Renault escape ban for crash (Poll)

2009 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

385 comments on “Renault escape ban for crash (Poll)”

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  1. What really sadness me is that the real perpetrators of the crime have gotten away with this!!
    Dunno what they are upto now. But I suspect one is upto planning something very sinister, cuz the fatso will not rest in peace until he seeks his revenge & the other I hear is shamelessly holidaying in Spain. I suspect he’s sunbathing on one of those nude beaches in Costa Natura or Playa de la Mar Bella or wherever. Absolutely pathetic :(

  2. Aside from the fact that there was no fine based on the amount of money received for winning the Singapore GP, and that they’d basically have to do it again to get banned, I feel this was the right punishment.

    Flav is gone for good. Symonds will find it hard to find a job after five years in the wilderness. Piquet’s F1 career is over.

    Yes, it pales in comparison to the McLaren case, both in crime and punishment. That doesn’t mean Renault, the team, who had nothing to do with it, should be slammed. The ridiculous witch-hunt of McLaren and Ron Dennis doesn’t justify doing the same to Renault.

    Some of the reaction to this is almost as if Piquet, Flav, and Pat had claimed innocence, were found guilty, and then only got this sentence. The WMSC no longer has jurisdiction over the three, apart from Piquet, though he was given immunity. One thing though: if the case could never have been proven without Piquet’s testimony given under immunity, would any of you be happy with that?

    1. The ridiculous witch-hunt of McLaren and Ron Dennis doesn’t justify doing the same to Renault.

      Agreed. I still think Renault got of lightly, but their penalty is more appropriate to their crime than McLaren’s was for theirs.

      1. Renault got no penalty at all. How is that a more appropriate penalty for any wrongdoing?

  3. If the guy in the car that “crashed” did the correct thing & raced his best that day, this would be a non event. He may have lost his ride, but he could be satisfied with himself as an honest person.

  4. I am surprised fernando alonso’s slate was wiped clean..he claims that he dint have any knowledge what-so-ever about the crash!!! I mean r u f**king kidding me.??..that man(flavio briator) is alonso’s manager for god’s sake ..I am sure they both would have happily had a drink together that night laughing their ass out on the’s a shame that FIA has reduced the sentence falling for some cheap “substantial contribution” from’s a disgrace!!!!

    1. Evidence both witnessed and circumstantial make Alonso innocent. After the race he was clearly seen waving his arms saying “Safety car, Safety car” to Flavio as if a miracle had occured, Flavio looked shifty as well!!
      I’m a Lewis Hamilton fan, and I’m no supporter of Alonso, but sometimes you have to accept that events are as the appear to be, and sometimes somebody can be innocent. If you were Flav and Pat would you tell a driver that has previous for grassing up his employers about a sinister plan! Probably not.

  5. Nelson Piquet is doomed. From now on, NO ONE will hire him – a Judas, a jerk.

    1. For me he is the biggest villan in the whole episode, I really dislike the kid after what he has done.

    2. From now on, NO ONE will hire him

      I hear that McDonald’s might be interested.

    3. No one will hire him because he has no talent not because he is a Judas.
      Alonso on the other hand is a talented Judas so he get’s a Ferrari contract.

      1. Makes you wonder if Flavio already got the 20% signing on fee! could be worth 10million.

  6. One thing that I dont like is the fact that people are comparing it to the 2007 spying scandal. For me this should be looked at in its individual case, people’s lives were put in danger. F1 has been made a bit of laughing stock especially now that it seems that the FIA knew about this last year and have come out and said they couldn’t do anything as Piquet Jnr didnt make an offical complaint……. Dur, they knew that a team had cheated and still would not act!!

    1. They had no evidence until Piquet Jr confessed.

  7. Jelle van der Meer
    21st September 2009, 16:34

    I really love F1 although today is day I question why.
    Luckily I quickly remember that F1 is about much more than just the recent scandals.

    For me there is 1 commen factor is a lot of scandals or the way they are handled => Max Mosley. Thank god he is gone at the end of this year – hopefully not replaced by Jean Todt.

    Reading through the verdict it is surprissing that those worsed punished or most impacted by the punishment are completely innocent and have no involvement in the incident. These are the drivers that are represented by Flavio Briatore, because they must find a new manager or lose their license.

    Get me right – I am extremely happy Briatore is banned for life – but in the process to indirectly punish innocent people is so like the FIA.

    Yes Renault was fully cooperating whereas Mclaren was not but why did Renault or the FIA for that matter investigate it when Massa raised questions last year. The telemetry was available, conversations, etc, etc. Makes you wonder how many things are not discovered by the FIA until a driver/employee decides to have revenge on his former team/boss.

    Also it now seems that you can do whatever you want as a team as long as at the moment you are investigated you fully cooperate and fire 1 or 2 key positions.

    Last a call out to all the F1 teams – please never ever offer Piquet a contract. He will crash your car when he drives for you and he with trash your reputation when you fire him.

    1. For me there is 1 commen factor is a lot of scandals or the way they are handled => Max Mosley. Thank god he is gone at the end of this year – hopefully not replaced by Jean Todt.

      But Ari Vatanen wanted Renault to get off without a ban as well.

      1. Jelle van der Meer
        22nd September 2009, 7:49

        That comment was referring to the unpredictability of FIA decisions with no seemingly no logic.

        Don’t know if with Ari it will be better – just think it can not be worse.

        FIA’s number 1 priority is to regain credibility by becoming more transparent and better organized.

  8. I used to watch wrestling, good entertainment but fixed to the eyeballs. The ‘Pinnacle of motor sport’ is the same. Who can trust any results now?


    1. No one really thinks that.

      One exceptionally dodgy GP win in bizarre circumstances turned out to be a fix… therefore all GP wins are a fix. Right.

      Don’t be silly. The truth is, Alonso’s win looked suspiciously “lucky” all along. We merely refused to believe that Briatore or Piquet would stoop that low.

      1. “One exceptionally dodgy GP win in bizarre circumstances turned out to be a fix… therefore all GP wins are a fix. Right.”

        If you look at GP history you find a lot of technical problems developing for the Nr2 driver when Nr1 is behind him and needing points. Or Nr2 drivers not passing NR1 even when they are clearly faster. Shumi/Barrichello in Austria is perhaps the most glaring example of this sudden loss of speed to get the “correct” result.
        Im somewhere between OP and jonathan. F1 is nor wrestling but not entirely clean either.

  9. To me is a fair punishment, ahould had anyway some fine. Alonso has been cleared because he is NOT guilty, as he wasn’t on the Spygate. Now, that’s what I think, and I know some people will hate alonso whatever he does as I said in a previous post he “is” a meber of Al qaida.

  10. Not only is it only a suspended ban but according to the FIA:
    “However, having regard to the points in mitigation mentioned above and in particular the steps taken by Renault F1 to identify and address the failings within its team and condemn the actions of the individuals involved, the WMSC has decided to suspend Renault F1’s disqualification until the end of the 2011 season. The World Motor Sport Council will only activate this disqualification if Renault F1 is found guilty of a comparable breach during that time.”

    they have to do something equally as bad for the ban to kick in. So does this mean they can cheat as long as they don’t crash? On another note, Briatore might have been a cheat but I’ll still miss trying to figure out what the hell he’s talking about in F1.

  11. Carl27 – I think Id hate Alonso more if he was in a terrorism organisation….. This for me is not about Alonso. It should be about a fair and just system for everyone to know the rules and work to them.

    For me this just gives the next team that cheats a get out…. what they’ll say is sorry we cheated and can you give us the same punishment as renault please!

    1. And you think after this, anybody is going to get caught doing something similar. Too many people have lost respect, their jobs, their ambitions and their dreams. I will bet that we will not see any such scandal anytime soon in F1. And there will be rules such as FIA management licenses put into place to ensure this cannot happen again.

    2. Fair point, just got a bit fed up with people preferences judging the subject.

  12. Renault’s punishment is too soft, as in addition to the given punishment, the points awarded to them in Singapore last year should have been taken away and also should have given some cash fine like 1 million dollars…etc. But still happy that the matter is over now and people can focus on racing especially the interesting championship.

    1. There is no point taking away Renault’s points from the race, away from them.

  13. Can there be a second poll? How about one that says “For all those who chose one of the bottom two options, are you a bitter McLaren fan that will use any excuse to bring up the 2007 fine?”

    1. Obviously your hatred of McLaren blinds you to the fact that this is a ridiculous decision when you compare the two cases.

      1. I don’t hate McLaren. I am indifferent towards them. I actually support Brawn and Toyota.

        But, I think that if F1 history began in 2008, after the fine, the vote would be somewhat different. If viewed in isolation, I believe this penalty would seem appropriate to most people.

  14. I think its the right decision. If the whole Renault team knew about Piquet’s crash prior to the race, then it would have been to soft in my opinion.

  15. I think it is ridiculous that McLaren were fined such a huge amount for something that was in no way dangerous to anyone, yet Renault have got off scot free on this one.

    Bottom line is, Mosley hates Ron Dennis, and he knew Mclaren would not leave F1, whereas Renault have probably threatened to leave if they were fined heavily.
    I wonder what the rest of the teams think of this ? The corrupt FIA damage this sport more than anyone else.

  16. All those responsible have left the team, therefore the FIA is right to show clemency.

    This is totally different to the McLaren case, in which those responsible were still at the team, and in which the team had lied to the FIA through its teeth.

    1. So by that token if it was not Renault but just their employees at fault, you should agree that it was not McLaren, merely a handful of employees that were at fault, so the only difference is that in the 2007 case, nobody was put at risk of injury or death.

      1. This is totally different to the McLaren case, in which those responsible were still at the team, and in which the team had lied to the FIA through its teeth.

        1. Whatever. It still does`nt justify the huge inconsistency.

  17. I’m so glad this is all over, sod worrying about the penalty, me moaning ain’t gonna make anyone learn or change their minds.

    Lets just pray for a clean fantastic rest of a season, and a lot less political year next year.

  18. I read all the comments and agree with those who said that the punishment is too light. I do think that banning Renault would be too harsh specially since they aren’t proven guilty, and the obvious harm it would cause the sport etc…But I expected them to disqualify the results from the 2008 Singapore GP, or ban them for this coming one at least! I also did expect a monetary fine, as it is only fair compared to the spygate..

    Now some of you are saying that a 100 million didn’t harm McLaren much, but would damage Renault.. It might be true, but rules can’t be bent that way.. The FiA should set fixed fines based on the severity, this way ppl won’t be confused.. Whether you’re a McLaren fan or not, one cannot help but say that this is unfair to McLaren..

    Flavio and Symonds have been rightfully punished, some argued that Pat Symonds should be also banned for indefinitely, but we don’t know what went on between him and he FiA, he’s probably less guilty than Flavio so I think it makes sense that he gets a lighter punishment, after all maybe he was following orders, like Piquet..

    As for Nelson Piquet, out of the three I think Flavio is the most guilty, then Pat, then himself because he was following their orders. It’s true that he was the one who agreed to carry their sick plan out, but he made a selfish decision in fear of his career, little did he know that by doing that he would tarnish his career in F1 for life! Plus something had to be given in exchange for the information, his immunity. I think he should be lightly punished, but I can’t think of anything worse than tarnishing his F1 career – which he has done himself! Poor Piquet.. His apology on his website seems sincere, and I hope this will teach him a lesson and if he really deserves to be in F1 again, that he gets an offer and a second chance to prove himself.. Otherwise tant pis!

    1. I do think that banning Renault would be too harsh specially since they aren’t proven guilty

      They are definitely proven guilty.

      1. @Keith I meant Renault as a whole organization, not the F1 team.. The FiA seem to have an “innocent until proven guilty” approach and there’s no evidence that anyone else has anything to do with the crash, even though I find it hard to believe. Alonso must have known or at least known later about it, and the rest of the engineers must have suspected it when looking at the telemetry data.. What a sneaky world it is..

  19. MP4 I feel sorry for your fingers but you are summing up the inbjusice I feel perfectly.
    Mclaren’s punishment made a mcokery of the case because at the time Renault went scot free. Mclaren could say wait ‘this is a vendetta against us’ it totally and completely took away from the crime just as today has said the crime is acceptable.
    Briatore, Piquet and Symond’s have dmanaged the sport, risked people’s lives and influenced the WDC (whetehr you are Hamilton fan or Massa none of us can truly know what would have happened it leads us to say if if if if a hundred times and takes away from what a tremendous year it was).
    Renault was guilty by that it is a team and therefore is accountable. A large fine? No not at all, not for the actions of a few bringing a full team and everyone who works there to disgrace and bringing pain. Take away constructors points? At least the blooming win? The three should be banned for life.
    It is the day-to-day workers and Fernando I truly feel sorry for out of Renault being caught up in this and forever linked with such a sad case.
    I hope the FIA take note of this anhd realise we want change. Ari for president, to save our beloved sport.

    1. Agree with your statement above except I still believe that alonso is not as innocent as everyone is being led to believe.Alonso is very shrewd and he has somehow been involved in 2 of the last 3 scandals in f1 sport. 1st time an accident maybe, but we know he was in this up to his eyes and trying to use the info as a lever on Ron Dennis. 2nd time now and everybody is claiming innocence, I dont buy it. He may have covered his tracks so well that he is clear but I wont ever believe he didnt know what was happening.

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