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. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st September 2009, 21:42

    I don’t think the McLaren ‘spygate’ verdict is much use as a point of comparison. I think the more relevant comparison is with Schumacher crashing into Villeneuve in 1997.

    On that occasion the FIA said Schumacher’s punishment was mitigated by the fact that the crash was not, in their opinion, pre-meditated. Yet they still stripped him of second place in the drivers’ championship.

    On this occasion it is clear Renault’s crime was pre-meditated. And yet their punishment is weaker than Schumacher’s.

    • But don’t rules stipulate that the season result can’t be changed after November 30th (I’m sure I read that somewhere). In ’97 & ’07 action was taken within the required time frame was it not?

    • Bigbadderboom said on 22nd September 2009, 7:20

      The difference is that the offender (shuey) was to continue racing, and is under FIA juristiction.

  2. the Sri lankan said on 21st September 2009, 22:05

    i just heard the news. this is beyond shocking. i might as well walk my granny into the wmsc and give her a seat certain even she can make a better judgement on this case than the so called officials. it’s obviously done to keep renault in f1 and possibly to give williams a new boost of courage as they are moving away from Toyota to Renault engines. but a disgraceful result nonetheless. i feel sorry for F1 and it’s original creators. surely they will be rolling over their grave by now

  3. Mike "the bike" Schumacher said on 21st September 2009, 22:21

    The punishment for Flavio was fair, as was Symonds, but piquet should never have been given immunity, although I don’t think he’ll be making a f1 return any time soon. Renaults punishment should have been more severe, but if they were banned they would have just left instead.

    • mp4-19b said on 22nd September 2009, 5:37

      The punishment for Flavio was fair

      You people get satisfied too easily!! Just close you eye & think deeply for a minute or so. Think bout whats he done. Think bout how this fatso’s actions have permanently scarred the sport. just think. His pocket is fat as as it was before, he’s still got all those palatial houses, he still has his bikini model wife, his bank balance is still a ten digit number. tell me now as top how you’d call Flavio’s punishment fair.

      • Bigbadderboom said on 22nd September 2009, 7:27

        MP4, anybody cane see from our various posts that we are not going to agree on this one.
        But please explain what else could the FIA do to Flavio? He has had all his motorsport related business activities effectivley shut down and been banished from all motorsport forever!
        The facts are although what he done was extremely dangerous and without doubt the worst case of cheating I can remember, nobody WAS killed or hurt, and without Piquets willingness to participate in the plan none of this would have happened.
        I must wonder though where Piquet Snr came into this, at what point was he aware of the plan?
        The piquets immunity in all this is what sickens me, personally I can’t see why they were offered immunity, stick Piquet in court under oath and he’d crack anyway, for gods sake he crashed a formula 1 car apparently because he was “Bullied” he is obviousley a coward.

  4. The FIA have sent a letter to all teams,

    Dear F1 teams

    Its ok to cheat in a gp, but if you get found out later, just fire someone and you will get a get out of jail free card

    Except if your McLaren

    And Ferrari will be past under the Radar for every controversy

    Have a good dat
    Sincerely Max and the FIA

    This hole crash gate saga is a f*****g joke, with this outcome its a suprise the trail took place at all, what a waste of time

  5. This proves the FIA are a bunch of puppets. I hope Piquet never gets behind the wheel of another car. Personally the team at the very least should have been fined 100million dollars. Reporters can say Mclaren were not honest etc etc. But the reality is face fixing no matter where in the world is a crime, and Renault and these three potato’s conspired to commit that crime with Piquet, being the worst offender of all. You cannot commit murder and expect to get away with it, and Piquet has done that.
    If I was Mclaren I would be very very dirty towards the FIA at the moment. Goes to show, how much influence Max Mosley has.

    • mp4-19b said on 22nd September 2009, 5:27

      Personally the team at the very least should have been fined 100million dollars

      But…but.. sputter… but tha.. tha ..**cough** …would…SNEEZE… SCARED ‘EM AWAY!!!!

      What a farce.

      • Bigbadderboom said on 22nd September 2009, 7:35

        So you would rather damage F1? Or do you want to see Formula Cosworth next season, when we go back to Mercedes V Ferrari. Renault are a key engine supplier, and although it shouldn’t have any impact upon the WMSC decision, it has to. F1’s current evolution coupled with tricky economic conditions and our own desire to see more cars on the grid next year mean that the whole incident is far more complexed, perhaps it shouldn’t be, but it is.

  6. manatcna said on 21st September 2009, 23:01

    The light punishment of Renault is simply because the FIA and Bernie felt they couldn’t afford to drive another team out.
    BMW have seemingly been saved, although nobody expects Toyota to be here much longer.
    Also the “new” teams will be a waste of space, I look forward to seeing them “Race” though – should be a laugh.

    • mp4-19b said on 22nd September 2009, 5:23

      The light punishment of Renault is simply because the FIA and Bernie felt they couldn’t afford to drive another team out.

      When was the last time that a team quit because of a financial penalty for cheating?? I don’t recollect any. But bending the rules just cuz they threatened to pull out is absolutely a crazy explanation. The FIA have set a wrong precedent. Now all that one has to do get away with cheating is sack the team boss, the technical director & plead guilty!! Funny thing is that the FIA is ready to grant immunity to the criminal :) :) What an effing organization!!

      • Bigbadderboom said on 22nd September 2009, 7:48

        I agree that the immunity given to the Piquets is nothing short of scanadalous, and it is the greatest miscarriage of justice in the whole episode.
        But Renault should not be held entirely responsible for the actions of a couple of individuals, the FIA/WMSC have made recommendations that in future team principles and directors should also have to gain licenses to operate in F1, so should they breach condition they can no longer walk away. But MP4 spare a thought for the 400 innocent Renault F1 employees who dedicate all their energy to their team. If Renault have agreed to continue in F1 in accordance with concorde and continue supplying others with their engines then I am happy with the outcome.

  7. It’s an absolute travesty. It’s like sending a petty thief down for a year and giving a rapist a slap on the wrists. Renault should do the decent thing and withdraw from F1 with their dirty, scheming rotten team. And Alonso, what a two faced c&*t, thru and thru.

    You know what to do folks. Absolutely boycott Renault & Santander products in every way possible, it’s the only way to make ‘em pay.

    Disgusting fat cat big business politics. Nothing to do with competitive instinct.

    Alonso can drive but I cannot ever support his actions ever again. It was bad enough with his toys all over the pit lane and the pram on its side…

    • Apologies, I meant ING NOT Santander!

    • mp4-19b said on 22nd September 2009, 5:17

      But If you start saying things against Alonso, his worshipers retort back saying where is the proof & stuff. But people must know that a “SMOOTH CRIMINAL” never leaves behind any proof & stuff. No driver in the history of the sport(with the exception of scumacher) has been embroiled in so many controversies, yet comes out “CLEAN” everytime!! Alonso make scummy look like a sane man. The problem with Alonso is that he’s rotten down inside. He’s an untrustworthy character.

    • Yes, by all means, boycott Renault & ING. Never buy another of their products, and drive them and all their resultant laid-off employees into bankruptgy. Punish the employees of those companies & the family’s of all the employees ….right. Not.

      Try to focus here, folks. Briatore, Symonds & Piquet Jr were the conspirators.

    • Let’s not mix things up, there are a lot of thing to be said about the 2007 season.

  8. How does this affect the contracts some drivers have with Briatore?

    • Doesn’t affect the contracts themselves at all, per se.

      However … should a driver continue to retain Briatore as his manager, said driver’s superlicense will not be renewed by FiA.

      I should think Briatore’s client list will dwindle rather quickly.

  9. Prisoner Monkeys said on 21st September 2009, 23:38

    Renault have “Concealed” the biggest LIE in the history of motor sport for over an year!! Isn’t that reason enough to punish them more severely??

    Renault may not has known.

    As far as we know, three people were aware of the plot: Briatore, Symonds and Piquet. How can the rest of Renault cover something up that they knew nothing about? Nothing was mentioned in the transcript between Piquet and the pit wall. Piquet’s testimony never mentioned anyone else.

    Renault might have “gotten away” with it, but Flavio Briatore sure as hell didn’t.

    • mp4-19b said on 22nd September 2009, 5:09

      Renault might have “gotten away” with it, but Flavio Briatore sure as hell didn’t.

      What makes you think Flavio’s punishment is just? He has made a fortune for himself over all these years. We still dunno how many of his “Victories” are suspect, we may never know .But the point is, this Flav punishment is too little too late. He wouldn’t care less bout F1 now. He has plenty of money to feed his next 50 generations!! The man is shameless, he has always been that way. So he will not care about thinks like honor, shame,dignity, pride etc All he cares & thinks about is money. The FIA should have punished him where it hurts him the most. I would have been glad to see Flavio poorer by 10 million or so. A financial penalty was the only way to have punished this fella. He doesn’t give a damn to other things.

      • Briatore cannot ever again participate in any capacity in any racing series that desires sanction from FiA.
        And it’s blatantly apparent that Briatore’s driver management company will soon be nonexistant.

        Do you believe these things will have no detrimental effect on Briatore’s finances?

        And why did you think FiA/WMSC on Monday would have levied fines on Briatore? According to FiA Statutes, once Briatore left/was forced out at Renault, FiA held no purvue over him and were powerless to “punish” him–though I’d think the actions they DID take amount to a punishment anyway.

  10. manatcna said on 21st September 2009, 23:52

    Didn’t I read somewhere that Piquet sr told someone (Charlie Whiting?) about this 11/12 months ago?

    • mp4-19b said on 22nd September 2009, 5:01

      Yes. Piquet Sr confided to Whiting last November at Interlagos.

      • And that being the case, should he not also be brought before WMSC to answer for his silence in the knowledge of a potential conspiracy?

        Why is no one screaming for Whiting’s blood?

  11. gpcampbell said on 21st September 2009, 23:53

    I think this was always going to be the case, but im surprised a fine wasn’t handed out. However they are “contributing” to saftey funds.

    I really didn’t expect to see much of a ban. While on the surface it may seem lienient but is it fair to punish a manfuacturer (renault) for something that its race team employees did. They fired them and the FIA banned them. Although im a tad surprised they didn’t knock em from the singapore race (im pretty sure renault wouldn’t have even cared too much – as im sure they dont really want to be racing this weekend).

    In fact their presence is probably more harm than help.

    • mp4-19b said on 22nd September 2009, 4:59

      Just wondering what would happen if Renault manage to pull of a win this weekend at singapore. Would be too strange, wouldn’t it?

  12. Dave F. said on 21st September 2009, 23:58


    They are allowed to race for the rest of this year also.
    it’s clearly stated in the vast number of news reports.

  13. Dave F. said on 22nd September 2009, 0:08

    @ Keith Collantine
    i think that was dangerous, but fairly slow speed.
    I believe there was a faster/worse one between Senna & Prost in ’80.
    My memory is vague if someone can clarify that.

  14. Dave F. said on 22nd September 2009, 0:13

    @ Dane
    They have to find new managers before they renew their super license with the FIA, but in reality I suspect most have already drafted letters to absolve their contracts.

  15. wasiF1 said on 22nd September 2009, 3:42

    I think Renault should have been fined. But as for the Global problem FIA had decided not to instead they want Renault to stay in F1 for another 2 years. Money TALKS

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