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 (39%)

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)

  1. Patrickl said on 21st September 2009, 14:47

    It’s absolutely bizarre that they didn’t at least lose the spoils of that illegal win. Either through monetary punishment or a ban for the next Singapore race.

    I’d say this verdict is an utter farce.

    How can you fine McLaren $100 million for asking what gas Ferrari uses in their tyres, yet completely messing up a race and putting peoples lives at risk gets you no punishment at all. Well a stern talking to and a “Don’t do it again! tsk tsk tsk!”

    What parallel universe do these WMSC people live in? Bizarro world?

    Suppose that some bank robbers use my car for a heist. They get cought and they flee from my car, leaving the stolen cash behind. Now do I get to keep the money that they just stole? According to the WMSC I would be allowed to keep it I guess.

    • @Patrickl
      “How can you fine McLaren $100 million for asking what gas Ferrari uses in their tyres…”

      Apparently McLaren had the entire design documents of the Ferrari car for that year and not just the information on “gas” used in tyre, as you would like to believe. Then they lied about not having used that information. They were even testing based on the data obtained.

      • Nitpicker said on 21st September 2009, 20:37

        You have missed the point my dear. Patrickl was highlighting the ridiculous disparity between the punishments, not the similarity of the crimes.

    • Suppose that some bank robbers use my car for a heist. They get cought and they flee from my car, leaving the stolen cash behind. Now do I get to keep the money that they just stole? According to the WMSC I would be allowed to keep it I guess.

      Yes, you may keep it, on condition that you spend several million dollars(an amount at least equal to the total money from the robbery) on projects to improve roadway safety.

      As I read the WMSC statement, this is what Renault Corporation will be doing, to atone for the trespasses of it’s Team F1.

      Read, folks, read! Read the FiA statement, please. I understand this is an emotional topic for many, but let us not allow emotions to rule intellect.

      Furthermore, the statement published Monday is but a preliminary statement of findings. Complete details and transcripts well be available soon. I believe I’ll reserve judgment of how good or bad the WMSC decision is, until after I read the complete findings.

      (And Patrickl, only the portion of this comment regarding the bank robbery was meant for you. The rest is to commenters in general.)

  2. For massa Title said on 21st September 2009, 14:48

    think about the massa should have at singapore 2008 maybe 10 point and hamiltaon maybe 8 / 6 then halmiton the world title only by 1 point

    it effect other driver and team Ferari lost Driver Title in 2008

    – sorry my inglish no so good

    • Patrickl said on 21st September 2009, 15:02

      “team Ferari lost Driver Title in 2008″

      Indeed Ferrari lost Massa his title due to their bad pitstop.

      Although Massa crashed during the first two races. If he had not done that he might have been WDC too. But then Hamilton might have …

      if if if

    • mp4-19b said on 21st September 2009, 15:08

      I have a lot of respect for Brazilians & their passion for Formula One. I suspect you are from brazil, Plz don’t plea for the title. Even Massa wouldn’t want the title to be won in this manner. Its gotta be done on track.


      • Yes we want to see the drivers going at it, wheel to wheel in the dying laps of the race at a great venue like Spa…oh wait hang on…

        • just me said on 21st September 2009, 18:53

          … and lets have FIA appointed stewards step up and do “justice” and “adjust the race result” to “correct” a “clear unfair advantage” McLaren obtained by cutting corners in the name of fairness and consistency

  3. business over justice

    • just me said on 21st September 2009, 19:22


      who ever had the illusion that F1 has anything to do with justice or similar concepts like fairness, sportsmanship, ideals etc.

      @Keith: I would be very interested in a poll asking how many F1 fans will stop watching F1 from now on based on current events.

      I suspect a negligible fraction. So I expect no pressure whatsoever from the fan/viewer base for FIA/FOM to change a thing with their ways.

      As mentioned several times be4: The current publicity is most likely drawing more viewers into F1. The more fuzz, scandals and front page controversies, the better.

      19 races on the 2010 calendar with 13 ( or 14?) teams is not exactly evidence for F1 going to die soon after years of intense scandals and controversies.

      FOM should thank and reward Nelsinho, Flav & Pat for providing the great spectacle that F1-proper can’t deliver on track any more (with cars being regulated into equalised performance).

  4. Dr Jones said on 21st September 2009, 14:48

    Where would you think Alonso will transfer next year? Ferrari? ;)

  5. Fed up with all of this.

    My reaction was to fire up youtube and found this: .

    Looking forward to watching F1 here!

    • Great link, thanks.

      Would love to see F1 run there.

      That track has changes in elevation….while cornering! :)
      Looks to be as much fun as Spa.

  6. Arun.India said on 21st September 2009, 14:48

    This is the stupidest punishment i have heard .Suspended ban is nothing but letting them go free.Not even a once race ban.The mclaren spying incident was much lighter offence than this one and these words are coming from a hard core ferrari fan.

    • Arun.India said on 21st September 2009, 14:50

      But flavios punishment is alrite no regrets in that…

      • Bigbadderboom said on 21st September 2009, 17:08

        And it was Flavio and Pat Synmonds who committed the offences, why punish the parent company?? And i wish people would stop comparing the McLaren incident and this, they are two very different things in very different circumstances.

  7. verstappen said on 21st September 2009, 14:48

    I think justice has been done. Especially if you look at the punishment for Briatore.

    • Nitpicker said on 21st September 2009, 20:43

      Oh how I love the line that explains how any driver managed by Briatore will not be reissued a superlicence. No more 20%s Flav!

  8. This was expected, very sad day for F1. Not to be taken seriously and most important of all, do not waste your money on it. I might watch if I have nothing better to do, but will no longer attend any races or spend one single penny on this so call sport. Disgraceful.

  9. It is a very soft punishment. But I can’t seem to blame FIA for this one. They somehow stopped a team from leaving the sport, which is important considering the larger picture.

    A mixed bag really.

    • just me said on 21st September 2009, 19:54

      I do blame FIA for this: Why was there no serious investigation right after the race in 2008? All the ‘hard’ evidence (the technical data and voice recordings) were available then as they were now. Suspicions were raised even during the race by various reporters and other teams.

      Who is punishing FIA for not doing its job of governance?

    • Nitpicker said on 21st September 2009, 20:47

      They somehow stopped a team from leaving the sport, which is important considering the larger picture.

      Oh yeah! Let’s have a grid full of cheating teams! We could see how many cheats they can commit during a single race. Back in the Benetton days they could manage two or three, perhaps an extra one if it was a title-decider! Who needs integrity and honesty when we can have back-stabbing, dirty dealing and race fixing! All adds to the intrigue and excitement innit!!

  10. Dr. Mouse said on 21st September 2009, 14:53

    To those saying “A big fine or bans would scare Renault off”: So? Yes, it may be ‘bad for the sport’, but rules are rules. This develops (or rather extends, in the FIAs case) the “one rule for some, another for the others” mentality, which is worse for the sport. They should be punished based upon the ‘crime’, not on the consequences of the punishment.

    As for the rest, yes, Flav and Symonds quit, but that was not (at least officially) the action of the team. Personally I find it difficult to beleive that noone else knew anything, but I have no evidence. In the end, I consider this a little too lenient, and probably motivated more by politics than anything else. A fair punishment would have been at least a fine in the millions, a race ban AND this suspended permanent ban.

    Only my oppinion of course, but I’m entitled to that :P

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 21st September 2009, 15:38

      I think I agree, Dr Mouse.
      But I never really epxected any dramatic penalty and certainly no revelations today. Once Pat ‘n’ Flav had gone and Team Renault admitted responsibility, there was no prospect of a real investigation and exposé.
      Rather it was a damage limitation exercise for Renault and a political fudge from the FIA so as not to upset Renault itself.
      Pathetic really.

    • It would also be bad for the hundreds of highly specialised staff who work for Renault F1, being made redundant during a global financial crisis that has hit the motor industry particularly hard.

      It sickens me how many of you are baying for the blood of Renault F1 when there are real people who were not complicit who would be the only ones to suffer.

  11. I’m not going to vote on the poll because I’m not certain whether the punishment is too soft or too hard, but it certainly is too inconsistent. Thanks for that FIA.

    • maybe the best post till now

    • What’s inconsitent ?

      When McLaren claimed the Ferrari information had not been seen by any other than the chief designer, not been used, and that said designer had been suspended, they got away with no punishment at all, not even a suspended one.
      When they were caught lying to the stewards, they got a suspended 3 races ban.

      Looks like as long as you’re fully open in front of the WMSC, and show you’re taking actions to prevent the event from happening again, you have a chance to get away without much damage. So far only McLaren has been caught lying to the WMSC, so we have yet to see if another team would be punished the same way.

    • Bezackly ! If you come down on one team like a tonne of bricks, then you must do it to all the others. FIA is playing favourite child, again.

  12. Considering the FIA said the offence was of “unparalleled severity” I think the punishment given to Renault is too soft, they are saying it is the worst crime committed in F1 but all they get is a suspended sentence and pay legal costs of the FIA.

    For spying McLaren got a $100m fine and excluded from the championship and for having an underweight car because of their dodgy fuel tank BAR got a two race ban, and for lying earlier this year McLaren and Hamilton were disqualified from the race in question and given suspended race ban.

    I think by looking at the punishments handed out we can see that the main target was Briatore and having given him a lifetime ban from having anything to do with motorsport they couldn’t let Symonds off.

  13. mp4-19b said on 21st September 2009, 14:56

    Renault are the Luckiest @#$%&* F1 TEAM IN THE PADDOCK

    ———> Let off in J-damper gate
    ———> let off in Tyre-gate
    ———> let off in crash-gate

    If you go back to their Benetton days(same bunch ‘o’ people)

    illegal traction control
    illegal fuel rig
    illegal wing etc etc


    • The Beard said on 21st September 2009, 15:17

      + fuel cooling (the FIA couldn’t do anything because they didn’t measure ambiant temp which the rules required)

    • It always helps to be a close personal friend of Bernie.

      • If you actually read the FiA statement fully, you will see that friendship with Bernie apparently did Briatore little good in this instance.

    • Nitpicker said on 21st September 2009, 20:54

      Renault couldn’t be “punished” for the tuned mass damper, you fool. It was a technical gadget that was outlawed mid-season. It stretched the rules a bit too far, but that is what the technical innovation in F1 is all about.

      It would have been daft to punish Renault for the loose wheel at Hungary. No team would release their car in the knowledge that a wheel would fall off a few corners later.

      However a funny thing about the Hungary incident is that you can buy a 1/18th scale model of Fernando’s Renault F1 car that raced at Hungary, and manufactured by Hot Wheels! Simply brilliant. It’s not the 2009 model though, because it has four wheels. Click here.

  14. neracer said on 21st September 2009, 14:57

    The FIA & WMSC may as well have a slogan on their headed paper “Down with McLaren, Tolerate the rest”. What a load of rubbish. And suddenly Alonso, one of the most cunning drivers who always knows how to exploit events in a race, is very naive and had no idea that all this was going on.????

    F1 is like pop music, constantly curtailing it’s natural and creative direction to cater for the imagined public taste! Eugh! Reminds me of ‘The Jam’ – “the public wants what the public gets”.

    Anyway, rant over. I’m gonna watch F1 next year and if it continues in this vein, I’m giving it up!

    • mp4-19b said on 21st September 2009, 15:01

      It has always been & will always be:

      McLaren VS FIA,WMSC,FOM & rest of the thugs.

    • S Hughes said on 21st September 2009, 15:02

      Well said! If you’re McLaren, you don’t stand a chance. If you’re not, anything goes, cheat away. Teflon man rides again.

      • You two are hilarious!

        That said the penalty was too soft – they desrve some sort of monetary fine, but not in the league of Macca’s.

        • Martin said on 22nd September 2009, 1:50

          I am not a mclaren disciple but they are not far from the truth. The fia and all the other groups are definetely anti mclaren.

  15. Kevanfolan said on 21st September 2009, 15:02

    Well thank god that Briatore is gone. That cheating little fecker. Disgrace he was even still in the sport.

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