Fernando Alonso should renounce his Singapore Grand Prix ‘win’


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. 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.

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

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


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

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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???

  6. 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!

  7. 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!!!

  8. 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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