Did more foul play by Renault scupper Schumacher in the 2006 title decider?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Fisichella and Schumacher collided in the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix
Fisichella and Schumacher collided in the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix

Following Renault’s admission that Nelson Piquet Jnr crashed during the Singapore Grand Prix last year to help Fernando Alonso win, you have to wonder whether anything similar has happened before.

In the 2006 title-decider at Interlagos, Michael Schumacher’s slim title chances were ruined when he made contact with Alonso’s then team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella.

Did Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds have another one of their chats, this time with Fisichella, before that race and tell him to use any opportunity to hinder Schumacher?

Here’s a replay of the incident:

Schumacher passed Fisichella around the outside of turn one, but soon after his Ferrari lurched sideways and he had to crawl around an entire lap of the track. Fisichella’s front wing had made contact with the left-rear tyre, causing a puncture.

Although this ruined Schumacher’s race and virtually guaranteed his championship chances were over, it’s worth remembering how small his chances of winning the title were to begin with.

He went into the race ten points behind Alonso. Schumacher could only win the title by claiming victory in the race with Alonso finishing outside the top eight.

Of course, Schumacher was no saint when it came to championship-deciders, and as he went past Fisichella the next man up the road was Alonso. Briatore would have been wary of the possibility of Schumacher and Alonso tangling – after all, Schumacher won his first title for Briatore in 1994 by colliding with Damon Hill.

We’ve seen championship protagonists’ team mates get involved in title deciders before.

An incensed Jacques Villeneuve blasted Eddie Irvine after being held up by Schumacher’s team mate in qualifying for the 1997 European Grand Prix.

At Suzuka in 1999 a lapped David Coulthard made life difficult for Schumacher, who was chasing Coulthard’s team mate Mika Hakkinen. Schumacher was doing so in support of Irvine’s title bid.

We could go back even further to the 1964 title-decider in Mexico, when Graham Hill collided with Lorenzo Bandini. Bandini’s Ferrari team mate John Surtees claimed the title.

Was Fisichella briefed not to let Schumacher past without contact? I wouldn’t have given any credence to the suggest before. But in the light of what we’ve learned about last year’s race at Singapore questions like this will inevitably be asked.

On Monday the World Motor Sports Council will surely want to know if Singapore was a one-off for Renault, or whether it’s happened before.

Here’s my original report on the 2006 Brazilian Grand Prix

Do you think this was another deliberate crash involving a Renault? Have there been any others? Have your say in the comments.

Renault Singapore crash controversy

182 comments on “Did more foul play by Renault scupper Schumacher in the 2006 title decider?”

  1. Coulthard lifting off on the racing line in front of Schumi at Spa 1988 comes to mind…

    1. Coulthard wasn’t racing in 1988! Neither was schumi!

    2. Loved the quote from Coulthard I heard recently when talking about the confrontation in the pits afterwards where Coulthard said that he thinks he could have taken Schumi if it came to blows cos he still had his helmet on..!!

      1. that was funny.

    3. IIRC the telemetry showed DC had done nothing of the sort, it was all in Schumi’s mind, he screwed up and as usual blamed someone else, wonderful how he endeavored to keep his reputation as flawless by always pinning the responsibility somewhere else.

      1. well I remember this race very well. We all saw exactly what happen. Coulthard clearly did not respect the blue flag since he was being lapped. This in itself tells us that Coulthard was up to something. this went on for two laps or so. When Shumacher got frustrated, he prepared to overtake Coulthard and got really close to pass him on the next turn (gotta remember it was wet drenching down with rain). Coulthard then decided to lift off on the most unusual of places.

        DC is not stupid he knew that Schu would not see jack having all that rain.. anyway that incident can be disputed indefinitely but, I think DC was bit at wrong there…

        1. and you suppose David saw Schumacher in conditions where schumacher didn’t see David? Hm…did Rosberg last year help Hamilton get the title by slowing down on the racing line in front of Kimi in Spa so he had to avoid him by running of track?

          Schumacher knew David was there, he was 2-3 seconds faster, he coul have waited and pass him safely. and it was a straight and he could have passed him on the left side.

          Webber talked **** about Kimi in Silverstone quali. Kimi moved to the left and Webber wanted him to stay on the right and it was tha same situation, except for the rain.

        2. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/low/motorsport/formula_one/3047680.stm

          The 32-year-old revealed his fears as he admitted for the first time that he may have been at fault in his infamous incident with Michael Schumacher in Belgium five years ago.


          “The stewards looked at the data and I hadn’t braked, so it was just all brushed under the carpet. The reality is that I lifted to let him pass me, but I lifted in heavy spray on the racing line. You should never do that. I would never do that now.”

      2. i agree, well at least he tried to keep his reputation flawless :D

        Like i said, Schumacher was 2-3 seconds faster in that lap, he smacked into the back of David and blamed him for lifting.

        as for team mates helping out – you forgot one of the most obvius helpers in the past 10 years. it was 2003 german GP where Rubens Barrichello caused an accident and took out Kimi Raikkonen. After the race he admited he was told by Todt to do anything to stop Kimi for getting ahead and if you remember, the Finn lost the title by 2-3 points, a lot less than he would have got in that race!

        not to mention all the help Schumacher got from the FIA..banning McLaren’s perfectly legal third brake pedal, allowing Ferrari to run TC, changing Michelin tyres mid season, banning Berlilium,…

  2. Keith, one fears it is an Pandora’s box that has just been opened. If it was true, with the emphasis being on if, then it would be very ironic that fisi is now in red, especially since MSc cldnt b.

  3. This is sad thing about “Crashgate”. Now not even the diehard F1 fan can believe any past results without this sort of speculation going on.

    We all know teammates will make life difficult for opposing drivers, up to the letter of the law. But, now we are looking further back at previous races doubting the true intentions of drivers, when we should be reminiscing on the wonderful on track battles that were fought out fairly.

    Did Fisi make deliberate contact? I don’t want to know to be honest.
    Next thing, you’ll be telling me Santa Claus doesn’t exist. :D

    1. Next thing, you’ll be telling me Santa Claus doesn’t exist.

      Need to have a quiet word with you Chalky…

      1. excellentt…we all know about santa

      2. can’t agree more with chalky. whats in the past should stay in the past

  4. Telling Fisi to hold Schumacher up is perfectly fair game, isn’t it?

    It’s rather different from the Norbert Fontana allegations in 1997.

  5. Hhhhm tin foil hats stuff this I think. There was no need for Renault to try this the title was nearly guarrenteed anyway for Alonso. Also if Fisi had misjudged it and ploughed into the back of Schumi he would have blown the whole plan by making it obvious. I think thats a conspiracy theory we can dismiss.

  6. I don’t believe in coincidences, but I don’t think Fisi gave Schumacher a puncture deliberately. If it was deliberate, all he had to do was lock up at turn 1 and slide into him.

    Speaking of not believing in coincidences, I’ve always thought the three identical qualifying times in the ’97 race at Jerez were extremely suspicious…

    1. I have also always wondered about that too LewisC…odds are nigh on impossible and yet in a title decider the three protagonists all qualify with the same time???? As far as Fisi doing it to Schumi…possibly but its in the past…let it lie there.

    2. That was just downright weird. But hard to see what anyone had to gain from it.

      1. “The Science of Discworld” investigated the Jerez 1997 and concluded there was a 1 in 1000 chance of it happening in any given race under probability theory, given a few (broad) assumptions. There have been 816 races in the F1 World Championship so far and only one has featured such an eventuality, so it’s within the realms of probability, if a rather amazing coincidence of timing.

        1. Congratulations, Alianora – thanks to you I’ve managed to get my girlfriend, who’s a fan of Terry Pratchett but not F1 – to read a comment on this site!

        2. 1 in a 1000 if two cars recorded identical times. It is 1 in 1000*1000 for a third car to join.

          Uncle Bernie controls the timing, ha?

          That is nothing compared to last year robbing of the title from Massa with two Toyotas doing almost similar times on the last lap while half a lap apart with variable conditions and variable driving styles.

          And YES Colthard did lift off to let Schumacher pass in 1998 as per team order but on the racing line which is more dangerous than what NPJ did by huge margin. Schumacher said then “Do you want to kill me?”


          God > infinity

          1. God > infinity

            Can you possibly prove it mathematically?

          2. The book didn’t say 1 in 1000 for two people to get the same time. It said 1 in 1000 for three people to get the same time (i.e. what happened in Jerez 1997).

            Keith, pleased to see your girlfriend is reading your blog :) and I like her taste in reading material. If you (or she) wants to look it up, it’s Chapter 31 of Book 1, Chapter 31 (“Nine Times Out Of Ten”).

          3. I don’t think “God > infinity” is mathematically provable, incidentally. Infinity, according to logic (of which mathematics is a subset), must include everything. (The definition of everything varies according to which version of infinity is in use – see “The Science of Discworld III” for more on this).

            “Everything” in logic includes all things.

            God is a thing (unless you’re an atheist, in which case it’s an idea, which would make its comparison with infinity beyond the scope of mathematics).

            Therefore, the following must be the case in a non-atheist universe:

            God >= infinity (where >= means “less than or equal to)

            I also wonder how we managed to get to this point from the antics of Nelson Piquet Jr. and co…

          4. Surely the onus should be for the overtaker to make the pass? Is it not more sensible for the backmarker to stay on his line. The overtaker will then know exactly where the backmarker’s car placement will be, his braking points etc. I have always thought it more dangerous for aslower/less experienced car/driver combination to spend time checking mirrors and going offline!

        3. just now in Bulgaria the same loto winning number was drawn twice in a row. i think there is a far smaller chance for that and i doubt it happened anywhere in the world in all these hunderds of years of lottery drwing.

    3. This was one Qualifying That I will never forget in my life… I was watching and was Like WOW…… 3 people to the dot……

    4. I don’t see how it is suspicious.

      Even if teams were to plan amongst each other and set the exact same time, to get it right to the thousandth of a second is beyond any mastermind’s capability.

      1. … I think the question is whether the timing was rigged…

  7. considering MSCH’s chances at the very beginning of the weekend, it just doesn’t make sense for me, however, after all the scandals and background activities damaged F1 recently, you just can’t ignore things like this.

  8. The most upsetting thing about this is…. how damn good those pre-2009 cars looked… :(

    Thanks for rubbing it in!

  9. Okay.. but this also raises questions about 1994 when Flavio was in charge of Schumi who took Hill out of the final race to claim the championship

    1. And in 1994 pit-to-car radio was not recorded, as far as I know.

      Flav would have known that Hill was only a few seconds behind, and what are the chances that he’d have asked Schu to see whether he could drive the car out of the wall and just far enough…

    2. Mussolini's Pet Cat
      18th September 2009, 12:09

      Oh come on, we’ve always known Schumacher cheated that day, he even tried the same trick with Villeneuve all those years later. He didnt need any help from Flav on those occasions.

    3. or the hidden software option 13 that activated Traction Control, or the fire at Hockenheim caused by Benetton illegally removing a fuel filter from the refuelling rig …

      1. Or the car running illegally low

  10. It is very possible and we can only continue to guess how many times, but this surely is more oppurtunistic needing for the situation to arise.

    The Singapore crash was totally premeditated and makes it far more heinous.

    Lastly whilst I am not Alonso fan I fully believe he was in on Singapore. I can’t believe a double WC would race on such a fuel strategy without wanting to know why let alone agree to it without knowing what he stood to gain.

    1. If you read the documents, they fuelled him so that he could stop around lap 15, then either take a big load on and two-stop, or a smaller load and three-stop. He wouldn’t necessarily have known why they switched him to a two-stopper.

    2. doesn’t it make sense to fuel light? as you’d be the first to pit before a possible safety car.

  11. No, it was perfect legal racing.

  12. I think we should try and not speculate about maybe’s that are that far in the past, we can only take that it has happened and may do again, and we must prevent it from happening again.

    Many a sporting event has been contraversially won, and it will be no different in the future, but as long as the FIA just investigates possiblities in the future then we can move on.

  13. i just don’t want to know about things we “don’t know” yet…
    i guess that in a sport where such tremendous loads of money is present, the singapoure-gate is just the top of the iceberg. and the “game” of the powerful oligarch in f1 is best to keep in secret until everyone gets disillusioned from F1…

    1. as Donald Rumsfeld once said,

      There are things that we didn’t know. But there are things now that we know that we “DONT KNOW”!

      lol damn classic that one

      1. At least get it right then.

        “because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know”.

        1. And the one thing we can all know from this is- Donald Rumsfeld is trying to deceive us.

        2. im pretty pretty sure that amongst one of the briefings he concluded: “there are things that we now know we don’t know.” I remember it clearly so stfu.

          anyway in relation to the questions that he was asked, it was a duuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhh type of a reply, and an excuse to never answer the question

          and most importantly it was funny, as it always will be.

  14. Mussolini's Pet Cat
    18th September 2009, 12:11

    Do you think Flav had anything to do with starting the second world war?? Let’s just blame him for everything.

    1. Yess! Flav was the one to draft the Treaty of Versailles :p

      1. Mussolini's Pet Cat
        18th September 2009, 12:24

        Thought as much. What about global warming, can we pin that on him too???

        1. Yess!! I blame Flav for global warming too!! Look at the dramatic decrease of his thongs size!!!

          You want more proof?? HERE it is ;)

          1. Here it is :)

            Flav Himself:(more proof)

          2. Ooh, XHTML apparently doesn’t work here. At least for the pics. But it works on the forums .

          3. You just scarred me.

          4. that was simply disgusting…do not share those links with us again. my computer cannot stand the vomit or the cleanup afterwards.

          5. Ahhhh my EYES!
            If I knew who you were or where you lived, I’d sue you for damages.

          6. LOL … om%g..

          7. lol, where do you find this stuff? actually i don’t want to know. Awful, just awful:)

          8. I only have myself to blame, but I really didn’t want to see that. o-(

          9. Oh god thats horrible!!

            I’m going to have to go watch “Malena” several times now to cleanse my eyes

    2. Good one!!!!!!!!!! VERY GOOD ONE!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Well autosport reports Piquet snr has said his son told the FIA about Singapore last year but they couldn’t do anything until he made a statement. All this could have been sorted ages ago!

    1. Given their penchant for offering ‘immunity’ these days, why didn’t they offer it to Piquet Jnr straight away?

      1. We didn’t know Nelson was the source of the investigation until the point when the investigation information started getting leaked. It’s entirely possible that Nelson had immunity all along and the FIA was using the “anonymity” part of its whistle-blowing procedure correctly. If the whistle-blowing procedure had been followed correctly, we should never have known who was giving the information which caused Renault to be investigated and therefore be in the dark as to why Piquet Jr. was suddenly granted immunity.

  16. yeah, keith, i think fisichella did that on purpose so that alonso could finish ahead of michael because that was the only chance for alonso to win the championship.

    alonso does not deserve any of the world titles he got. he is not a good driver, and he does not know how to prepare cars.

    in 2007, he was totally unfair when complaining about mclaren and dennis giving preference to lh, because they had equal opportunities.

    let’s kick alonso out of the sport!

    bla bla

    …COME ON!!!

    1. Why are Alonso fans so sensitive?

      1. sorry, fourth paragraph should have been written as:

        in the recent times, mclaren also cheated, but now the fingers only point to renault. and to alonso. alonso did not get 2007 title because money, mclaren, the media, and bernie wanted (needed) hamilton to get a title. what they did not expect is him proving not to be mature and reliable enough not to take advantage of the situation.

        and fifth:
        and then in 2008, the title had to go to hamilton (again, money, media, uk, etc.). and he almost lose to massa! couldn;t it be that glock was instructed to let him overtake?

        1. No they had to make an under the table deal with Ferrari to not exclude the McLaren drivers and kill the championship off in return for guaranteeing that a Ferrari driver wins the title. Or how else can you explain a 17 point lead evaporating in 2 races. Hmmm let see how low the probability of that happing naturally.

          Uncle Bernie controls the timings, I am the show :)

          God > infinity

          1. God > infinity

            Can you possibly prove it mathematically?

          2. In Islam we say “Allah Akbar” which literally means “God is bigger” not biggest or greatest, only bigger.

            This incomplete sentence is meant to raise curiosity at the listener/reader’s mind as to bigger that what?

            Well bigger than anything we can think of and since man created the concept of infinity, then the Creator is bigger than all His creations, then God > infinity :)

            Ali Adams

            Before you ask for explanation of this too see my blog at http://aliadams.blog.com :)

          3. Dude. Religious beliefs aside, here is a simple truth: Predictions are not real. What you’re doing on your blog, is picking out things that suit what you want to demonstrate. Metaphorical parallels can be drawn pretty much between any two concepts if you just try hard enough. It doesn’t prove any mystical, ancient meaning.

            This a racing site. Leave it be that and keep other things to yourself please.

          4. The Crazies have found you Keith. :)

          5. Did Webber deliberately do the same thing to Hamilton in Germany `09 ?

    2. whats your point?

      1. my point is above…

    3. What about Hamilton and Kovalinen? They don’t have equal opportunities? Kovalinen is always there to back up Hamilton. Need to pay a bit of attention.

      1. do you really think kova and lh have equal opportunities? do you really think mclaren (and the brits) does not prefer lh to win over kova? kova is far worst driver than lh, that’s why he is there… to back up hamilton!

  17. come on keith, schumacher finished 4th not 5th!

    1. Actually that phrase shouldn’t have been in there at all, have deleted it.

  18. This is what Flavio had to say a few years back:

    “I don’t think Michael Schumacher forgets how to drive a formula one car. It is just Ferrari having a bad year. Michael does the best possible job with a limited car. But I think Fernando can be as great even if Michael already has seven championships – a crazy number. Fernando has the potential to do that because he is made to be a champion. He is also much calmer than Schumacher. Forget what you see in public – where Alonso is smiling and Schumacher is concentrated. I know them both very well and I promise you Fernando has the ice in his blood – more than Michael, who is boiling inside with feeling.”

    Any opinions guys?

    1. Flavio is a flambouyant manager. No doubts about that. I respect him for that. Now as far as his words are concerned. He is bit of motor mouth . Never take his comments seriously. What he said could be right. but the problem is he might say the exact opposite too suddenly. But one thing is very very sure. 2 Drivers who really fit Flavio’s profile are Schumacher and Alonso. And they both have won titles for him. I can never imagine a Hakkinen, Raikkonen or Hamilton winning a Championship with Flavio.

    2. Thanks for giving me a good laugh with that quote!

      Alonso is the guy who cracked under the pressure of having Lewis Hamilton as a team-mate: there were incidents in 07 where Alonso locked-up wildly and left the circuit (Canada); there were incidents were Alonso lost his rag, ranting on the radio to his team, with his inability to pass his rookie team-mate (USA). But these are small potatoes compared to just how badly Alonso cracked, mentally, in 07. Alonso was so unable to establish dominance over Lewis that Alonso blackmailed Big Ron with ‘Spygate’, of which Ron was then completely unaware, to give Alonso no: 1 status and preferential treatment. When Ron declined, Alonso even went as far as to get a Spanish representative placed in the McLaren garage at the final race to check that he was getting equal treatment with Lewis! (The representative confirmed that he was getting equal treatment.)

      Now, people always cite the McLaren episode; they forget Renault. At Renault, Alonso declared that the team didn’t want him to win! Incredible. (And, ironic, considering what we now know.) Alonso also declared that Fisi wasn’t helping him enough to win the title! In fact, Alonso cited these two reasons for his move to McLaren.

      And not forgetting the brake-testing incident Alonso pulled on Doornbos in 06!

      Alonso is clearly a quick driver; but no-one should seriously suggest that he’s strong, mentally; or that he he’s ‘calm’ and ‘has ice in his blood’. Lol. Perhaps Flavio has conflated Alonso with Kimi! Now, the ice-man really does seem to have ice in his blood: nothing seems to faze him. As such, he’d be great in a title-decider. Shame about his motivation and commitment…

      1. you are sooooo biased, man!

  19. Got nothing better to write about, right Keith?
    C’mon, I think it’s very much irrelevant… Seriously, one thing is saying “If Schumacher tries to get past you and snatch the title from your team-mate, make it REALLY hard”, another one is saying “Throw yourself into a wall and ruin your car so the safety car gets in the track in perfect timing with our pit-stop strategy”.

    1. I agree.

      I mean some “conspiracy” theories aren’t really interesting enough to actually qualify as conspiracy theories.

      e.g. Anyone notice how Rubens Barrichello held off Jenson Button at the Italian GP and refused to let him past?

      I think he was deliberately staying ahead, as part of a conspiracy to finish ahead of Jenson, thereby securing the maximum 10 world championship points, rather than the 8 he would have achieved by letting Jenson past.

      1. Formula 1 is a racing sport. What else should Barrichello do… Let people through and be generous with them and finish last and be the nice guy. Of course He will try to hold off his title rival. What is there a conspiracy to finish first. It is pure simple racing that is it.

      2. Anyone notice how Rubens Barrichello held off Jenson Button at the Italian GP and refused to let him past?

        I think he was deliberately staying ahead, as part of a conspiracy to finish ahead of Jenson, thereby securing the maximum 10 world championship points, rather than the 8 he would have achieved by letting Jenson past.

        you’ll find that he wrote nothing like that. The point and the questions simply is: Is it possible that Flavio has arranged something similar to this before?, well what do you think?

        I think it is a perfectly logical question to ask and think about.

    2. Got nothing better to write about, right Keith?

      You mean other than the massive scandal that everyone’s talking about, that’s in all the newspapers and on the TV? That my inbox is full of questions about? No, not really. It’s not a nice story but it’s still the biggest story in F1. I don’t like it any more than you do.

      1. I’m glad you mentioned it Keith, i always thought about this since the first news broke out about Flavio’s shenanigans.

        i think it’s been done before, and this is why i said in a previous comment that all races involving Flavio and Pat should be reviewed…..

      2. yeah i agree with u Ronman, alot of things get left uncovered in Formula 1 so it’s good to have a little dig around trying to unearth things.

  20. Keith now I think you are reaching too far.

    In this case it looks more like Fisichella was keeping his nose in trying to force Schumacher off line and into an error. If he really wanted to take Schumacher out he could easily have “missed” his brake point.

    1. yes but you are not taking into account a prearranged condition. If Fisi was advised to do something, then he would have decided on a plan and execute only “that” plan. Frankly it is alot safer to puncture a tyre than to smash into someone and risk your own life…

      Anyway, this is all what if scenarios, nothing more. And these are indeed questions to ask now.

      However in saying that I believe things like Piquet are going to happen in the future again. Especially with improved electronics and technology – it is going to be very easy for someone in the team to program a little chip to remotely make the car, the brakes the fuel the electronics do something that no one else knows about and off goes your car INTO THE WALL. Once done – hit reset wipe memory – no evidence.

      So if teams wanna do something like this, they will find a way, and im certain something like this will happen again.

    2. Fair enough Patrickl, it is ‘out there’ I get that.

  21. Wow this scandal has really got to you Keith. What’s with the mad conspiracies?

    1. guys he just wants us to chat about it. no biggie.

    2. This time eleven and a bit months ago the idea of Piquet crashing deliberately was a ‘mad conspiracy’. I know because I happily told people I thought it was a mad conspiracy.

      Now we know Renault have done this once it’s reasonable to ask have they done it before (or since). On this occasion they had a motive and an opportunity. That’s my point.

      1. Agree with you Keith. 1 Month back in your forum while discussing this It looked Crazy and everybody was saying that such a thing cannot happen. Now Renault and Flavio everybody admitted it this looked pretty normal.

        I think when ever a conspiracy theory comes up. IT is first considered crazy. Slowly once the facts sink in. Please just get used to it.

        1. Well flavio admitted it but I dont believe he di it to save the team. He doesnt care about anyone but flavio, he is bernie’s close friend for god’s sake. That 1 fact tell you everything you need to know. Those 2 are the slime of the earth, if they moved into my neighborhood property values would go down and crime would probably go up and I would have to move away to keep my belongings.

      2. this is hardly a conspiracy anymore.

    1. Think THIS is more important than that.

      1. we all know you hate Alonso, relax ;)

      2. and Piquet Sr also hates Alonso :)

    2. Yeah, I agree with Irvine too. Fine to want to clean the sport up, no-one would want, for example, football to go back to the days of endless hacking and broken legs, but the ‘moral outrage’ of it all is tiresome. It reminds me of the fuss that was made on Big Brother when someone is caught saying one thing to someone’s face and another behind their back… like every human being always has for the sake of a quiet life…

    3. Yeah well, in that case what I would like to ask Eddie ‘the mouth that roared’ Irvine, is to pray tell us about what he saw, in which team, to the benefit of which drivers…

  22. Renault looked so cool with that colour scheme.

  23. Ha! Well, in the words of Reagan’s speechwriter Peggy Noonan, it would irresponsible not to speculate…

  24. I agree with many of the other comments. It’s a shame what ‘crashgate’ has brought. Surely as F1 fans we shouldn’t try to be picking out any form of possible cheating, no matter how small! I remember after BRazil 07 people were claiming foul play with Hamilton’s car and the cut out etc. Personally this seems a lot more plausible of a possible example of cheating.

    1. What about Brazil 2008?

      I think we seriously have to consider the possibility that Hamilton deliberately passed Glock on the final lap as part of a conspiracy to secure 5th place, thereby unfairly depriving Felipe Massa of the WDC by scoring more points than him.

  25. I think Renault might have proposed it, and considering how Fisi’s drive was on the way out … I’d hate to think it. I wish I could be sure it didn’t happen.

    However, can I just point out that all sport seems to be crooked these days? As an example – yesterday an Irish cyclist won a stage on the Tour of Spain. He was the first Irish rider to win a stage on a major tour since 1992, so he was interviewed on the evening sports bulletin on the radio. He mentioned – rather casually!! – that the rider who placed second in the stage cycled beside him and asked “how much?” for him to hand over the stage win. The other rider is in contention for the overall win – I didn’t get his name, since I don’t follow the sport. This revelation made my jaw drop, but neither of the journalists discussing the story made further reference to it.

    Just saying…

    1. It may have been a joke…

    2. There does seem to be a lot of it around at the moment – diving in football, the blood thing in rugby, there’s a match-rigging accusation in lawn bowling as well!

      1. It’s not just “at the moment”. Mosley was complaining that several teams were cheating or bending the rules in 1999.

    3. Fisichella was re-signed for 2007 almost immediately after it was announced in late 2005 that Alonso was going to McLaren. So no, Fisi’s drive didn’t depend on him ruining Schumi’s race.

      Besides which, I find it difficult to believe that any driver could position their car with such precision as to pierce the tyre of an opponent, especially since the driver can’t see their front wing from the cockpit.

      1. I find it difficult to believe that any driver could position their car with such precision

        an F1 driver perhaps? lol

  26. One of the damaging side effects of Singapore will be people going back through races and trying to find any other cases of teammates crashing.

    I personally don’t think anything unsavoury happened in the 2006 title decider, and that it was just a racing incident.

  27. I am so fed up with all this, there are 5 articles a day about conspiracy theories and now this? My God, how do you people even have the energy to discuss all of this. Is it possible to even find a motosport site that gives more attention to actual racing?

    1. How do you find the energy to read it?

  28. We’re all quick to jump all over renault (because of the unethical, unsafe, and unsporting nature of the crash in singpore). in thinking back further, the the fia’s role in making the last couple of drivers championships closer than they had to be in the end sticks out more than so-called team orders.

    1. I guess you’re thinking of Monza in ’06, Spa in ’08?

      They way things are going it looks like they don’t need to intervene this year, though.

      1. They way things are going it looks like they don’t need to intervene this year, though.

        Well, at this point saying this could be considered little bit naive! (Given the current circumstances)

        And don’t forget there are still four races to come…


        1. Even then, don’t expect anything to be out of the question until the last day of November, or whenever it is the results are finalized and the championship is ended!

      2. they could still mess with Button a bit. watch this space!

  29. Senna took Prost out in Japan, was it 1991? to win the championship only for Prost to return the favour a year later when Prost drove for Ferrari.

    1. Prost was the culprit in 89 & Senna in 90.

  30. I have an idea, let’s just make races like single-lap qualifying but for the whole 300km, in cars supplied by the guy who seals the boxes in Deal or No Deal, then compare everyone’s times. That should solve everything.

  31. I feel privileged to have been born to watch in my own time, perhaps the best grand prix driver of all times. Schumacher was imperious and peerless. I like the fact that he doesn’t make much of himself. He always refrains from any efforts whatsoever to compare him with other greats of the sport. Well, enough of the love fest of a DRIVING DOG with his DRIVING GOD.

    I”LL JUST NOT THINK THAT A CHARACTER LIKE FISICHELLA WOULD DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT!!! Sorry… for making it all caps… but i believe like that much in Fisichella.

    P.S: Yes, i’m a big Michael fan.

    1. Schumey was treated unfairly by the media and fans.

      When Coulthard let Hakkinen through in the last corner. No one comments about it. It is pre arranged and agreed. It is normal. But with Barchiello and Schumey it is bad. People Booed.

      When Senna and Prost Crash into each other for title they are considered aggressive racers. But if schumi crashes it is considered unsporting

      When Alosno parked his car in front of Hamilton in Belgium at pits it was fine. When he used the weight Distribution data from the red car to improve McLaren it was okay. But when Schumey parked his car in Monaco it was disgrace.

      Not sure if the media and fans were really fair on Schumey. But then the 7 world championships and the race wins like 2004 Magny Cours with 4 pit stops no one should really underestimate him as a driver.

      1. “It is pre arranged and agreed. It is normal. But with Barchiello and Schumey it is bad.”

        It’s cerainly wasn’t considered normal. There was plenty uproar about that too.

        Still, the key word being “agreed” makes it less worse yes.

        Just like rape is really bad and having sex with a prostitute is much less bad.

        1. uncalled for, uncorrect and unrelated example patrickl, bordering on offensive to be frank.

          1. *incorrect – oops

        2. surely an other example could have been used?

        3. Seriously, dude. Get a grip.

        4. Don’t see a problem with the example. It’s one of the most obvious examples of consent.

          1. What are you on about? ‘Obvious to whom and how? Why in the world would you bring such examples in here?

          2. Why not?

            I’m not saying anyones actions equate to either. Just that there are different shades of “bad” behavior.

          3. Point is this: there is something a bit twisted in the fact that those are the examples you chose, and it is compounded by the fact that you call them obvious. Are horrible situations that women face a regular frame of reference for you, or what? Rape isn’t “really bad” – it’s a horrible, violent, scarring thing.
            ‘Nuff said.

          4. What’s obvious about them is that it’s about consent.

            You have nuff said yes, maybe you should try to “read nuff” for a change.

          5. What’s obvious is that you have no sense of why it’s wrong to trivialize certain things.

          6. It’s an example. Get over yourself and stop overreacting.

          7. … one you’d never use if you knew anyone who’d lived it.

      2. The difference my friend is that everybody may have a thing or two in their racing career. Your boy, did it 3-4 times a year EVERY YEAR of his racing career.

        1. The difference my friend is that everybody may have DONE a thing or two in their racing career. Your boy, did it 3-4 times a year EVERY YEAR of his racing career

          Sorry for that

          1. Who? Schumacher?

            What did he do 3-4 times per year? Make his team mate let him past? I doubt it was that often.

            Did you even read what the discussion was actually about?

  32. Thats crazy. Schumacher’s title chances were very slim anyway. Fisichella and Schumacher’s contact was just a racing incident.

  33. I’m sure one could argue that many of the teams have been involved in dubious tactics…

  34. i was gutted when that happened but i was told on ITV that it was debris off the track that punctured his tyre since the track wasn’t cleaned properly.

  35. Charlie Whiting knew since last year reportedly, stupid if FIA did and couldn’t do anything because it wasn’t a statement.
    Oh and RBR will carry some Thai beer sponsorship at Suzuka

  36. I don’t see anything dodgy here.
    If Fisi was ordered to take Schumacher out you’d think he would hit him properly and guarantee that he’d be out of the race.

    But I’m not gonna jump all over Keith for speculating. Everyone else is going to start doing this soon as well, at least here we’ve got the view of someone who knows what he’s talking about rather than a reactionary Daily Mail journalist or something.

  37. I agreed with you Keith, obviously Renault is guilty of the crashgate, but I am not so sured what are the benefits of bringing this Fisi subject now. (I love this site, but I’m a bit dissapointed with this particular post, sorry) Mosley has what he wanted; R.Dennis and F. Briatore’s heads. I find quite disgusted by the fact that now there won’t be procedings because Symonds and Flav are out. Did the FIA president want justice? more likely revenge.

  38. I don’t buy it – that is a stretch of big proportions…

  39. I think so, the man is the same, but he is do diabolical than he did it againt a driver who already won 2 WC for him… that’s the kinda man Flavio is…

  40. For Schumacher’s result in the 2006 Brazil GP to mean ANYHING, it was necessary for Alonso to finish outside the points. As it was, he finished P2 behind Massa. Sure it’s conceivable that Alonso would have finished behind Schumacher, but he would still likely be on the podium and still 8 points clear to the WDC.

    What we’re doing here is taking an incident from a previous F1 era (literally, with it being Schumacher’s finale) and comparing it to Piquet. Fisichella did nothing deliberate, no more deliberate than the Ferrari 1-2 teamtag on Hamilton in Brazil 2007 that ultimately led to Alonso passing Hamilton and Hamilton running wide.

  41. I agree that the recent allegations and revelations provide some motivation to think about past scenes in a potentially different light, but I don’t think that there was any involvement of that kind. These kinds of contacts, to some degree, are bound to happen, because overtaking at these kinds of speed with extreme precision is just very hard. Also, the situation for Renault was a much different one from Singapore 2008, they basically just had to pull off a reliable performance — and for Michael Schumacher, the abysmal qualifying result because of technical problems all but sealed him not winning the race. On both sides, I didn’t see any ground for foul play at the time, and the current stories haven’t changed my opinion on that, honestly.

  42. Were`nt the 05 and 06 championships won with some sort of damper system that was found to be illegal and banned ?

  43. Yes, as the 2007 was nearly won with a Mclaren car “very similar” to the Ferrari.

  44. At the 2006 German GP, the stewards ruled the mass damper system illegal. At that point, there were a few other teams who had developed the device after Renault initially did. Essentially, the 2006 WDC/WCC team won with a then-banned device, but there was controversy over how correct the ruling was. The FIA deemed it to be an movable aerodynamic device or some rubbish excuse. This, along with Bridgestone’s gap to Michelin closing, Ferrari dominated the scene from July on until Alonso won at Suzuka.

  45. I think this possibility is a tad too calculated, is it possible that the contact was not intentional and could just be considered as contact?

  46. Its great discussion and all but I think this article is a bit unnecessary. You can call for conspiracy in each F1 title.

  47. I don’t think this could be a deliberate crash. For one thing, it is completely against Giancarlo’s nature to do a deliberate crash (for example, he’d completely ruined his own race in Turkey of that year in an attempt to avoid a collision and didn’t appear to consider taking Schumacher off as an option when trying to figure out how to stop Michael from taking advantage of Alonso’s tyre problems in China 2006).

    For another, the radio transmissions for that race have been on the internet for three years. While Renault hadn’t posted it on its official site the way it did for the 2005 title-winning race (PDF), there is no indication that the radio transcript was leaked. If Renault had something to hide, it would not have allowed anything like this level of detail to be released voluntarily.

    As far as I could see, Brazil was a simple case of Michael thinking he saw a gap that wasn’t quite big enough for what he wanted to do, and Giancarlo not being particularly inclined to give way once both were committed to the corner. Nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes an accident is simply an accident.

  48. This seems like an out of character wild speculation. To answer the title of the post, in a word, no.

  49. Rubbish! There’s no way a driver could deliberately puncture another driver’s tyre using a front wing they can’t even see out of the cockpit. It is suggestive journalism like this that is ruining Formula One.

    1. I can’t agree more…..

    2. Mark Hitchcock
      21st September 2009, 2:41

      No Al, it’s drivers deliberately crashing their cars and teams caring more about money than racing that is ruining Formula One.

      You’re as bad as Badoer. Not everything is the fault of the media.

  50. I would like to know all of F1’s deep, dark secrets. In the spirit of this moment, they ought to have a amnesty period where everyone could reveal old cheats without fear of punishment. Eddie Irvine has been saying that in his day, “everyone cheated”. You can’t just say that and not back it up — give us some details. Nothing is going to shock us anymore. Except, if someone told me that Jim Clark had a 5 liter engine or something at Monza in ’67, I’d probably die.

  51. Instances like this have always been apart of Formula One, and motorsports in general, for years. Recent events concerning Renault does indeed make one question past results, and to the extent how other teams bend and sometimes break the rules.
    The biggest question is how the FIA can ‘police’ this kind of thing properly? Back in 2007, many people wondered if the whopping $100 million fine handed out to McLaren would offer a detterent towards teams that cheat. Eighteen months later, and McLaren themselves answered that question with their actions in Australia.
    It proves that huge fines do not always stop these things from happening, and to be honest, I think the solutions to this problem are restrictive.
    Sadly, F1 like many other sports is a business. Renault have one of the sports biggest stars under their wing in the shape of Fernando Alonso, a driver who enjoys a huge fanbase that stretches far beyond his native Spain.
    Banning teams, or drivers from world championships would certainly do more ‘financial’ damage to F1 and would cancel out the positives.
    As I have said, cheating is something that is not new. Michael Schumacher is in extremely famous company when we consider that both Alain Prost and Aryton Senna both won world championships under dubious circumstances.
    Both men, like Schumacher in 1994, got to keep their titles. I seriously doubt that this would be possible today, in the current Formula One climate.
    The truth about this scandal is that we would still not be aware of Renault’s deceit had they not fired Nelson Piquet Jnr. This in itself is the most disgusting aspect for me, in that it was o.k to cheat as long as Piquet could drive for Renault. This is the underlying point here, and that Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds allowed such a situation to arise.
    I can imagine that both men were under enormous pressure. 2008, despite the return of Fernando, had been a disaster for Renault. The credit crunch was biting down hard on the motor industry, including Renault. If ever there was a time for Renault to win a grands prix it was now, if not to appease a no doubt disappointed and disillusioned double champion, but seriously unhappy bosses back in Paris also.
    This does not excuse Piquet, Briatore or Symonds, but may offer a motive for why they did what they did. As with McLaren in Melbourne, knowing full well that their car was not good enough, desperate to grab any points they could, whether deserved or not.
    The bottom line is that F1 is too ‘highstakes’ at times for these teams to play by the rules. Every team breaks them at some stage, there are no innocent parties here, but Renault got caught and deserved what they got.
    Afterall, they decieved millions of fans, sponsors, and journalists with their actions. It has been a highly scandal ridden two years for F1, something it did not need in its attempt to attract new investment to safeguard its future.

  52. What almost disgusts me the most is most of the paddock’s attitude to the whole affair, which is basically, “move along, nothing to see here, we’ve had worse …”. It’s like they all want to stay on the gravy train and protect their lifestyle. Never mind that the sport has been exposed as being rotten to the core. Everyone from Martin Brundle, Eddie Irvine and Coulthard. To me, Nelson Piquet Sr. is a real hero, the one guy did the correct thing.

  53. Oh for the days of gentleman drivers, like Moss supporting Hawthorn against a penalty in the Portuguese GP in 1958, which enabled Hawthorn to take the championship in a straight fight with Moss. The current sport has been thoroughly spoilt by commercialism, and now the inevitable ‘cost cutting’ and the constant scandals are hurting it more.

  54. The quality of your blog has downgraded a lot with an article like this, fizzy should have to be a genius to cause a puncture and not broking his front wing and do it intentionally. It´s calling your readers stupid.

    Good Bye Keith, it´s been a good time reading you for two years

  55. This site is becoming ridiculous. There are too many childish, biased, and hate filled comments for or against certain drivers and teams, and now we have irrelevant religious rantings too.

  56. Erm back to the whole F1 thing…

    F1 is rife with cheating, foul play, underhand deals, cronyism etc. On track and off track, from the teams, from the drivers, from the stewards, from the FIA. I don’t even think this is contestable. To describe the Piquet incident as “The worst case of cheating in the history of sport”is quite frankly beyond ridiculous. If you require any convincing of this you need look no further than Roy Keane’s career ending “tackle” on Alf Inge Haaland. Of course foul play has effected other results, in the current state of F1 it’s not something that’s going stop or even be dealt with seriously.

  57. it wouldnt surprise me, but i like to think Fisi has alot more balls than Piquet

    1. not to mention that Fisi can drive. The same cannot be said about the son of certain great ex F1 driver!!!!!!!!!!

  58. i hope briator gets a huge fine. i hate him

  59. thinking about it now michael schumcher had 7 world titles. this was no loss

  60. Not all F1 drivers need to be told to crash a rival TITLE CONTENDER. Some of them, one in particular comes to mind, can do it on his own, race after race, year after year, and go mostly unpunished. I know most of you would not know that it’s MS that I’m talking about, right?

    The sad thing for me, is that recognizing the pure talent MS had and probably still has (at least more than some of the current drivers) I disliked and still dislike him for his dirty racing.

    Racing incidents will always happen, if we want to see a F1 championship that is really hard fought for on the track. Maybe this latest scandal, brought out by a mediocre driver that is not even 1 tenth of the driver his father was, will bring a new level of scrutineering to the sport, where telemetry and communications will be closely analyzed in dodgy situations

  61. OK… Sermon’s over, back to racing.
    I was fortunate to attend Schumacher’s final race at Sao Paulo, and whether or not Fisi caused the flat tire on purpose, it was one of the most exciting races I have seen. Schumacher’s charge from last to fourth was breathtaking and just a few more laps would have seen him attain his final podium. It was classic Schumacher and the best possible way for him to leave F1. A lights to flag win would not have done nearly as much to solidify his image as one of the greatest ever. So Fisi, if you really did slice Schumi’s tire with malice, thanks.

  62. I don’t think Fisichella ruined schumacher’s options to the tittle, it was Stepney. Hadn’t he been there, Schumi would have 8 and Alonso would have only 1 WDC more than the ones he deserve.

  63. Please….this is another stupid supossed foul. My God, three and four years ago, I couldn’t imagine that Fernando`s titles could make that kind of “envy” betwen the British and another fans. Fernando, retired Michael Schumacher from races. The only one that could do that. No british, no deutch, no nothing. Please stop cuestioning Fernando Alonso, there’s a lot of people lime bored of this. Why can’t you asume that nowadays he is number one???. I can’t understand you. And the video…my god I only see a tipical overtake in the F1. If you love this sport please be more impartial

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