Fernando Alonso should renounce his Singapore Grand Prix ‘win’

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Nelson Piquet Jnr, Renault, Singapore, 2008F1 has been dogged by scandal after scandal in recent years.

In 2005 we had the Indianapolis farce, two years later brought the ‘spygate’ row, last year was dominated by Mosley’s sadomasochism scandal, and the first half of this year was taken up with the budget cap crisis.

But F1′s latest row, over Renault ordering Nelson Piquet Jnr to crash during the Singapore Grand Prix, is surely the worst yet. Indeed one writer has already called it the worst act of cheating in any sport.

I won’t claim a sufficiently encyclopaedic knowledge of sport to make that claim, although it’s gained some favourable responses on Twitter. But it’s hard to think of a worse example from F1′s history.

There have, of course, been other occasions where drivers have crashed or spun on purpose. Alain Prost hit Ayrton Senna in 1989, and Senna hit Prost back in 1990. Michael Schumacher hit Damon Hill in 1994 and Jacques Villeneuve in 1997.

Like Piquet’s crash, these all involved drivers risking the lives of themselves and others, though admittedly to varying degrees – Senna piled into Prost at around 150mph, Schumacher was doing rather less when he took out Hill.

But what sets the Renault case apart is the offensive cynicism of a team ordering one driver to risk injury or worse in a crash to benefit his team mate.

It was not just Piquet at risk – but spectators, marshals and other drivers. The impact showered debris across the track – and recent accidents have left us in no doubt of the terrible risks that presents.

It’s one thing to have a team like McLaren being caught using a rival team’s confidential information. That’s obviously wrong and must be punished – but it doesn’t put anyone’s life at risk.

The FIA may have offered Piquet immunity from punishment but he should not be immune from criticism. Renault’s plan was disgusting but his willingness to go along with it in the hope of promoting his career was cowardly.

It raises all sorts of questions. Was anyone besides Briatore, Symonds and Piquet involved? Had Renault, or any other team, tried this sort of thing before? Have they done since?

And given the manner in which he scored this ‘victory’, should Fernando Alonso now publicly deny the credit for it? I think he should – regardless of whether he knew about it or not (and so far there is no evidence that indicates he was aware of it).

A two-times world champion has no need of tainted triumphs handed to him in a corrupt fashion. He proved that well enough with his victory at Fuji in the very next race.

In 2006 he told the world he no longer considered F1 a sport after being handed a joke of a penalty by the Monza stewards. Now it’s time for Alonso to tell us his no longer considers Singapore 2008 one of his Grand Prix wins.

Renault Singapore crash controversy

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286 comments on Fernando Alonso should renounce his Singapore Grand Prix ‘win’

  1. Nirupam said on 17th September 2009, 8:42

    Frankly I am sick of hearing all these Alonso bashing staff. Without any sort of evidence whatsoever we have almost conclulded that he knew all these and definitely he was part of it. How absurd! I am an Alonso fan, but if it is proved that he knew all, I will be the first one to give him a bash. Till then can we please stop making all these random assumptions?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 17th September 2009, 8:59

      I haven’t made any assumption that Alonso was guilty:

      Given the manner in which he scored this ‘victory’, should Fernando Alonso now publicly deny the credit for it? I think he should – regardless of whether he knew about it or not (and so far there is no evidence that indicates he was aware of it).

      • Bigbadderboom said on 17th September 2009, 9:48

        Don’t always agree with you Keith but got to say, why are people so defensive of Alonso when he is not being attacked. ITS NOT ABOUT GUILT PEOPLE. It’s about doing the right thing, Alonso actually has an opportunity to score some points for himself and Renault with the public. For tyhe record I don’t think he is guilty in terms of planning or even being compliant.

      • Nirupam said on 17th September 2009, 10:15

        Hi Keith,

        I haven’t made any assumption that Alonso was guilty:

        you did not, but so many others did! In fact the comments section starts with one such assummption. All what I want to say is we do prefer one driver or another. But only because I don’t like certain driver, I should not post biased comments.

  2. Firstly, Alonso has done nothing wrong. If your going to point fingers at Alonso simply because he is under Renault pay roll, then you need to point them at the entire team as well as any one who had links to the team.

    Really, this whole “Alonso also knew” stuff is utter crap. You sound like a bunch of kids.

    Until the council has released their verdict, Renault are still innocent. Just because the two people at the heart of the whole thing have been fired, does not mean the team is guilty.

    And really, why on earth would Flav go and tell Alonso of his plans? He probably did it to keep Alonso in the team more than anything, and if Alonso knew the result was staged, it would not have been a reason to stay.

    • patrickl said on 17th September 2009, 10:15

      It’s not about doing something wrong, it’s about doing the right thing.

      The win is tainted and he should expres his disgust over the situation and say that that is not how he wants to win.

    • How are they innocent when they accepted guilt? The hearing will now only have to determine the punishment for this conspiracy.

  3. tEQUILLA sLAMMER said on 17th September 2009, 9:29

    I wish all these journos would stop the sensationalism and insistence that someone could have been injured or killed in this pretty lame crash!!! Piquet just full throttled it when he was turning left and spun it backwards into the wall!!! All the ****** about “Spectators or other drivers could have been injured or killed” is a load of *****!! #:) Flashio may have wanted to influence the race but he sure as hell wasnt looking to get anyone killed!!! #:)

  4. Kutigz said on 17th September 2009, 9:40

    Argue as much as you all want friends; but it just isn’t earthly & heavenly possible that Alonso doesn’t know an inch about this grande plan! There is not an absolute coincedence to the pit, refill, crash, win strategy that Renault took!

  5. I can certainly go along with the argument that Alonso didn’t know anything about the incident before the race. I don’t for one second think any driver would allow another driver to risk their life so he could win a race. He would have told everyone not to be so damn stupid.
    What I do think is possible, though, is that he was made aware after the race of what had been done. Surely all these people talk to each on a regular basis. Wouldn’t Piquet want Alonso to know what a massive favour he had done for him and get credit for it. When Alonso said how lucky he was to win that race, wouldn’t Piquet have said “Well, actually …” After all, the reason he did it, we assume, was to try and gain favour with the team.
    If that was the case, it raises the question as to what Alonso should have done about it. Would he have had a resposibility to report the matter or would it have been enough for him to express his disgust (which I am sure he would have felt). Presumably it would have affected his relationship with the team. My mind doesn’t stretch back far enough to remember if I saw any signs of Alonso disaffaction with the team following Singapore.
    To me, if Alonso did know it would have been after the event in which case the only question he would have to answer is what did he do about it.

    • That’s the whole problem… I am a BIG BIG Alonso fan, I’ve been cheering for him since his Minardi days, but I just can’t go along with the idea that he didn’t know anything until a couple of weeks ago. He’d have to be really stupid. He probably found out after the race, after the joy of winning a “lucky” race was over. Then what could he do? He could have been a very proud and elegant man and told everyone about his suspicions, but… how would he ever PROVE it? I mean, Piquet was the guy DOING it and he has a lawsuit against him going on. Alonso would be making “false allegations” based on something he only suspected, and had no way to prove. Against his team-mate, manager and team. Isn’t that a BIT difficult to decide on?

      • And that’s probably also the reason why he hasn’t said anything yet. If he says “I didn’t know anything up until now” he’ll be lying. If he says the truth, it would be something like “I didn’t know when I won, but aftewards I suspected something was fishy, but I just didn’t say anything because it was too much trouble and I don’t take honesty and truth seriously enough to jeopardize my career.”

        I think the BEST thing he can do is to shut his mouth about this forever, but not because he’s in the wrong, but because it’s a very very complex situation.

        • patrickl said on 17th September 2009, 13:47

          Actually Alonso DID say that he didn’t know about it until now.

          I’m exactly like you BTW. Have been admiring Alonso since his Minardi days. His esteem in my eyes got a huge dent after his McLaren episode (being beaten by a rookie, “divo” behavior, betraying the team).

          In this case I cannot believe that Alonso knew nothing. The idea that he just hears what his strategy is and doesn’t care at all just doesn’t sound right. In any case he should have realized afterwards what happened.

          Not sure how he should have dealt with that though. I guess the right thing to do would be to go to the FIA, but that would mean to betray the team.

          On the other hand Ecclestone also stated that he knew about this. I find it utterly bizarre that he wouldn’t have gone to Mosley with that and/or that not more came from that.

          • I personally don’t have a position on Alonso’s culpability here, but here’s an interesting piece by The Times where it is reported that Alonso claimed that it was his idea to do the short fuel strategy in Singapore 08:
            http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/formula_1/article6837681.ece

            Alonso explained that his early pitstop was his idea, something contradicted by the transcript of the Renault pitwall tapes leaked this week, which suggest the call was made by Symonds.

            “I did think about running a one-stop strategy,” Alonso said, “but all that fuel weight would have been too punishing for the brakes because there are no long straights here to keep them cool. Instead I chose a short, aggressive first stint and just waited to see what would happen.”

          • Patrickl said on 18th September 2009, 13:03

            So first he says he doesn’t want anything to do with strategy and then he claims it’s his idea all along and there was a good reason for it.

            Sounds like someone trying to cover up a lie …

  6. Spaniard said on 17th September 2009, 9:51

    Lets not assume Alonso is guilty of being part of this nasty plot for now.

    If that is the case, he really does not need to get involved in anything, including making statements about renouncing wins. That is the job of the F1 governing body, not Alonso. What Alonso needs to do is focus on the remainder of the season and try to ignore the circus going on around him.

    • patrickl said on 17th September 2009, 10:18

      Why can’t Alonso say that he doesn’t like that his team cheated to hand him that win?

      That has nothing to do with wether he was involved in the crash or not.

      • Nirupam said on 17th September 2009, 10:58

        Most probably it is Renault contract that instructs him not to do so. May be we will have something after the hearing is over.

        • Antifia said on 17th September 2009, 13:44

          you mean a clause in the lines “in case we decide to cheat and let you know, you cannot tell”? And in what Mickey Mouse juridic system such a clause wouldn’t be null and void?

  7. I think thats one of the reasons why Alonso got kicked out of Mclaren. Hamilton didn’t want to crash for him! He is so dominant, and now he can probably blame everything on Renault. I am sure he knows about it, and probably the one who initiated the idea too. I seriously think that FIA should investigate him too.

    • Nirupam said on 17th September 2009, 10:19

      I am sure he knows about it

      Looks like you certainly do have something which can prove Alonso knew it all. Why don’t you help FIA by giving them the informations? (Or else you surely can make a lot of money by providing those to any of the news channels/websites!) :D

      • ILoveVettel said on 17th September 2009, 21:41

        LOL… I complete agree with you Nirupam :D

      • alphaa said on 18th September 2009, 6:46

        Looks like you certainly do have something which can prove Alonso knew it all. Why don’t you help FIA by giving them the informations? (Or else you surely can make a lot of money by providing those to any of the news channels/websites!)

        Weren’t we allow to make comment? I personally think that he knew about it. Thats my opinion, not fact nor evidence you meat head.
        How can you not knew about it, when you were part of the few people who made decision for team? I can let him get away initiating the idea, but as part of the team you must had feel strange about the sudden crash and the win. If massa didnt mess up his pit, I think people would of think twice about the strange crash.

        Can anyone here prove that he didnt know about it? I would like to hear more.

        • Nirupam said on 18th September 2009, 10:45

          When you are making an aligation then is not it your responsibility to prove it? I would like you to go through this
          You will find all the radio transcripts available from the event as well.

  8. Ashes1991 said on 17th September 2009, 10:33

    I am not one of Alonso’s biggest fans at all. But I am pretty sure he had no idea, the main thing that makes mr think that is obviously the evidence pointing towards him not knowing. And the fact the way he celebrated afterwards. He looked really happy and proud of him self. Which I think makes him have no knowledge of this, other wise if he did know about this he is a very sad man, and has dripped down my estimations even more.

    I can’t see Alonso as a driver being happy knowing the only way he won, was through cheating, I just can’t see it at all. Mind you, Schumacher is still happy to say he is 7 times world champion after Adelaide 1994.

  9. well alonso was strong on singapore last year and then had that incident to screw up his qualifying but if he didnt have that he probably would of won it. I doubt it very much alonso knew what Flavio was up to and alonso was just lead to believe it was just luck. but alonso isnt stupid i reckon he had thoughts how it happend but couldn’t believe it and was just told by flavio “dont ask” or “the least you know the better” phrases. Alonso wont be affected by this because Piquet jnr was the fallout guy not alonso and Flavio treats Alonso like a son and he wouldnt want to risk destoying his career for 1 win.

  10. He should renounce the win…if Piquet renounces his second place at Hockenheim. If Alonso was unaware of any plot, they’re both just beneficiaries of the timing of a pit stop and a safety car.

    At least Alonso won…I’m still sure Piquet could have put up a better fight against Hamilton.

  11. Hugo Bourgeois said on 17th September 2009, 11:15

    Keith, I absolutely agree to everything you say here. This is why people read your website so much! Why don’t you stand for FIA president?

  12. SLK Maniac said on 17th September 2009, 11:21

    So what if they were cheating, they’re not the first and they definitely won’t be the last. There is simply no real way it will ever be stopped as long it it relies on integrity and trust. But if the odd bit of cheating can generate this much publicity and excitement surely that can’t be all bad can it?

  13. S Hughes said on 17th September 2009, 11:55

    Totally agree Keith. But this is the man who didn’t come out and condemn the Spanish racists who were his fans who disgustingly abused Lewis Hamilton. This is the guy who publicly said he would try and help Massa to win the championship so that his old teammate wouldn’t. This is the man who was in possession of proof of technical espionage and instead of going to the FIA about it, tried to blackmail his own team into giving him preferential treatment over his teammate. This man has no honour, only a win at all costs mindset, who is too arrogant and egotistical to ever apologise or admit he is wrong. So, don’t hold your breath.

    He might be pressured into it, but I’m sure he would do it dragging his feet every inch of the way.

    • really? said on 17th September 2009, 12:16

      we all know you don’t love him… it is OK, but it is getting boring

    • Yeah, let’s build a fire and BURN HIM!!!
      Not voicing your opinion about racism and liking one pilot better than another is disgusting!

    • Nirupam said on 17th September 2009, 20:04

      S Hughes,
      You don’t get sick writing same sort of lines again and again, do you?

    • As the only defense presented on behalf of Alonso here against a confounding aggregation of nefarious circumstances are his present denials and his purported character, Mr. Hughes’ reference to the clear record of Alonso’s recent mendacity is relevant and compelling. I find each of his recitations both refreshing and cogent.

  14. All this talk of Alonso knowning about the crash is shrouding the fact this is a Renault issue and is bigger than any one man.

    Do you remember seeing Alonso sitting talking with Briatore after the race and Alonso was smiling with joy and saying to Briatore “It was the saftey car that won it for me”. The way he was saying it and his body language was of a man that really did not know anything about the crash DURING the race. Briatore stood there and just nodded to Alonso and didnt really say much (in the back of his mind he was thinking “yeah… sure i caused the crash on purpose”).

    It is very very possible that AFTER the ceremony, Alonso was told about the crash but looking back at his driving and also his attitude after winning the race, he didnt seem to know anything at that point.

  15. FAST LADA said on 17th September 2009, 13:02

    There is SO much speculation, I think that Hamilton should hand back his championship due to Glock letting him through……

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