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’

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  1. Just my opinion but on the balance of probability Alonso knew what was going to happen. I would say the plan was hatched days before they even arrived at the circuit. there would be no evidence. NPJ has no axe to grind with Alonso so was not going to drop him in it. But I reckon Alonso knew about it all.

    I wonder whether NPJ will ever get to drive at a decent level again? I mean lets not forget he was the one that actually drove his car into the wall, and has only spoken beacuse he has immunity and also knows no team will ever have him back in F1 because he wasn’t good enough.
    Even if it was all Symonds’ idea, any proper sportsman would tell him where to go and with the backing of his team could easily get Symonds sacked for blackmail. That’s why I think the drivers were LEADING the crash idea days before the race.

    • So Renault knew days beforehand that Alonso would have fuel pump issues in Q2 & therefore have to start from 15th on the grid? Or did they plan the fuel pump failure as well, solely in order to instigate plan B?

      Sheesh. If that is the standard of your ‘evidence’ that Alonso knew, then no wonder people remain unconvinced.

  2. I was just thinking about 1994. Why the hell didn’t the FIA strip Schumacher of the crown? that crash was disgusting. he was never a hero or a true sportsman. Racing incident, my ****.

  3. manatcna said on 17th September 2009, 21:38

    Is Alonso guilty of anything? We don’t know

    If it’s proved that he is or was involved in a conspiracy or a cover up will he be (heavily) punished? No

    Will he emerge from this mess covered in roses? Yes

    In Scottish Law there is not just guilty or innocent – there is also a “Not Proven” verdict – perhaps this is how it will all end.

  4. If FIA has no intention to change the outcome of the race, ALO may not even have the possibility to renounce to it. Instead, he should state loud and clear that he didn’t deserve that win and that he feels gutted.

    Talking about knowing, in the radio transcripts ALO’s engineer is complaining about pitting so early (he got fuel for another two laps), then P.Symon went with something like “I am worried about his mechanical problem, let pit him now”, the engineer complaint again and P.Simon said “it will be OK” To me either the engineer is a good actor and this is a broadway play or he knew nothing, and probably the same goes for ALO

  5. Carl 27 said on 17th September 2009, 22:14

    I think If Alonso speaks wether is apologising or whatever, all the people that are wanting him to be “ban forever” from F1…, will say that they were right and obviously because he spoke, he was guilty. If he decided not to speak (I think that’ll work better for him) he won’t deserve the win because he is a cheat and he knew everything about the piquet-gate and the spy-gate (which I want to remember that was Mc-Laren the team involved, and LH could have had information about this as well, but that doesn’t make neither of them guilty) So to me is clear, if you don’t like Alonso make him guilty of everything bad in your life (same for the hammy bashers) if you like him, he is the most amazing guy on earth.

  6. How can the FIA allow any person to have total control of an F1 team…ie, the teams manager…and also allow that person to manage the racing affairs of an individual driver as that driver’s personal manager ?

    Surely there is here a clear conflict of interest ?

    Briatore controlled the interests of drivers for other teams whilst at the same time had yet other drivers working for the team he was supposed to be leading and giving all his attention to. Am I missing something here ?

  7. Joe Garnett said on 17th September 2009, 22:37

    I agree. Schumacher’s was surely one of the worst acts in sporting history. That didn’t change the events of one race. It changed the events of an entire season. Also what he did ensured it would go right for him. The Renault thing could have backfired, unlikely but it wasn’t a certainty.

  8. Br Soler said on 17th September 2009, 22:41

    If there wasn´t the Singapura incident, that first pit stop wasn´t to be done under yellow flag.
    That yellow caused a crowded pitlane that was the principal cause of Ferrari-Massa problem that make him lost the race, or, at least several points. (Of course I´m Braziliam).

    Its impossible now to recover the Singapura result and even championship result. A Brazilian make the worst act off cheating (like loosing a box fight on purpose) and another brazilian take the consequences.(sorry for the english)

  9. How would that impact the drivers championship and mfgrs. championship from 2008? Do you feel the final standings of both WC should be re-shuffled as well depending on the impact of Alonso renouncing his victory?

  10. Alonso should hand the trophey over to Rosberg, its the right thing to do. I dont believe that he knew of the crash deal, but we will all find out early next week.
    If it turns out he knew, he will be shamed as what happened to Hamilton in Melbourne. If he didnt know, there will be FIA conspiracy theories from the whacko’s

  11. Come on guys, this stuff happens all the time. Go back to the last F1 race in 1996…JV rear wheel comes off , to make sure that Hill wins WDC.

  12. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th September 2009, 9:12

    Matthew Syed puts the ‘was it the worst act of cheating ever’ into perspective:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/formula_1/article6839134.ece

    I never knew the East German doping stuff was so highly organised. I’ll have to do some more reading on that.

  13. HounslowBusGarage said on 18th September 2009, 11:42

    I read Matthew Syed’s piece with interest, but I was a little surprised that he did not mention the Festina case of doping in professional cycling. This was organised and institutionalised cheating which also risked the short-term and long-term health of participants. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festina_affair
    The GDR state sponsorship of chemical development of athletes is not unique. It seems to have occured all across Eastern Europe and the former SU in order to build national sporting success. The Festina Affair was for the benefit of nothing more substantial than a cycling team.

  14. Alonso knew about it for sure.Rennault couldnt have gone through it without discussing it with Alonso.

  15. The thought of Alonso giving back the trophy is ludicrous. Unless it can be proven that Alonso played a _direct role_ in the matter, he is also an “innocent” victim just like Piquet (who has been granted immunity even though he’s the one who actually crashed the car).

    Either the entire race is tainted or it isn’t. All the results were affected by Piquet’s accident. If you truly believe that Alonso should give up the trophy, the logical course would be to nullify the results altogether. Then Hamilton loses 6 points and hands to WC trophy to Felipe Massa.

    Ridiculous, right???

  16. Alonso, always a cheat. he’s always in big scandals. Let his place be taken by a younger driver, fresh blood on the grid. He shld give up the trophy he got from cheating, making Nico 1st and Lewis 2nd. Alonso cheat cheat, cheat!! i wldnt be suprised if they had said he came up with the idea! what a shame!

  17. cadwern said on 23rd September 2009, 17:52

    Surely it is irrelevent if alonso knew or not, if the stewardd had finnd something illegal about a car the driver can get disqualified even though he didn’t know about it. Also, just because Alonso said he was lucky doesn’t prove anything, he isn’t going to say that he won because his team cheated!!!

  18. If you recall a quote from Alonso when he won his first champoinship. [I will be a better world champion than tha german Schumacher] well in under half the time in F1 he is already embroilded in 3 cheating scandals and still claims he knew nothing about them and is innocent, is treating all F1 fans as idiots and with contempt. So my words to the cheating spaniard are { hand in your super licenceand be a honorable man for a change….

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