s what I would normally would say is going to happen, but this is a much more serious case. And about Nelson Jr.- am I the only person who thinks the FIA won’t issue a Super License to a driver who has crashed on purpose?

  13. jacaru said on 17th September 2009, 1:14

    I just heard the president of the Real Automovil Club of Spain and member of the World Motorsport Council, Carlos Gracia, speak on the radio. As I understood it, he made, more less, three statements asuming the crash was made on purpose:

    1) Formula 1 does not need people like Briatore and Symonds.
    2) While Symonds an Briatore should be held responsible, to his own opinion it’s nonsense to offer inmunity to Piquet as the executor of the action.
    3) Information is being leaked prematurely by publishers closely related to FIA in what seems to be the personal interest of (someone) involved. Some of this information has not even reached the Word Council yet.

    He also mentioned that it would be a disaster for Renault to be expelled. Renault provides engines and other material to other F1 teams, GP2, World Series…

  14. slighlty different angle on events, but does anyone think that this may help Ari Vatanen? Maybe this will convince people that there is a need for a culture change in FIA and F1, and Ari is the best man for the job? It would certainly be a silver lining if this was to be true.

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