Renault escape ban for crash (Poll)

2009 F1 season

Renault ony received a suspended sentence for causing a crash in Singapore

Renault ony received a suspended sentence for causing a crash in Singapore

The FIA used strong words to describe how Renault conspired to cause a deliberate crash to win the Singapore Grand Prix. It said:

The World Motor Sport Council considers Renault F1?s breaches relating to the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix to be of unparalleled severity. Renault F1?s breaches not only compromised the integrity of the sport but also endangered the lives of spectators, officials, other competitors and Nelson Piquet Jr. himself. The World Motor Sport Council considers that offences of this severity merit permanent disqualification from the FIA Formula One World Championship.

But it has not banned Renault from a single race nor stripped them of its position in the 2008 championship, nor fined them. Instead the team has received a “suspended punishment” which will last until the end of 2011.

Renault's punishment is:

  • Far too harsh (2%)
  • Too harsh (2%)
  • About right (25%)
  • Too soft (33%)
  • Far too soft (38%)

Total Voters: 2,993

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Presumably this lenient punishment was designed in the hope that Renault will remain in F1 until 2011, instead of leaving in disgrace as many feared it would.

The FIA claimed it reduced the punishment because Renault had conducted its own internal investigation into the crash and taken reasonable steps.

The individual culprits, Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds, have in effect been barred from competing in FIA-sanctioned events – Briatore for an unlimited period, Symonds for five years. As the FIA cannot punish them directly, as the pair are no longer represented by licence holders, the regulatory body has achieved this by vowing not to sanction events in which the two compete for the respective periods.

The FIA specifically stated that no-one beyond Briatore, Symonds and Nelson Piquet Jnr were involved:

As regards Fernando Alonso, the World Motor Sport Council thanks him for cooperating with the FIA?s enquiries and for attending the meeting, and concludes that Mr. Alonso was not in any way involved in Renault F1?s breach of the regulations.

The full verdict is here and the FIA will shortly publish further details. What do you make of Renault’s punishment, or lack of it?

Renault Singapore crash controversy

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385 comments on Renault escape ban for crash (Poll)

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  1. So, spying on another team (with uncertain – if any – result) is worse than cheating on the track through a deliberate and dangerous accident? OK, glad FIA told us that. Just tamper with the result as long as you sack some people afterwards. Or is the truth that McLaren is a legal prey than can be slapped around at any time, while a classical manufacturer must be handled with care so that they don’t leave F1? Yet another sad day for F1.

    • S Hughes said on 21st September 2009, 14:41

      I feel completely sick. I can’t add much more to what you have said. I think the vast majority of people would agree. It really does make a joke of F1 and those who aren’t into the sport will now think it is like wrestling, i.e. not a true, fair competition. I predicted this, and unfortunately was right once again.

      • Mark Hitchcock said on 21st September 2009, 15:12

        I’m with you S Hughes.

        Renault haven’t been punished at all. They’ve just got to tread carefully for a couple of years and this will all go away in the FIA’s eyes.

        If they had been fined heavily along with the suspended ban then at least that gives the impression that they are paying for their crime, but without that they’ve completely got away with it.

        • Bigbadderboom said on 21st September 2009, 15:57

          Although my gut feeling is to agree with you guys, and it does suprise me that Renault have escaped any real punishment, I would rather that the FIA do whats best for F1 in the long run. Renault are very lucky in respect of the current economic issues coupled with F1’s own issues have left the FIA in a somewhat weakened position.
          For me if Toyota quit at the end of this season and Renault stay around and continue their engine supply deals then although it’s not right, it may prove to be the best for F1.
          Renaults brand has taken a real kick in lately and those that are really responsible are banished. BUT the immunity given to Nelson Piquet is what sickens me the most. I just hope that we can now look forward to a lengthy period of stability now.

          • I am in complete agreement. Shouldn’t Piquet be at least required to participate in road safety promotions for a set number of days, like Schumacher post-Jerez?

            Oh, wait: his reputation would make that a joke, and also, he was “forced” to do it! How about fining him the value of his wppo contract, minus termination fees? He wouldn’t have gotten his blood money without the crash after all. Give the money to a sportsmanship watchdog.

          • the Sri lankan said on 21st September 2009, 21:58

            why would you want toyota to leave? they are not the ones cheating

          • While the heads of renault may not have known what was conspired and carried out, there had alsways been signs that they employeed a cheat.
            Flavio had no choice after symonds was given immunity to resign and symonds also had no other option, but renault hired them and had watched over the years exactly how they operated.
            I dont have any symapthy for renault as they are responsible for the actions of their employees. Fia didnt have to throw the book at them but they should have had to endure some sort of punishment. For this to all be over with the way it has ended is a sickning shame.
            Ron Dennis could not bring to bear the pressure that renault couold because it was just little mclaren not the big renault. So end the end Ron took it in the end. Renault transparency was forced upon them not eagerly given, because the fia is incompetent in its running of the investigation.
            This was not a fair punishment, and f1 is the worse for it.

          • Mark Hitchcock said on 22nd September 2009, 0:49

            I do kind of share your view Bigbadderboom, this *may* be better for F1 in the longterm with regards to engine supply. But it’ll be bad in terms of the perception the general public has of the sport.

            I don’t really see the sport’s reputation recovering from this for a while. It’s bad enough that the original offence was so terrible, this “punishment” just damages the it even further.

            And if Piquet ever gets back in then that’s it, I think I’ll give up watching until my blood stops boiling!

        • McLaren were punished for consistantly lying to the FIA about what they did, Renault as an organisation were fully transparent with the FIA once it had been clear there had been wrongdoing. Also it was clear that this was just the actions of three individuals, not the team as a whole who were unaware of the conspiracy. Those responsible have been punished.

          • Nitpicker said on 21st September 2009, 19:44

            Renault as an organisation were fully transparent with the FIA once it had been clear there had been wrongdoing.

            Coincidentally, at about the same time all those documents were leaked. Have you forgotten Flav and Renault threatening legal action against the Piquets for blackmail? This was a sign that they were backing up Flav all the way. I doubt anyone outside of Renault management or the FIA know how transparent Renault has been. The team was still responsible because they employed Briatore and Symonds to manage the team. Don’t cover up the fact that Renault were fundamentally at fault when they left crooks at the helm.

      • Williams4ever said on 21st September 2009, 16:35

        I feel completely sick.

        First time this poster has accepted his/her exact frame of mind. Now we know under what fragile state of mind s/he continuously crashes him/herself on certain driver :D

        And Also now we know why you have sympathy for another dirver who has fragile state of mind as well :D

        • Does anyone understand the utter nonsense in the above post ?

          • would it really matter? This whole affair smells, and smells bad. F1 is truly turned into a sad fraternity of spoiled children, all fathered by max and bernie.

    • Leahonard_e said on 21st September 2009, 15:19

      Moreover, Renault were about to be suspended for knowingly sending Alonso on track on the Hungarian GP because it was dangerous. But for having a deliberate crash, they don’t?
      Also, it seems a huge gap between permanent exclusion form F1 and a suspended ban…
      What I do agree about the outcome is not to alter the race result, but I believe Renault should have been at least disqualified form the 2008 championship.

      • I don’t think that would have been possible – and I’m saying this from the point of view of Bernie’s requirement to bring a certain number of cars to the grid.

    • Mclaren cheat – €100m fine and kicked out of constrictors championship

      Renault cheat and endanger peoples lives – NOTHING!!!

      It’s stupid, Piquet should be banned from F1 for life. He could have seriously injured marshals and spectators!

      • Ned Flanders said on 21st September 2009, 16:03

        I wonder what penalty they would have received had Briatore not resigned? Or whether Mclaren would have been fined $100 million for spygate if Ron Dennis had of left the team? Because I get the immpression that these decisions are little more than the FIA and Max Mosley’s persecution of people they hate…

      • Sush Meerkat said on 21st September 2009, 16:17

        Mclaren cheat – €100m fine and kicked out of constrictors championship
        Renault cheat and endanger peoples lives – NOTHING!!!

        I half expected you to then say “for everything else there’s mastercard”

        • I think Renault paid a fine ”under the table” as it is mentioned that Renault will donate an unnamed sum to FIA program about driving safety. Briatore and Symonds got the severe part of the punishment and Renault’s case was helped big time by their unconditional surrender last week.

          And comparing with McLaren case isn’t really an issue – McLaren wasn’t cooperating with FIA and they got caught in the lie. They were also given a suspended penalty at their first hearing and 100 million fine after Alonso’s mails appeared…

        • Ha, good one!

      • Maybe Ron should have gotten the piquets involved and then mclaren would have gotten off as well..

  2. mp4-19b said on 21st September 2009, 14:34

    concludes that Mr. Alonso was not in any way involved in Renault F1’s breach of the regulations.

    Hahaha!! Very convenient assumption! huh?

    • Assumption: a hypothesis that is taken for granted.
      Conclusion: a position or opinion or judgment reached after consideration.

      The WMSC concluded Alonso had no part in the breach of regulations on the basis of the evidence. No assumptions involved.

      • Antifia said on 21st September 2009, 15:59

        There is one (to which anyone is entitled, I guess): One is not guilty till the contrary is proved.
        See, the Alonso got a not-guilty. His innocence can never be proved since one cannot prove a negative.

        • mp4-19b said on 21st September 2009, 16:58

          Not revealing Alonso’s involvement serves a bigger purpose.If they would have come up with the truth, it would have sunk this sport all together. But if the FIA were calling themselves a honest organization, they would have certainly dug deeper into this & come out in the public and revealed everything. but they didn’t. So where is the question of conclusion when the FIA have failed to investigate his role in this.

          • Always assume innocent until proven guilty.

            It’s once of the cornerstones of a civilised society.

            I don’t like Alonso that much either, but to assume with no evidence is just ignorant.

          • Nitpicker said on 21st September 2009, 19:49

            So where is the question of conclusion when the FIA have failed to investigate his role in this.

            How would you know anything about what the FIA investigates? You they give you a call each time they go on a raid? Please let me know, I am very interested.

          • So where is the question of conclusion when the FIA have failed to investigate his role in this.

            Had you actually read the part where they talk about a conclusion you’d have read:

            “As regards Fernando Alonso, the World Motor Sport Council thanks him for cooperating with the FIA’s enquiries and for attending the meeting, and concludes that Mr. Alonso was not in any way involved in Renault F1’s breach of the regulations.”

            So they did involve him in the investigation and concluded he was not a part of any conspiracy.

            You’re simply assuming he’s guilty of a breach in WMSC regulation therefor now that he hasn’t been found guilty of anything you automatically assume the investigators didn’t do their job.

            I never saw a good reason to implicate Alonso in the conspiracy, it seemed very illogical to involve him. I don’t think he ever lived in the illusion the situation was an honest one though, but what’s he going to do, tell on his team?

    • Hello my friend
      Remember what I said? Flav and Symonds are going to be ‘dead bodies’ (not physically, of course :-))
      Here we are… Flav has pretty much acquired a status of ‘leper’ (right word?, from leprosy) and thrown out of autosport for life. Well done! Remember Kovalainen couple of years ago? Flav branded him ‘worst ever’ after his first races with Renault, and he was bad indeed, but he was just learning. Then guy joins McLaren and turns out to be a pretty good driver. Simple ‘emotional intelligence’, no rocket science here. Flav is an arrogant jerk and he got what he deserved.

      As for Alonso, indeed that was a ‘conclusion’, not an assumption, even if he knew, he was told to pit at lap 13(?) and that was it. He did what he was told, he might or might not know what is about to follow.
      It’s utmost crap and it is indeed black day for F1, from camaraderie of 60s and 70s to the current ‘state of affair’ (sorry, cannot use swearing, my comment would not be published ;-)).
      Despite all poll results, I think that FIA handled the matter carefully in the political way, what else can they do? Honda left, BMW left, Renault would be out, who’s next: Toyota… Who is left: Merc and Ferrari… so, hence the ‘careful smack’ :-)

  3. About right. Renault cooperated fully with the investigation and are therefore entitled to a degree of lenience, as laid out in the WMSC verdict.

    • So did Ron Dennis, his team still got fined the $100m. Horrible job by the WMSC.

      • McLaren did not cooperate with the FIA, they misled the WMSC sufficiently for them to reach an erroneous conclusion first time around. Only after further investigation was the truth uncovered.

        • and what exactly did renault do for one year then?!? they had all the data and still didn’t do anything! it’s disgusting!

          • Bigbadderboom said on 21st September 2009, 16:05

            But the team is in Flavios control, although i feel that McLaren were harshley treated these are 2 very different scenarios fundamentally. McLaren continued to mislead the FIA investigation, even though they were given chances to come clean.

        • If you’ll recall once Alonso, that name sounds familiar, came to Dennis with proof of spygate in an attempt to blackmail him into making Alonso the #1 driver, Dennis took the evidence and handed it over to the WMSC and told Alonso to sod off. Where exactly is the non-cooperation of McLaren?

          • And he wasn’t informed before of the existence of full Ferrari blueprints in McLaren’s hands?

            He was merely taking away a negotiating weapon from Alonso, do you honestly believe those few e-mails are all the evidence that ever existed?

            McLaren got a similar penalty to the one Renault got today after a first hearing…

      • Not 100m. Why is everyone saying its 100m? It was 100m minus the money they would normaly get after the season for there place in the constructors title ;)
        Makes a lot of difference (millions).

        • luigismen said on 21st September 2009, 17:15

          still are 100m… they were gonna get that money, so.. it counts like their own.
          It’s like when you make $5000 in chips in a casino, but you don’t cash it.. you play it and you loose all the money, it doesn’t count as you lost it?… you did have it for a moment even if there were no bills

    • mp4-19b said on 21st September 2009, 14:39

      No financial penalty, No stripping of points, No stripping of Wins, NO ONE IS PUNISHED, mind you Flav & Pat left on their own accord. They were not fired by Renault. A suspended ban?!@#? What is a suspended ban? It is as good as no ban. Even mclaren are under suspended ban after the lie-gate, is it affecting them at all? Its all pure nonsense. i dunno how one would call this verdict a “Fair” one. Plz explain yourself Andy.

      • Whether or not Flav and Pat jumped or were pushed has not been confirmed. I suspect the decision was not entirely theirs to make….

        The damage done to Renault’s image and the career of Nelson Piquet is punishment enough, especially as the key perpetrators have now left the team.

        • Bigbadderboom said on 21st September 2009, 16:08

          I agree Andy, although many McLaren fans will not see it so. The guilty parties have been as severly punished as the FIA could within their juristiction. Renault has paid a huge price in brand damage already.

          • mp4-19b said on 21st September 2009, 16:32

            BBB, this has nothing to do with McLaren fans. Do you honestly think Flav & Pat would dare to come back to the paddock after handing in their resignation? Secondly, tell me how have Flav & Pat suffered by this verdict? They have made “Hay when the sun shone brightly”. I definitely don’t want Renault to go through what mclaren went through, cuz it would definitely drive them to bankruptcy. BUT I would be glad to see Flavio & Pat poorer by a Million or two. Hope you got my point.

            BTW most mclaren fans like renault.

          • I agree with mp4-19b here. Given the distribution of poll results, it’s clear at the moment that most people, not just McLaren fans, think the “punishment” (ha!) is too lenient.

      • So you advocate penalizing the innocent people still at Renault? At McLaren, most of the guilty parties stayed with the team. In this case, all that banning them would have done is get another manufacturer to leave the sport and making 700 people lose their jobs.

        And what good would disqualifying them from the 2008 Constructors’ Championship do? Most of the money has been paid out, so the harshest thing that would do is make Renault paint different numbers on their cars.

      • Arun.India said on 21st September 2009, 14:52

        Totally agree with you suspended band is the stupidest punishment ive heard….

        • Ned Flanders said on 21st September 2009, 15:13

          Suspended ban= absolutely nowt. How often have suspended bans in F1 or any other sport been activated?

        • @mp4-19b and others who think that this is too soft a punishment… this is IMHO is the right decision, McLaren were punished way too harsh and that was really so stupid of WMSC. But then, since one mistake was made, we can’t expect them to treat everyone else in the same way. I personally would appreciate, if WMSC can repay McLaren or apologize to them for the way it had treated McLaren on lie-gate (Of course they did misled WMSC, but that didn’t justify the punishment).

          We can (worst possible thing I can ever imagine) think that WMSC has really understood their problem and started giving right punishments for the crime. Or it is as inconsistent as it used to be, and we can expect some way to harsh and irrelevant punishments in the future too.

          • Ned Flanders said on 21st September 2009, 15:58

            Fair point, I reckon everyone’s anger here is perhaps not so much because of the penalty Renault were given, but of the Renault penalty in comparison to the absolutely disgraceful penalty Max Mosley, on behalf of the FIA, gave to Ron Dennis, on behalf of Mclaren.

            I really hope Ron Dennis admits responsibility for that NOTW prostitute scandal when Mosley retires! I’m sure it would more than make up for the $100 million fine and forced retirement from Mclaren just for the look on Mosley’s face!

          • Nitpicker said on 21st September 2009, 19:56

            I think you’re confusing liegate with spygate. So many McLaren scandals. In spygate they were handed a very harsh punishment, and in liegate they were treated reasonably fairly.

      • mp4-19b i to agree that a suspended ban means almost nothing, they should have at least been banned for 2 or 3 races.

    • Mark Hitchcock said on 21st September 2009, 15:07

      No they didnt.

      “At the meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, Renault F1 made the following points in mitigation:

      – it had accepted, at the earliest practicable opportunity, that it committed the offences with which it was charged and cooperated fully with the FIA’s investigation”

      Rubbish.
      So Symonds admitted everything when he was interviewed at Spa did he?

      Renault knew the truth before those interviews and if they were cooperating fully they would have admitted everything straight away.

      This is a joke.
      F1 is a joke.

      • mp4-19b said on 21st September 2009, 15:10

        If you go through one of Pat’s interviews, he came up with a story wherein he said that it was Piquet jr who came up with this idea of crashing, not him or dingy Flav. No isn’t that a lie?

        • Mark Hitchcock said on 21st September 2009, 15:13

          Exactly.
          Renault hid this until they could hide it no more yet the FIA are accepting that they did their best to help the investigation.

          • Bigbadderboom said on 21st September 2009, 16:28

            Renault and Renault F1 are 2 different identities, Flavio and Pat had complete control over the F1 team and have commited the worst offence, but there is no point punishing the parent company when after they have stepped in they have been 100% compliant and dealt with it in-house. Sometimes you can cut your nose off despite your face, and a huge financial penalty for Renault would only damage F1 further.

          • Martin said on 22nd September 2009, 0:40

            renault hid it until the documents that the fia had were leaked. They were leaked on purpose. The fact that the result was what the fia wanted is what happened is why the punishment was lenient.
            The fia did nothing to help this along, if it had been a real crime, the whole case would have been lost due to the evidence being handled so sloppily.

      • mp4-19b said on 21st September 2009, 15:12

        If you go through one of Pat’s interviews, he came up with a story wherein he said that it was Piquet jr who came up with this idea of crashing, not him or dingy Flav. Now isn’t that a lie?

        And the saint also says he’s “RESERVING” his answers.

        Isn’t RESERVING as good as CONCEALING??

    • About right!?

      Ron Dennis informed the FIA about spygate once he knew about it – he had no part to play in it, so he remained at his position.

      Flavio kept it a secret for as long as he could, until someone else informed the FIA. Flavio stepped down because he was at fault.

      McLaren were in possession of some Ferrari documents, no lives as risk. Spying is also widely known about in F1.

      Renault put a drivers and fans life in danger, as well as other drivers by setting-up a crash so they could benefit.

      A 2 year SUSPENDED

      • Bigbadderboom said on 21st September 2009, 16:32

        If you believ that Ron Dennis told the FIA as soon as he knew about the dossiers then you are remarkably naive. Ron told the FIA after Alonso threatened to tell them himself. The information McLaren had was being used throughout their team. The two cases are very different in how they have been dealt with by the FIA because they are very different.

      • IMHO Ron Dennis informed FIA as soon as Alonso approached him and blackmailed him with that same data Ron passed on to FIA…

    • About right!?

      Ron Dennis informed the FIA about spygate once he knew about it – he had no part to play in it, so he remained at his position.

      Flavio kept it a secret for as long as he could, until someone else informed the FIA. Flavio stepped down because he was at fault.

      McLaren were in possession of some Ferrari documents, no lives as risk. Spying is also widely known about in F1.

      Renault put a drivers and fans life in danger, as well as other drivers by setting-up a crash so they could benefit.

      A 2 year SUSPENDED ban is ‘about right’? Nooooo!

      • Sorry double post!

      • Ned Flanders said on 21st September 2009, 15:17

        I really hope Vatanen wins the FIA election and sorts this mess of a governing body out. Yet another embarassing decision, and it reiterates thow prominently ‘el Spanko’s’ personal vendettas are featured in FIA decision making.

    • Nitpicker said on 21st September 2009, 19:52

      About right. Renault cooperated fully with the investigation and are therefore entitled to a degree of lenience, as laid out in the WMSC verdict.

      Degree of lenience = getting off scott-free?

    • lenience is one thing, getting off without a slap is another.

  4. hmm think it’s a good conclusion… Renault wasn’t at fault.
    Flavio and Pat where the 2 that made the error and are paying for it now.
    Still find Piquet a bad loser!

    • Also, neither was McLaren in 2007, yet the whole team got fined.

      • The team were testing the data obtained from Ferrari. Coughlan admitted to Whitmarsh being in the know. Engineers had the data for months. McLaren lied and they were found out! Period. Here, Renault owned upto it. Even though, it was down to rogue staff, not majority of the organization or an entire organization itself. For that matter, they helped FIA with the investigation.

        Again, McLaren in lie gate weren’t penalized much. The driver ought to be b!|(hslapped for having the audacity to lie and misleadign stewards to unduly influence race results. They got off lightly. Think one can say that it was dumb on their part to lie. Like the first time. They were found out. McLaren concealed facts. Again, i stress on the fact that Renault established that it was rogue employees.

        • Nitpicker said on 21st September 2009, 20:00

          Have you read the above posts?? Renault did lie. Briatore lied and Symonds lied, before they left the team. Therefore the team was lying to the FIA investigators. It’s not too difficult when you think about it.

      • Williams4ever said on 21st September 2009, 15:21

        WMSC had accepted McLaren’s assurance in first round of hearing, that McLaren had done due diligence and taken due care to ensure that the Stolen Ferrari documents were not used by McLaren ranks and files.
        So WMSC accepted Ron Dennis’s word of “Honor” and let McLaren go.

        Only after WMSC realised that McLaren Team Management had lied, given wrong information to Council in first round, the entire organization had access to the Ferrari Data and they were actively testing the data acquired inappropriately.

        It was for this that McLaren was fined and was fined correctly. In fact they were let go lightly, the McLaren Drivers Should have been stripped off their points in 2007. But for sake commercial interests, WMSC compensated that by Financial Penalties.

        McLaren didn’t improve even after the 2007 saga and lied to stewards in Australia 2009, so that a competitor got wrongfully punished. Tells a lot about team and its culture doesn’t it ??

        McLaren Fans, kindly absorb the above facts in your systems and don’t bring the story of shame and dishonesty. you will have no sympathy whatsoever!!!

        • Nitpicker said on 21st September 2009, 20:03

          In fact they were let go lightly, the McLaren Drivers Should have been stripped off their points in 2007.

          … in your opinion. Excuse me if I think you’re talking pants.

    • Renault employed Flav and Pat so they have to take some blame for the incident!

      • sure enough… I didn’t agree with the McLaren fine back them.
        But as I said before, the punisment then was in a better climate, giving a fine atm would be killing a team, wich is needed..
        Sure it’s still a bad thing, but you can’t punish a company for the action of your employees… same at the spygate imo, but then there was a lot of crap going on :)

        • Nitpicker said on 21st September 2009, 20:05

          Sure it’s still a bad thing, but you can’t punish a company for the action of your employees…

          Yes you can. It is used in corporate law all the time. If you knew anything about the subject you wouldn’t be spouting such drivel.

          • Martin said on 22nd September 2009, 0:48

            correct, the company that I work or is 100% responsible for my actions during the time I perform duties for said company. Therefore renault is responsible for the entire scandal.

      • Bang on

    • Martin said on 22nd September 2009, 0:45

      I dont condone what piquet did but look at it from the vveiwpoint of 3 criminals just finishing a bank job, you’ve done your part and kept quite about it and bow the ring leader of the group wants to oust you because he is no longer able to use you. To retailiate you turn all of you in and you get off for cooperating and they get the slam for the crime.
      Moral is dont screw over your co-conspirators.
      If Flavio was smart Nelson would have drove for renault until there was no renault F1.
      Not a bad loser as much as you dont play with the piquets

  5. If only those listed were involved the punishment is about as fair as you can get. As none of them are in F1 any more.

    The only other thing they could do is strip them of the race win and points. But it is hardly a Renault wide issue.

    However you can’t help but think certain teams would have got away with it – other teams massively fined. Its about time F1 had some guide disciples to rule breaches. Not just on but off the track we seem to constantly see instances handled in completely different ways.

    • Nitpicker said on 21st September 2009, 20:10

      Unfortunately none of these scandalous incidents are exactly the same, and therefore cannot be punished the same. As mentioned above, Renault might be forking out a huge fee to the FIA described as “a significant contribution to FIA safety-related projects.” You can’t blame Renault for doing this instead of having a huge number banded around the media (eg. $100m) for all eternity. However the precise penalty is just like all other FIA matters, completely hidden from the public and the fans who make the sport what it is.

  6. Pathetic ruling, why do they want to keep Renault in so much, they should have got a fine and a race ban at the very least.

    Again, Flav got away with it, thank god he had the good grace to leave with his tale between his legs!

    • The FIA couldn’t do anything else to Flav. It’s a non-profit association in France, and as such doesn’t have any more authority than you or me to impose a fine on anyone unless they accept it (the deal is “pay the fine or you’re banned from any form of FIA-aproved racing”).

      Well, they could sue him for fixing a sporting result, but that’s about it.

  7. This is about right i feel as anything more than this may have seen Renault pull out of F1 all together and thus Red Bull would lose an engine supplier. It would have too great an impact on the sport. With Renaults sales way down this year, they may not have been in a position to pay a fine and docking points for last years races would be pointless as that season is over. Maybe they should have lost all constructor points for this year, but the driver points should be left as they are.

    Given the climate we are in and F1 already losing 2 teams, i think this was the best solution.

    • I wouldnt be sad for Renault to go, get some new blood in. Red Bull could use the new cosworth engine!

    • Nitpicker said on 21st September 2009, 20:17

      Please wake up, F1 is a sport not Social Security. The Renault team cheated and should have been punished as such. Just because times are hard does not mean the FIA should be all softly-softly with a car manufacturer. This season has seen the return of competitive independent teams with the manufacturers struggling, and the sport has not suffered one bit. Why we should all walk on egg shells just because a manufacturer is a bit skint, I’ve no idea.

  8. I think this is about right, but I would have added a monetary fine on Renault as well. Not at the level McLaren got in 2007, but at least seven figures.

    I am also puzzled as to why Symonds’ ban is only five years, while Briatore’s is for the rest of his life. Surely, they should both receive lifetime bans.

    But, I think that this was a good compromise in coming down hard on the people responsible, but keeping the team in the sport.

    However, I would have preferred it if Piquet didn’t have his immunity and they could punish him as well for going along with such a reckless plan.

    • Nitpicker said on 21st September 2009, 20:20

      I am also puzzled as to why Symonds’ ban is only five years, while Briatore’s is for the rest of his life.

      You shouldn’t be surprised really. Although Briatore the scum-bag is as guilty as they come, this has been a witchhunt to get Flav ousted from F1 for as long as possible. I hate Flav but I can see the disparity between his and Symonds’ punishments. It is the same when you look at Renault’s suspended ban and other punishments given out over the last few years.

    • Martin said on 22nd September 2009, 0:51

      Symonds is done in the sport. No one will hire him in the racing fraternity again. He now has too much bad baggage to bring and it would shed uneeded light on any team he is associated with.

  9. steph90 said on 21st September 2009, 14:40

    Disgrace, Symond’s should be banned for life and the Piquets sod immunity. Should lose the win. Maybe constructors points. A fine would have been mad but that isn’t the only way to punishy a team just a good way to raise revenue.

    • Ned Flanders said on 21st September 2009, 15:27

      I bet you can actually see Bernie Ecclestone’s fingerprints on the FIA documents. Remember, F1 is 1% sport, 99% business. BE and the FIA can’t afford to scare away any more teams (and certainly not engine suppliers), so they couldn’t give Renault the fine or suspension they deserved. But what I want is justice, whether or not that means F1 won’t have enough engine suppliers, Fernando Alonso isn’t on the grid or whatever.

      Whatever miniscule amount of respect
      I had left for the FIA is seeping away. I just wish FOTA had of gone ahead with their breakaway…

      • Nitpicker said on 21st September 2009, 20:22

        I just wish FOTA had of gone ahead with their breakaway…

        A world where Flavio Briatore is even more powerful? Yikes.

        • Ned Flanders said on 22nd September 2009, 2:44

          Oh no, I don’t much like Flavio Briatore at all. But I’d be happy for him to be involved if it meant F1 could be free from the worlds most incompetent governing body, the FIA

      • Martin said on 22nd September 2009, 0:53

        As long as Flav isnt involved

  10. I think FIA this time have made not too bad job.

    They have punished actors appropriately and the team have received a suspended ban that sounds to me ok due to Renault, as a Team, were not conscious of what happened.

    I only miss a punishment for Piquet Jr, but in any case he will probably be out of F1 for life. I cannot imagine any team hiring him; if he would have another accident (something more than probable, given his previous experience) there would be a mess with everybody thinking if that was made on purpose or just a non intended accident.

    Flavio (el Trebula) have been banned for life. Justice has become from FIA at least for this occasion.

    • mp4-19b said on 21st September 2009, 14:48

      Hey! IDR. your pet boy & idol wouldn’t have managed to win 2 WDC without Flavio. How could you possibly be soo harsh on him?

    • I agree, and also all those who made slanderous comments about Fernando Alonso’s involvement in the plot should apologise, its clear Alonso had nothing to do with it.

      I think people are ignoring that the penalties meated out to Flav and Pat, the people actually responsible are as heavy as should be expected. I’m surprised Renault didn’t get a heavier punishment as a whole, but i think the overall decision is fair.

    • Nitpicker said on 21st September 2009, 20:25

      Flavio (el Trebula) have been banned for life. Justice has become from FIA at least for this occasion.

      I kind of wish Flav’s punishment was harsher, if possible. I have never liked him. But I console myself with the picture of Flav turning up to a race with a pretty girl on his arm, and being turned away by big burly fellas with “FIA Justice Brigade” emblazoned across their flak jackets.

      • I’ve always felt sympathy for Flavio Briatore. A funny guy. The Billionaire Club, Blue Force moored in Montecarlo, great scandals with Top Models…, some kind of the best representation of F1 Glamour.

        But at the end, the cheater has come to light, and despite I feel sorry for him, the punishment he has received fits the crime he did.

        Asking a poor driver with no personality to crash his car just for a bunch of points, is the lowest thing we’ve seen in F1 from many years (and the press has showed us the evidence).

  11. steph90 said on 21st September 2009, 14:42

    I can see the basis for which some would think it is fair, as in renault as the team don’t really deserve punishment and I agree but for the one’s involved it’s a joke.

    • The problem is that the FIA has no real power to do anything to Briatore and Symonds now that they are no longer employed by an F1 team. They have no legal authority to do anything. All they could do is stop them from working within the FIA umbrella again.

  12. I have an idea. Why don’t we call this FIA decision against Renault ‘whitewash gate’…

    • Fascicle and ridicules decision from the FIA! I’m amazed the FIA have not even taken away Renaults points for this year as a minimum. F1 has lost the plot completely.

      And I’m really confused about all those defending Renault saying they are not essentially to blame for what Flavio and Pat did?! So by that reasoning we should deduce that Renault or any other car company or manufacturer or business of any description etc should never be blamed for anything an employer of their’s has done. Hmmm, that make sense, NOT…

  13. mp4-19b said on 21st September 2009, 14:45

    We are all being taken for a ride!! I don’t necessary support hefty financial penalties, but considering the seriousness of the crime, the verdict is not just.

    People get satisfied too easily. PLZ note: Flav & Pat both resigned & knew at the time of resigning that they were never going to come back! A life ban for Flav & pat means nothing. Its just an eye wash.

    • I guess I don’t know what else they could have done. Since it seems that only three people were involved in this, and they have all left the team, it would be unfair to penalize the innocent people remaining at Renault. The suspended ban seems appropriate to me.

      I do think that the bans on Briatore and Symonds are completely justified, but I would have rather that the latter’s be a lifetime ban as well.

  14. S Hughes said on 21st September 2009, 14:45

    Interesting interview with Johnny Herbert about Briatore. He sounds like a monster. http://www.inthenews.co.uk/comment/sport/formula-one/herbert-briatore-should-be-banned-for-life-$1328498.htm

    I still feel sorry for Piquet. His life has been destroyed.

    http://www.npiquet.com/news.asp?NewsID=340

    • Clare msj said on 21st September 2009, 15:01

      I feel for Piquet too – the situation he must have been in at Renault to feel he needed to do it in the first place must have been horrible. I hope someone gives him another chance in F1 – maybe we will see a new Piquet when he isnt being held back by his employers!

      Piquet is one of several who dont seem to have had a good time under Briatore – he just went a bit more extreme than his predecessors to get good favour with the boss.

    • Patrickl said on 21st September 2009, 15:10

      Pfft, poor Piquet. Don’t make me laugh.

      He lost his job because he couldn’t drive properly and then prolonged his suffering by crashing into a wall on purpose.

      He could and should have left Renault after his dismal 2008 performance.

      • S Hughes said on 21st September 2009, 15:23

        I reckon he could have done better if he was in a team with a manager that actually gave him an equal chance with equal equipment, who didn’t bully and threaten him at every turn. He was very talented in GP2.

        • Nirupam said on 21st September 2009, 15:45

          He was very talented in GP2

          And so was Kovy..and I believe I remember what we had written about him couple of weeks back :P

          • S Hughes said on 21st September 2009, 16:11

            I actually think Kovy is okay – he’s steady and a team player. No-one will be as fast as Lewis so they are expecting the impossible. I think they should renew his contract. I actually spoke to Heikki briefly on Saturday at Westfield Shopping Centre. I said, “I hope you drive with Lewis next year”. He stopped, paused and said, “I hope so too”, but he didn’t look very hopeful. He looked quite sweet and he and Lewis obviously get on really well. Lewis was amazing as usual.

        • Bigbadderboom said on 21st September 2009, 16:23

          Piquet is as guilty as anybody in this, he should have kept some perspective in his life. Poor playboy millionaire, driving F1 cars, being flown everywhere on a private jet, and even though he managed to cock up his career, he has the audasity to say “Uncle Max…..Flav made me do it” His immunity is what makes me sick.

          • Maksutov said on 21st September 2009, 18:26

            i agree, Piquet now says sorry, but everyone forgets that it was HIM who made the crash and HIM who agreed to proceed with this illegal act. If Piquet did the right thing he should have come forward with the information immediately, and complain about the unfair treatment.

            But no, he played the dirty game and made dirty deals on his own choice because he WANTED to. And he is equally as guilty, in fact he is the most guilty of all.

        • I’m sure running in a slower car doesn’t mean he has had to crash it, what, 17 times? Doesn’t strike me as a good driver at all, and certainly not a racer. He drives without desire or competitiveness in F1, whatever his resume says.

          And with his questionable sense of professionalism and ethics, I don’t think he should be given another chance.

        • Patrickl said on 21st September 2009, 17:43

          Oh knock it off. Piquet HAD equal equipment. There were 4 races this season where he had an update a race later. That’s 4 races out of 28. That’s hardly and explanation why he performed so badly.

          Why was he bullied to perform? Because he sucked even after he stated that he would beat Alonso.

          He did fine in GP2 although he got beaten by a rookie, but F1 was just one step too high. He simply couldn’t deal with the complexity and he didn’t have the commitment and dedication neccesary either.

          • Bigbadderboom said on 21st September 2009, 19:25

            Basic lack of speed and talent is what I always thought, however I can now add integrity to the other things he lacks……oh yes and balls, piquet definatley lacks balls.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st September 2009, 21:24

      How can anyone feel sorry for Piquet? He wasn’t forced to collaborate, he chose too.

      • Nitpicker said on 21st September 2009, 21:27

        Absolutely. By granting him immunity, the FIA have made him their chosen “victim.” I’m not at all sorry that Flav has been dishonourably discharged, but it does look like something of a witch hunt.

      • Patrickl said on 21st September 2009, 21:45

        I wouldn’t even exclude the possibility that it was indeed Piquet who suggested this.

    • Ned Flanders said on 22nd September 2009, 2:46

      S Hughes- Piquets’s life has not been destroyed… he has destroyed his own life!

  15. Too big to fail. Renault is like one of those wall street banks… it is not a punishment, is a bailout from FIA

    • Ned Flanders said on 21st September 2009, 15:38

      Good analogy. If Renault decided to leave F1 off the back off a major fine/ suspension, the only remaining manufacturers would be Ferrari, Mercedes and Toyota (who may yet leave themselves). That would be a bit like DTM…

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