Renault face Singapore hearing today

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Renault face questions from the WMSC about Nelson Piquet Jnr's Singapore crash
Renault face questions from the WMSC about Nelson Piquet Jnr's Singapore crash

The only foregone conclusion as Renault face the World Motor Sports Council today is what the verdict will be. Having revealed they will not contest the charges they caused a deliberate accident during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, a verdict of ‘guilty’ seems inevitable.

But there are many more questions awaiting answers, some of which we may learn today. What will their punishment be? Was anyone else involved in the conspiracy? Was Fernando Alonso? Has it happened on other occasions? And why did it take the FIA almost a year to discover it?

The scale of the conspiracy

So far we know about one conspiracy to deliberately cause a crash which involved three people. The obvious question now are: were more people involved, and were there other deliberate accidents?

Inevitably many people have seized on Alonso as having a lot to gain from the accident, as it won him the race, and therefore asked how it can be that he did not know about it. So far there is no evidence that he did. The stewards’ initial findings said:

As regards Mr Alonso and the other engineers, the Stewards have found no evidence to suggest that they knew anything about any plan to cause a deliberate crash on lap 14.

You can find the summary of Alonso’s remarks to the stewards on page five of this document (PDF). It is expected that Alonso will appear before the WMSC tomorrow to answer further questions. Hopefully this will settle the matter once and for all.

Renault’s punishment

The nature of Renault’s crime is serious – some are describing it as the worst seen in any sport. They cheated to win a race, put the lives of drivers, marshals and spectators at risk, and they kept quiet about it for the best part of a year.

In their favour, once the details of the scandal emerged they took action and Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds left the team. So far this seems to be a repeat of the 2007 ‘spygate’ case, where McLaren concealed significant details at their first hearing WMSC hearing.

We have to go back to 1997 to find the closest comparable case to the Singapore crash, when Michael Schumacher infamously rammed Jacques Villeneuve during the 1997 European Grand Prix. That was different in several important ways: it involved a driver, not a team, the contact involved another competitor, and it was utterly blatant. The WMSC concluded that:

Michael Schumacher’s manoeuvre was an instinctive reaction and although deliberate not made with malice or premeditation.

Despite ascribing these generous mitigating factors, the WMSC issued the following punishment (read the full PDF document):

The World Council decided to exclude Michael Schumacher from the results of the 1997 FIA Formula One World Championship for drivers. The final results of the FIA Formula One World Championship have been modified accordingly. The results of the Constructors’ Championship remain unchanged. Michael Schumacher retains his points and victories recorded during the 1997 season. In lieu of any further penalty or fine, Michael Schumacher agreed to participate in the FIA European road safety campaign for a total of seven days in 1998.

For consistency Renault should at least be stripped of their fourth place in the 2008 constructors’ championship. On top of that, as the teams earn money based on their finishing positions, I expect Renault will get a substantial fine, probably in the eight-figure-dollar range.

Renault do not have any suspended penalties hanging over them following their punishment at the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend. However the safety implications of crashing a car deliberately cannot be underestimated and the FIA will surely appreciate that in light of recent accidents. They may get the one-race ban they escaped last month – or longer – plus a suspended sentence.

Putting precedent and regulations to one side for a moment, we should ask ourselves whether the act of deliberately causing a crash with one car so the other car can win deserves anything less than a ban. I think it will reflect poorly on F1 if the FIA do not exclude Renault from at least one race. With Singapore the next event on the calendar, it would be especially fitting.

However any re-distribution of points from the 2008 race is out of the question – see this comment from Hakka for an explanation why.

As discussed here earlier, Briatore and Symonds are likely to go unpunished, but expect the FIA to discourage other teams from hiring them.

The politics

Unless the penalty is extremely severe, it is likely there will be suggestions the FIA softened it for political reasons. There were doubts over the future of Renault’s F1 team even before the Singapore allegations blew up.

Losing Renault’s F1 team could also mean losing another potential source of engines. Red Bull already use them (but are trying to get rid of them) and Williams are believed to be trying to source Renault engines for 2010.

Renault also run the World Series by Renault, which has helped the likes of Alonso, Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel into F1. And they supply engines for GP2, where seven of today’s F1 drivers last raced before reaching Formula 1.

Just as Max Mosley admitted McLaren’s 2007 spygate punishment was reduced for the sake of the drivers’ championship, political imperatives may soften the blow to Renault today.

The investigation

While the WMSC presses Renault for more details I’m also hoping we’ll learn new facts about the nature of the FIA’s investigation. Specifically, why did it take so long for the FIA to start investigating the claim when Nelson Piquet first told Max Mosley about it at the Brazilian Grand Prix in November last year?

There may be useful lessons the FIA can take from the case as well. One key piece of evidence against Renault is the telemetry from Nelsin Piquet Jnr’s car (PDF), which makes it quite clear that the accident was intentional. It’s easy to say with hindsight that the FIA should have noted the unusual circumstances of Alonso’s win and taken it upon themselves to look at the data right away. But this is something they should now seriously consider doing in future cases.

What do you think will be the outcome of the Renault hearing? How should they be punished? Have your say and share any developments from the meeting in the comments.

Renault Singapore crash controversy

178 comments on “Renault face Singapore hearing today”

  1. The punishment meted out to McLaren a couple of years ago should apply here – hugenourmous fine, strip the team of both constructor AND driver points for last year AND this year, permanent ban from F1 for Briatore, Symonds and Piquet Jr (already self-imposed I think).

    This is an absolute disgrace for the individuals involved and the sport as well. It comes at a time when we don’t need any more scandals. The FIA may not need to impose spending caps since sponsor money may disappear and there won’t BE any many to spend…

    Off my rant – F1 will survive but this is the last thing we needed.

    1. strip the team of both constructor AND driver points for last year AND this year

      Why driver points? In 2007 as well Alonso and Hamilton retained their points!

      1. Driver points should be stripped since I believe Alonso had to have heard about the planned crash and should have brought it forward.

        Perhaps he had no prior knowledge of the plan, but surely one of the three musketeers – Symonds, Briatore, Piquet Jr. – would have said “you had a little help there.”

        Recognizing the FIA had decided Alonso was in the clear, I’d like to see more evidence of a proper investigation having been done on Alonso. I know – innocent until proven guilty – but I don’t think the FIA worked very hard on examining that angle.

        Regardless of the exact punishment, it’s all a huge mess that never should have happened.

        1. To be fair, as much as I dislike Alonso, I’d be surprised if anyone (inc. someone with the supreme arrogance of Briatore) would have given him ammunition like that given the way he handled similar material that led to the ‘spy-gate’ investigation.

      2. HAS RENAULT BEEN BANNED FOR TWO YEARS IMMEDIATLEY??

    2. I totally agree with you.

      1. I agree with Bill Herring not Nirupam.

        1. I know..you cannot agre with me…never ever! :P

  2. Loosing Renault will be least sought after thing at this point. Somehow we avoided 2010 season being all cosworth cars, loosing Renault_the_engine_supplier means we will have only Mercedes and Ferrari contesting apart from cosworth (I have a feeling that Toyota might pull out as well).
    Though that does not mean that given the nature of the incidence Renault punishment should be lowered

    1. do you really think after briatore soiled the renaults name they will stay?

  3. Prisoner Monkeys
    21st September 2009, 0:33

    I never even thought about the ramifications of a Renault ban on the feeder series. Thanks for that, Keith. I was reading an interview with Mosley over the whole Renaul affair a few days ago and he pretty much admitted that the outcome of the Stepney Affair was politically motivated on a certain level. With Renault supporting two of the larger feeder series, maybed politics will come into it again and save them.

    I certainly think they’re worth saving, too. Reading between the lines on Renault’s dismissal of Briatore and Symonds – Briatore makes out that he did it of his own volition, but I can’t help but be sceptical – and the fact that they won’t contest the charges, it seems pretty clear that they do want to compete in 2010. They’re distancing themselves from all invovled, and they’re accepting the consequences of those actions. I’m no legal mind, but I have looked it up and if someone pleads guilty in a criminal case, their sentence is usually more lenient than if they had pled not guilty and were found to be guilty by the jury.

    As far as I know, only one team has ever been banned from competing until the end of time: Andrea Moda, after Sassetti got involved in organised crime. The difference between Renault and Andrea Moda is that Renault is a major car manufacturer and has success on and off for decades. Andrea Moda was a tinpot organisation, the joke of the pit lane for those with a darker sense of humour. Ironically enough, Andrea Moda and Renault have one major thing in common: both only ever really ran one and a half cars. Sassetti hated having Perry McCarthy around and even sent him out at Spa with a bent steering arm. For years, Briatore has only ever been running a second car because he has to. I’m sure that if given the choice, he’d run Alonso and Alonso only.

    But that’s moot point.

    1. I don’t see Renault being banned over this. Does anyone believe that Flavio decided to leave without being pushed, just because it was the honorable thing to do? I think we’ll see that if both resigned (and weren’t actually fired) it’s only because Renault corporate went to them with the ultimatum to quit or be fired. I haven’t seen ANY evidence, or even any allegations, that anyone higher than Flavio knew about the incident either before hand or afterward. If this is the case Renault is just as much a victim in this as anyone else. They have had their name drug through the mud and now will face a financial penalty (from not only the punishment they receive from this hearing, but also the loss of sponsors and the loss of face for their car brand). A severe punishment is only appropriate if the people who did the misdeeds are still around to suffer the consequences. The main course of action should be to find a way to keep Briatore and Symonds out of F1 and all FIA sanctioned sports forever.

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        21st September 2009, 6:42

        The main course of action should be to find a way to keep Briatore and Symonds out of F1 and all FIA sanctioned sports forever.

        As Briatore is no longer affiliated with Renault, I don’t think he can be brought to bear on this one. At least not directly. I’ve heard the suggetion that while the FIA cannot pin him for this one, they can ban drivers from working with him and either dissuade teams from hiring him in the future or trusting that they won’t associate themselves with him. While he technically won’t be banned from working in FIA-sanctioned motorsports, it will be ridiculously difficult for him to continue working, especially as a manager. And I’ve heard that the FIA wanted to talk to him about some of his management practices – incluing taking twenty percent of a driver’s salary (it’s naturaly for agents and managers to receive a cut of their charges’ income, but 20% is extoritionate) – but apparently he backed out of going to the hearing.

        There’s also been the suggestion that as a Commonwealth territory, Singapore may apply to have Briatore and Symonds extradited to face charges related to race-fixing and possibly corruption.

        1. There’s also been the suggestion that as a Commonwealth territory, Singapore may apply to have Briatore and Symonds extradited to face charges related to race-fixing and possibly corruption.

          I never thought of that, but it’s a damn good idea! Although theres always the “all’s fair” line, and people WILL push the regs as far as they can for a win, even breaking them as long as they don’t think they will get caught, there is a line and this is over it by a long way.

  4. I feel sorry for Alonso in this case. He was damned if he did know and damned if he didn’t. What could he do? Fuel the car himself? Blow the whistle and risk his career? I imagine, if he did know, he never believed Nelson would go through with it, and when he did, he found himself leading a race for the first time in almost a year…

    1. He could argue that he honestly did not know *before* the race — Renault’s strategy was widely interpreted as hoping for a safety car period, after all, it’s just that nobody expected them to actually *cause* it.

      But as to what he thought about it after the accident, well, that’d be interesting, though we’d probably never know for sure. I remember he was quite enthusiastic about his win, though. No embarrassment at all, at the moment (cf. Schumacher in Austria 02). So he probably has not figured it out then, but in the ensuing year, especially if Piquet Sr. has been making noise behind the scene…

  5. I believe the punishment will be severe, nonetheless. But if Renault were to be banned completely (no involvement whatsoever), then that would be pretty critical. Sure, we can do without the team, but engines are pretty hard to come by. And who wants a Cosworth engine next year? Didn’t think so. So, they’ll probably get a harsh sentence tomorrow, but it won’t really matter. Renault was probably going to pull out of F1 as a team, no matter if this was happening or not (b/c of Alonso’s not-so-private switch to Ferrari). It’ll be good to see them punished and out of the drama. I’ll be more than happy to see those scumbags pack up and go home!

    1. You’d think BMW would stay as an engine supplier. It’s mind-boggling, the way they are pulling out — no Concord, no nothing. Like the board had a collective panic attack or something.

      1. bmw is all green now, next they will making little frillie cars and being like the tuyuta hybrid commercials.

  6. Awesome picture Keith!

    1. yeah! I was just about to say that too!! Its like rewinding to the past, going backwards :) Judgement day at last!! Let the truth prevail.

  7. Nelson Piquet first told Max Mosley about it at the Brazilian Grand Prix in November last year?

    Wasn’t that Charlie Whiting?

    Piquet jr. told Mosley in July, but was then told by Mosley that he already knew about it from Charlie Whiting.

  8. Loosing Renault will be disaster as we are in a state of having Formula 1 Cosworth.

  9. I, for one, would like to know if there are performance clauses in alonso’s contract, and if that had any bearing on perceived pressure on renault to deliver a win for alonso.

    1. As a result of the win Renault finished higher than it otherwise would have in the team standings. Alonso’s contract contained a clause that renewed his contract with Renault for 2009 because of its place of finish. Had it finished even one place lower (which it would have without the points Alonso was awarded for his Singapore win), Alonso would have been free to move to any team of his choosing and Renault would have been scrambling to replace him. It gives a possible motive for their actions, but also adds doubt to any argument that Alonso knew about the plan ahead of time or even had knowledge of it before recent times. He wanted to make the move to Ferrari as soon as possible. He would not have agreed to take part in, or stay silent about, this type of manipulation that ultimately prevented him from getting out of his contract so that he could go to Ferrari.

      1. Actually, Renault finished 2008 24 points ahead of Toyota. So even if Alonso lost the 10 points for his Singapore win, Renault would still have been fourth overall.

  10. if this is the case, alonso could bring up that his contract was renewed under fraudulent conditions…but that would be for a court of law to decide.

  11. Bad news – But – if I had decided my next car was to be a Renault, this whole F1 mess wouldn’t have made me reconsider.
    Renault make some nice cars, (road cars), and that’s what we should focus on (no pun intended)

    My next car won’t be a Renault, but it could well have been.

    1. I think the punishment will be something like ban this year results and points from Renault Team, and a fine equivalent to the points’ income the Team gained last year.

      On the other hand we are talking about Renault punishment, what I’m really waiting to see, is the punishment WMSC will give to the real protagonists of this affair, one of them has been offered immunity…

      Inevitably many people have seized on Alonso as having a lot to gain from the accident, as it won him the race, and therefore asked how it can be that he did not know about it.

      Well, I think we could not say nobody had a lot of gain, because a win for a man who has won 2 WDC is not much, on the other hand no one could think this cheat was going to give a win, just a position near the podium.

      And this is what (IMO) make this issue worse than others. It’s the first time we have seen evidence of Top managers and a driver planning, in cold blood, something at very very low level, just for a bunch of points.

        1. because a win for a man who has won 2 WDC is not much,

          IDR, I’m sorry to say you that are too innocent mate! You think Alonso had nothing to gain from that crash? You think Alonso wouldn’t have cared if he hadn’t managed that win? Think again. Schumacher, the decorated 7 times world champion parked his car on the middle of the road to block your beloved Alonso at monaco. What do you think made him do that? You think he lost control of the car going at 15kmph? When a seven time world champion pulls out such dirty tricks, there is no reason why a two time world champion wouldn’t do so. Hope you got my point. And please, when you answer me back, answer back as a F1 fan not Alonso fan :)

          1. You think he lost control of the car going at 15kmph?

            Blimey, who could keep control at 15,000mph??
            Sorry, couldn’t resist :)

    2. True, I don’t tend to base my choice of road car on the behaviour of their racing teams.

      I absolutely hated Ferrari’s political manoeuvring in the past few years, but I would still have a Ferrari road car if I had the money. Likewise, I wouldn’t particularly buy a Renault road car – not because of the F1 scandal, but simply because I don’t particularly like Renault’s road car range.

      However, the big concern for Renault is really the people who are involved directly with their F1 team: the sponsors and the drivers, how will they attract either to a tarnished team?

  12. I don’t want to see Renault banned. Those responsible have lft the team, and its fairly obvious that Flavio managed to contain knowledge of the event to himself and Symonds (Maybe Alonso). It would be incredibly harsh to ban the parent company and punish the rest of the team for the actions of two others.
    However they cannot go unpunished, so they will probably forgoe all constructor points for last year, pay a substantial fine and be bound over (suspended ban).
    Renault, as Keith points out, contribute massivley to motorsport, through world series and rally, also sports saloon racing. And although it shouldn’t reflect in any punishment, F1 is desperate to retain engine suppliers, and Renault has a lot of experience with supplying F1.

    1. It would be incredibly harsh to ban the parent company and punish the rest of the team for the actions of two others.

      F1 is a team sport. The team benefited from the actions. The team should be punished. Just as with McLaren last year.

      The fact that the 2 involved quit should not be taken into account. If they had been publicly fired, yes, but they quit, so it was (officially) not the teams action.

      The fact that they are admitting guilt (by not contesting) should be taken into account in sentencing.

      Considering past punishments, I believe the LEAST they should get is what McLaren got last year, disqualification from the mfrs championship.

  13. And they supply engines for GP2, where seven of today’s F1 drivers last raced before reaching Formula 1.

    If the FIA are trying to push F2 as the main feeder, then GP2 (set up in part by Briatore) taking a hit might be in their interests. They run Audi engines I think?

  14. I have only recently realized that the claim that “Renault cost Massa the WDC” has some truth in it.

    Q. Why was Massa released with a fuel hose still attached?
    A. Because Ferrari’s automated signalling system was switched to manual, and the operator made an error.

    Q. Why was it on manual?
    A. Because the pitlane was exceptionally busy, and because they needed to fuel both cars one after the other.

    Q. Why these exceptional circumstances?
    A. Nelson Piquet Jr’s crash.

    So the two incidents weren’t unconnected at all.

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      21st September 2009, 9:26

      If Ferrari took that to a court of law, they’d have a hard time proving the case. Piquet’s accident and the safety car deployment may have been exceptional circumstances, but you would think that, being the greatest Formula One team, Ferrari would actually be able to plan for circumstances such as those. As Murray Walker once put it, anything can happen in Grand Prix racing – and it usually does.

      And they’d have a devil of a time proving that the operator’s error was a by-product of the pit lane being busy. Nor could thy prove that Massa would have won the race if not for the accident. Renault may have unknowingly played a key part in Ferrari losing that title, but to say that they were the cause? Ridiculous.

    2. Yet at Valencia they made almost the same mistake sending Massa out too early.

      With Hamilton and Raikkonen simply holding station behind Massa just clear of the dirty air, there would have been a high level of panic for the stop anyway.

      Massa and Hamilton were very light in Q3. So it’s not even certain that they would have finished on top of the podium. I’d say Raikkonen would have won that race. With Massa getting stuck in traffic after an early stop, there is a high chance that he would have gotten stuck behind another car or ended his race in a crash.

      Besides if Massa had won Singapore and Hamilton would have been second. The rest of the season would have been different too.

      For instance, Hamilton showed in the Brazillian GP’s free practice and qualifying that he was faster than Massa. He could have won that race, but they opted for the “save” strategy that was supposed to give him at least 5th.

      Also, lets not talk about unrightful championship changes. The Spa farce was a much clearer injustice than Ferrari’s own failure to give Massa a proper pitstop.

      1. I THINK EVERYONE MUST READ THE ABOVE COMMENT BY PATRICK BEFORE COMMENTING ON WHETHER HAMILTON IS A WORTHY CHAMPION OR NOT!

        1. The argument above is based on two fallacies:
          #1 Kill an ant in the past and the whole future will be different: Changing an event in a football match where all subsequent events will start from that changed point will indeed generate a different game. Change an event in a F1 race and the consequences will be contained in that race.
          #2 Lewis calculated and did only what he had to do to win it by one point: This is bloody ludicrous. First of all, they all do their best in every race(or so they say). If LH could, he would have chosen to win every single race last year. Furthermore, he would have to be a sourceror to calculate what should his performance be to win the championship (by 1 point) by overtaking Glock in the last curve of the last race.
          Had Massa got at least 1 point out of that race, there is no reason to believe that the subsequent race result wouldn’t be exactly the same – and therefore, Massa would be the champion now. I am not saying they should change things, but one cannot belittle the influence of this event in the 2008 championship.

          1. Ad #1) I simply claim that Massa would not have won that race due to his strategy and lack of pace to make it work. Raikkonen and even Kubica were too close behind.

            There is no reason why Massa couldn’t have done his usual “panic when in traffic” and hit a car while attempting some dumb overtake (like he actually did during that race) and lost every point still.

            It’s quite obvious though that if Hamilton had had to fight he would have taken a completely different strategy for Brazil though.

            Ad #2) Look at Monza. Hamilton came back all the way from last spot on the grid. He stopped overtaking cars as soon as he was behind Massa.

            So
            A) it’s not sure Massa would have even gotten points and
            B) It’s sure that Hamilton would have acted differently

      2. Hear hear. This topic should be put to bed now.

  15. At what time can we expect the outcome? Any ideas?

  16. The theory that Renault would quit F1 if they receive a harsh punishment was used as an explanation by some when they weren’t punished for having McLaren information. If that was the case then I don’t I think the threat has as much power in F1as it did, but it does have power in the junior series.

    I don’t want to see any more teams quit F1 but even if Renault and Toyota left there should still be at least 20 cars on the grid next season this was not the case a few years ago, and we have to remember that Mosley and the FIA prefer privateer teams to manufacturers at the moment and probably won’t mind if more teams were supplied by Cosworth.

    I think the even with Briatore and Symonds gone the punishment will be at least as bad as that which McLaren received after the spying case but I don’t know whether it will go so far as banning them from next season.

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      21st September 2009, 11:17

      there should still be at least 20 cars on the grid next season this was not the case a few years ago

      When were there less than 20 cars on the grid?

      1. When were there less than 20 cars on the grid?

        When British American Racing got banned for spain & monaco for using illegal fuel tank in 2005. So we had only 18 cars for those two races.

      2. I meant that if a couple of teams had quit a few seasons ago the grid would then have been less than 20 cars, whereas now if two teams quit we should still have at least 20 cars.

        So a threat of quitting F1 would have had more power a few years ago when it would have had more impact.

  17. Mark Webber is managed by Briatore isn’t he? So what does this mean for him?

  18. I think this will be a show trial simply to say ‘we are taking action. don’t do anything like this again’. They can’t punish Renault too severely for fear of them leaving and Briatore and Symonds have already gave their heads, Piquet is immune so what can they do? A fine if Renault can pay, lose last years constructors points? Will that make any difference?
    The disgrace is the actual people involved (who risked lives and the reputation of their team and the sport and influenced the WDC result) cannot now be punished; they’vre either walked away or somehow managed to get protected from punishment for being guilty.

    1. Nothing more to add. You’ve said it all mate.

  19. Thanks for a brilliant summary of the whole thing.

    I agree that the punishment should be harsh. It is generally acknowledged that this is one of the worst, or the worst, cases of cheating ever in sport, and certainly the worst in F1, so the punishment should reflect that, i.e. it should be worse than McLaren’s for spygate.

    Also, there must be a discussion on why this accusation wasn’t investigated sooner, particularly as it was hot gossip in the paddock at the time.

    I reckon Teflonman will live up to his name, but the suspicions will always be there.

    Lastly, I’m afraid that I have little faith in the FIA to investigate properly or find out the full story, or even to mete out the appropriate punishment. Their inconsistency is such that it really seems to depend on what team or driver is accused as to the harshness of the punishment. We all know that McLaren/Lewis get the harshest, and other teams/drivers get less in varying degrees.

    I wonder if the session will last more than a day.

    1. I am also curious if it will last more than one day.

      I am no lawyer. However Renault have not declaired being guilty just that they wont be providing a defence so persumably there still has to be a procsution agurment in court (thus why people have been called as witnesses) and a vote to first of all find Renault guilty.

      However i do hope this get rapped up today as if it drags on it could start to overlap this weekends GP.

      1. Yes, I agree the case must be done’n’dusted by today evening. “If” Renault are fined, it would be only appropriate to use that money for road & safety awareness, with Alonso as its ambassador. Every single penny must be accounted for, cuz we have people like Bernie,Luca di,Max & Todt waiting to gobble it up.

  20. Also, there must be a discussion on why this accusation wasn’t investigated sooner, particularly as it was hot gossip in the paddock at the time.

    Agree S Hughes, especially when rumour is Charlie Whiting knew since Brazil last year and plenty of people were suspicious at the time of the incident. I’m not saying F1 should turn Orwellian and spy on everyone and investigate everything, I think most of us are sick ofb stewards as it is, but when there was such an unspoken consensus and the FIA were aware before the season was done and dusted then action should have taken place.
    The idea that it was because Piquet hadn’t given a written statement at that point is ridiculous, he was allowed to basically threaten a team and drive a car into a wall and yet everyone’s hands were tied. It is a crazy way for F1 be.

  21. Mosley has taken out another enemy (Briatore), but he will have to justify the McLaren farcical fine, by giving Renault at least the same.

    Regarding Briatore & Symonds, I doubt any team would use them in the future, so I don’t really see an F1 ban for them as being an issue.

    But……F.I.A. continuity….hmm…..anything could happen.

  22. Other things to consider here.Are Renault leaving F1 anyway? Does the FIA already know this? Have Renault been given the opportunity to avoid a huge financial penalty by providing all of the evidence today?

  23. The hearing is over apparently. Piquet Jr and Alan Donnelly have left the building.

    1. Over in 2 hours?? What kind of a meet is that?

  24. Rumour of a 2 year suspended ban, continue racing – so no fine? If this is true, it makes a complete mockery of the McLaren $100m fine.

    1. Are you sure? A suspended ban is as good as no ban.

  25. Thanks S Hughes, wounder when we’ll know what has happened.
    If Renault do leave, which I’m not sure they will at least not yet, it would be interesting to see if Toyota make their excuses and bow out of F1 too.

    1. If it’s suspended, it was probably worked out behind closed doors before to save Renault from leaving F1. Talk about inconsistency of decisions, but let’s await official confirmation.

    2. According to F1-live:-

      Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport suggested that the French team can expect a US $50m fine and exclusion from the constructors’ championship standings.

      Will they be excluded from this years championship or last years?

  26. S Hughes I think Mclaren’s and lack of punishment in 2007 made a mockery of it anyway; mclaren were able to say ‘well Renault acted in the same manner albeit without a mole, they get off and we are handed this harsh penalty’. It was shown as Mosley going mad with his vendetta which took from the seriousness of the crime.
    I agree MP4 2 hours for the hearing and we’re meant to believe they covered every possible area?

  27. One thing is for sure. The WMSC comprises of some weird people, so we can expect some weird decisions.

  28. I think it is confirmed that it is a 2 year suspended ban – no fines, no stripping of points. Well, what an utter and complete joke. I am really starting to think that F1 is an arbitrary load of ****!

    1. How?? If its true its a joke. At least they must be stripped of the WCC points!!! A suspended ban is as good as none!!

    2. let’s thank Max :(

      1. 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.

  29. All complete show then if that is true! They were limited by how to punish them as soon as Briatore and Symonds bottled it and quit, Briatore didn’t even turn up! I love the racing and the technology and the teams and it is being ruined by how it is governed and the actions of a few individuals. Maybe Fernando Alonso was nright a few years back, F1 is no longer a sport, at least not by how it is governed as this sentence wasn’t even worth a hearing. I hope the punishment is more than that and will actually fit the crime.

  30. I know they were tied by that it happened last year and certain people left the team and fear of a fine could make the team leave but the punishment could still have been creative and fair. Take away their points from last season, monitor any changes within the team, ban the people involved from motor sport and sport for life, give the individuals a fine.
    People could have been killed all because Piquet wanted a ride at Renault. It changed the WDC, maybe Lewis would have won anyway and Ferrari were at fault for that pitstop but even if the pitstop hadn’t of happened elevating Fernando to first was taking points of the championship battlers anyway.
    The sport has been let down by that it wasn’t investigated soon, it was let down further by offers of immunity when the FIA seemed to be doing a thorough investigation but it has been tarnished by that investigation was taken seriously and yet has not achieved anything rather than bring insight. It seems we all now know what happened, what is the point in knowing when nothing will be done about it?
    Sorry for the ramble.

  31. The WMSC hearing took 90 minutes and a decision is expected today.
    From F1-Live

  32. Surely it’s a bit early for any decision to have been made yet?

  33. I don’t think it makes much of a difference if Alonso knew or not. The only thing he could have done would have been to tell the authorities which was done by Piquet Sr anyway and they ignored it. I don’t think Alonso should face any punishment. Piquet Jr on the other hand should be punished in some way.

    The nature of Renault’s crime is serious – some are describing it as the worst seen in any sport. They cheated to win a race, put the lives of drivers, marshals and spectators at risk, and they kept quiet about it for the best part of a year.

    I’m slightly disappointed Keith that you’re perpetuating the sensationalist and quite ridiculous idea that this might be the worst act of cheating in any sport when it’s not even the worst act of cheating in Formula 1. Senna Prost 1990 comes to mind as easily being worse. I like also that you add not telling anyone they cheated as some kind of separate charge that they are guilty of.

  34. There`s no sign of a verdict on the news feeds at the moment.

  35. ooh the suspense…

    1. The Renault decision has a smell of whitewash about it. Most commentators seem to think the Renault gate is worse than the McLaren gate, yet the penalties seem vastly inconsistent. This is ridiculous…

  36. No official confirmation yet, but a twitter from a Spanish journalist says: “Briatore out for life, Symonds 5 years out, Renault pays the bill but no sanction, Alonso INNOCENT”.

  37. Prisoner Monkeys
    21st September 2009, 12:44

    Question: who is the real enemy here? Renault … or Flavio Briatore?

    Yes, Briatore and Renault have been interchangeable terms. But the parent company of the team itself has distanced itself from him and from Symonds, they have accepted the allegations and they have co-operated with the FIA every step of the way.

    Their message is clear: Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds do not speak for the team. The decision to stage the accident and fix the race result did not come from Renault HQ. It was a decision made by Briatore and Symonds on the race weekend. Renault are like Mercedes during their Stepney Affair: they have had their name dragged through the mud simply beause they were associated with the guilty parties.

    If and when the FIA deal with Briatore and Symonds, you can pretty much expect that the punishment will be much more severe and much more befitting of the crime.

    1. another point of view:
      Max wanted Briatore’s head… and he got it, so that’s it

  38. K to be fair it is opinion and many feel this is the worst act of cheating ever, just like it’s your own opinion that Senna’s and Prost’s was. I didn’t mind theirs as much at least they only risked their own lives and new what the stakes were. Or maybe it’s just the evolution of opinion in F1 and the bigger interest in safety nowadays.
    I’m checking everywhere for a verdict announcement, if i find anything I’ll post it.

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      21st September 2009, 12:48

      I’m doing the same thing.

      Ten bucks says I find somehting first.

  39. It’s a bet Prisoner Monkeys :D

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      21st September 2009, 12:58

      I suspect I’m going to be eating my words very shortly …

  40. It should be Constructors losing points not Alonso because Lewis Hamilton has been around 2 cheating scandles and he didnt get points deducted and 1 this year being caught in the act lying. Unlike Alonso they don’t have proof he was involved or not.

    Just take the 10 points from alonso and leave it as that because if they take all of the points all the spanish fans will be up in arms “again” saying the FIA favour Hamilton.

  41. Prisoner Monkeys
    21st September 2009, 13:00

    Just take the 10 points from alonso and leave it as that because if they take all of the points all the spanish fans will be up in arms “again” saying the FIA favour Hamilton.

    What does Hamilton have to do with … well, anything in all of this?

    1. Im not trying to say Hamitlon is involved in this just comparing that both teams got caught and 2 totally different vedicts have come up. a cheats a cheat but it looks to me Hamilton and Mclaren got off lightly. you could argue why hasn’t Mclaren got a season bann yet and what i was trying to get round really was a “just if prediction”. if Alonso had all his points taken away for 1 race cheat but it was ok for Hamilton to cheat lose what was it 7 points in AUS? but still continue gaining points how does that work out?

      Hamilton cheats at the start in the 09 season he loses 7 points but can still get points and get up in constructors table no season banns.

      Renault cheats nere the end in the 08 season Alonso loses 61 points and drops down to the bottom in Constuctors table they get 2 season bann.

      i say come down hard on all teams/drivers getting points full stop depending who was involved drivers or constructors.

    2. It doesnt matter to the spanish, Hamilton is the antichrist or is plutonium to alonso.

  42. The verdict better come out soon as I’ve got uni Prisoner Monkeys :P
    And I agree Marcus, Alonso hasn’t really been implicated in it.

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      21st September 2009, 13:08

      The verdict better come out soon as I’ve got uni Prisoner Monkeys

      I happen to have uni too … except that it’s 10pm here and I’m on holidays.

  43. Just comparing cheating with people involved I assume. hamilton will probably always be brought up whenever there is a scandal partly because of the past and partly because he is love or hate character.

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      21st September 2009, 13:11

      Hate, hate, HATE!

      … I’m sorry, what were you saying?

  44. The scale and nature of the punishment will be completely politically motivated. I think it is naive to even hope for anything else.

    The reason that the investigation took so long is due to the nature of good old fashioned police work. In order to bring a high-profile target to rights you need to construct a water-tight case and make a solid ‘arrest’, else he may be able to evade prosecution. Unless NPJ was willing to go on record there was no case to answer. Even after this happened the evidence against the key target was not strong enough to move.

    So What now? Leak the circumstantial details of the investigation to the press and let them spin it to put pressure on them? Offer immunity to key lieutenants in order to strengthen your case against the key target? Both good options, after all, what do the FIA care of the fate of a mere technical director when there is larger pray to be caught?

    This is the way that the operation had to play out in order to achieve its goals. Now that they are achieved the hearing is academic and can be used for other purposes.

    As to whether Renault can be punished, that depends entirely on whether Bernie can afford to lose them. I currently don’t think he can. The Team Formerly Known As BMW are now willing to enter so there is a contingency should someone pull out, and should Toyota also pull out then there will still be 12 teams – plenty. As an additional bonus, the Make-up of FOTA will have changed considerably.

    The real threat is: where do all the engines come from should Toyota AND Renault both leave? Indications are that Renault could be looking to supply Williams, and may still do so if they withdraw from the sport. I think Max and Bernie will take this opportunity to remove another Manufacturer and gamble on Topota staying around. Still no great shame if they don’t – as Bernie has said before – they have achieved nothing.

  45. renatul verdict 2 year suspended ban

    1. only if they do it again

  46. Two year suspended ban confirmed by BBC 5 Live.

  47. did i win? My comps slow.. and lol Prisoner Monkeys me too with hamilton

    1. Don’t I win as I had the rumour first?

  48. Bye bye F1, it`s been fun knowing ya.

  49. Jonathan Noble from Autosport just tweeted – Two year suspended ban for Renault.

    1. Noble again – Lifetime FIA ban for Briatore. Five-year ban for Symonds.

      1. Bye-Bye Briatore! We won’t miss you!

      2. And no superlicences will be granted to any driver being managed by Briatore. Fantastic — you’re outta here

  50. Confirmed 2 year suspended ban, payment of costs, no fine.

  51. yes i beat Prisoner Monkeys though to be honest that does not raise a smile because this has been another huge blow for F1; first the race fix itself now this farce of a hearing.

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      21st September 2009, 13:24

      It’s only a miscarriage of justice if the Renault higher-ups ordered Briatore to do it and then hung him out to dry. Renault as an entity did nothing wrong.

      1. Renault as an entity did nothing wrong.

        They employed Briatore. ‘Nuff said.

  52. If they get off lightly in our eyes then Renault will be forever the cheating team, but if they are punished heavily then we can move on. If the parties involved are not banned from the sport altogether then they will be seen as cheats forever. Who would employ them now anyway? In my opinion Renault should be banned for the rest of this season and lie low until next season, then they can start afresh with new personnel. A big fine yes but don’t banish Renault forever, unless they decide to go themselves.

    P.s. Keith, a poll on whether Renault should be thrown out maybe.

  53. Is this Max’s farewell kiss to the sport? he has poisoned lips if it is.

  54. A 2 year suspended sentance, Renault are very lucky.

    A 5 year ban from F1 for Pat and an unlimited ban from all fia events for Flavio forever. Well done to the fia for punishing the cheats.

    1. what about the man who did the job??? what about Jr??

      1. Unfurtunatly he was given immunity. He still should have been punished in my view.

        However I’m glad is that Flavio and Pat’s exit from Renault did not prevent them from being banned.

  55. http://www.fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/pressreleases/wmsc/2009/Pages/wmsc_210909.aspx

    It is a complete and utter dereliction of duty to mete out appropriate justice.

    1. Flav banned for life. I wonder if Mr Mosley tipped off Renault that this was coming prior to this hearing?

      1. It wasn’t necessary. Renault had to get rid of Flav if they had any chance of surviving today’s hearing.

  56. The crash and i9nvestigation shocked us, and many believed it didn’t happen (I liked that as it showed people still believed in f1), the big shame about this part of the story is that no-one seems surprised at the governing of F1 and the punishments deal out.

  57. Prisoner Monkeys
    21st September 2009, 13:22

    I win, Steph.

    NobleF1 has it: http://twitter.com/NobleF1

    – Two-year suspended ban for Renault
    – Five-year ban for Symonds
    – Lifetime ban for Flavio Briatore
    – Superlicences will not be renewed for any driver managed by Briatore (that means Webber, Vitaly Petrov and one or two others)

    1. I win – I came out with the verdict first (look back at the posts).

    2. I think Heikki too.

      1. Prisoner Monkeys,S Hughes,Steph, keith, dsob,BBB,BUS, me etc etc We are all losers!!

        THE REAL WINNER OF THIS OUTCOME IS MAX MOSLEY!!!!

  58. Press Release
    World Motor Sport Council
    21/09/2009

    At an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council held in Paris on 21 September 2009, the ING Renault F1 team (“Renault F1”) admitted that the team had conspired with its driver Nelson Piquet Jr. to cause a deliberate crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, in breach of the International Sporting Code and F1 Sporting Regulations.

    Renault F1 stated at the meeting that it had conducted a detailed internal investigation, which found that: (i) Flavio Briatore, Pat Symonds and Nelson Piquet Jr. had conspired to cause the crash; and (ii) no other team member was involved in the conspiracy.

    The FIA has conducted its own detailed investigation and its findings correspond with those of Renault F1.

    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;
    – it had confirmed that Mr. Briatore and Mr. Symonds were involved in the conspiracy and ensured that they left the team;
    – it apologised unreservedly to the FIA and to the sport for the harm caused by its actions;
    – it committed to paying the costs incurred by the FIA in its investigation; and
    – Renault (the parent company, as opposed to Renault F1) committed to making a significant contribution to FIA safety-related projects.

    Nelson Piquet Jr. also apologised unreservedly to the World Motor Sport Council for his part in the conspiracy.

    The following decision was taken:

    The World Motor Sport Council finds that Renault F1 team members Flavio Briatore, Pat Symonds and Nelson Piquet Jr. conspired to cause a deliberate crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. The World Motor Sport Council therefore finds Renault F1, which, under article 123 of the International Sporting Code, is responsible for the actions of its employees, in breach of Articles 151(c) and point 2(c) of Chapter IV of Appendix L of the Code, and Articles 3.2, 30.3 and/or 39.1 of the Formula One Sporting Regulations.

    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. 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.

    In addition the World Motor Sport Council notes Renault F1’s apology and agrees that the team should pay the costs of the investigation. It also accepts the offer of a significant contribution to the FIA’s safety work.

    As regards Mr. Briatore, the World Motor Sport Council declares that, for an unlimited period, the FIA does not intend to sanction any International Event, Championship, Cup, Trophy, Challenge or Series involving Mr. Briatore in any capacity whatsoever, or grant any license to any Team or other entity engaging Mr. Briatore in any capacity whatsoever. It also hereby instructs all officials present at FIA-sanctioned events not to permit Mr. Briatore access to any areas under the FIA’s jurisdiction. Furthermore, it does not intend to renew any Superlicence granted to any driver who is associated (through a management contract or otherwise) with Mr. Briatore, or any entity or individual associated with Mr. Briatore. In determining that such instructions should be applicable for an unlimited period, the World Motor Sport Council has had regard not only to the severity of the breach in which Mr. Briatore was complicit but also to his actions in continuing to deny his participation in the breach despite all the evidence.

    As regards Mr. Symonds, the World Motor Sport Council declares that, for a period of five years, the FIA does not intend to sanction any International Event, Championship, Cup, Trophy, Challenge or Series involving Mr. Symonds in any capacity whatsoever, or grant any license to any Team or other entity engaging Mr. Symonds in any capacity whatsoever. It hereby instructs, for a period of five years, all officials present at FIA-sanctioned events not to permit Mr. Symonds access to any areas under the FIA’s jurisdiction. In determining that such instructions should be effective for a period of five years the World Motor Sport Council has had regard: (i) to Mr. Symonds’ acceptance that he took part in the conspiracy; and (ii) to his communication to the meeting of the World Motor Sport Council that it was to his “eternal regret and shame” that he participated in the conspiracy.

    As regards Mr. Piquet Jr., the World Motor Sport Council confirms the immunity from individual sanctions under the International Sporting Code in relation to this incident, which the FIA had granted to him in exchange for volunteering his evidence.

    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 World Motor Sport Council would like to thank the Stewards and legal investigation team (in particular Dorothy Cory-Wright of Sidley Austin LLP who conducted the interviews at the Belgian Grand Prix).

    The full reasons for this decision, in addition to a complete recording of the proceedings before the World Motor Sport Council, will be made available shortly.

    1. Heres the link to this press release

      1. Here it is again sorry LINK

  59. Symonds basically 5 years out of the sport Flav lifetime? How did Symonds get that? Thanks for link S Hughes

  60. Symonds basically 5 years out of the sport Flav lifetime? How did Symonds get that? Thanks for link S Hughes

    1. probably Max doesn’t hate him as much as Flavio ;)

    2. Prisoner Monkeys
      21st September 2009, 13:30

      He may have co-operated at the last minute, or the WMSC may have decided that the decision to fix the race was Briatore’s and that Symonds, like Piquet, was only carrying out orders.

    3. Pat is (was?) an upstanding member of the F1 community and very few people in the F1 world believe that he was involved in the scandal in the way Renault are claiming. Rather, as chief strategist he was the designated “fall guy,” just as Dave Ryan was for McLaren earlier this year. The FIA probably knew this and, though they had to be seen to act, they obviously gave him the lowest punishment they thought they could get away with.

  61. McLaren fined $100m for spying, despite only a few people being involved, yet Renault get virtually no punishment.

    1. Let’s not forget that McLaren only got fined $100million after they were found to have mislead the WMSC in the first hearing into spygate…

  62. What a farce, I really hope Singapore bring criminal proceedings up. Surely race fixing is fraud? And intentionally doing something which could seriously injure or kill innocent people? How can they only get a suspended sentence?
    F1 isn’t doing itself any good with these sort of decisions.

    1. Well, F1 has basically confirmed with this verdict that it is a morally bankrupt, completely arbitrary organisation. It will do no good whatsoever in restoring confidence in its fairness.

      Keith, over to you. I would be very surprised if you think this is fair. No-one wants a team having to leave a sport, but no such qualms were in place with McLaren over spygate.

      1. no such qualms were in place with McLaren over spygate.

        Yes they were. Max Mosley said shortly afterwards that the WMSC would have banned McLaren from 2007 and 2008, but they were aware that such a move would probably have meant the end of the team. So they lessened the penalty to ensure McLaren’s continued participation in F1.

        1. But Renault is not not punished at all! They get nothing.

          At the very least they should have lost the win and paid back the money they stole with interest.

          Did they use Keiths wheel of WMSC decisions again or something? Seriously.

  63. BBC discussing it now and going over to Paris soon.
    maybe we should have live blogs when we’re waiting for hearing verdicts…we seem to do it that much

  64. Captain Caveman
    21st September 2009, 13:39

    Is it me of are we mis-interpreting the text of the FIA release.

    i.e Briatore is banned for an unlimited amount of limit. That is my eyes suggest no time limit has been set as opposed to forever.

    It also goes on to state “the FIA does not INTEND to sanction any International Event, Championship, Cup, Trophy, Challenge or Series involving Mr. Briatore in any capacity whatsoever, or grant any license to any Team or other entity engaging Mr. Briatore in any capacity whatsoever.”

    The key word I note is that of Intend…. Very subjective as opposed to FIA WILL NOT……….

    My interpretation is that there is enough scope for this to go away in a few years and Briatore will be back in some form or another.

  65. So not even a slap on the wrist…

    1. I read this on another forum:

      This isn’t a slap on the wrist, it’s a kiss on the backside!

  66. Captain Caveman
    21st September 2009, 13:42

    Sorry Unlimited amount of time, not Limit (Typo) in first paragraph

  67. “The World Motor Sport Council will only activate this disqualification if Renault F1 is found guilty of a comparable breach during that time”.

    Unbelievable!

    1. This is roughly tantamount to no punishment whatsoever.

      But to be honest, who cares? The people actually responsible for the cheating have been punished severely – with the exception of Piquet Jr, who as a whistleblower had to be given immunity.

  68. The FIA have done it again. They have not metered out punishment that fits the crime. How can this stop any cheating in the future. I can’t believe there is no monetary fine. Maybe they know Renault can’t afford a massive fine and don’t want them to quit the sport which would probably be more damaging in the long run. I don’t wish Renault to be banned but at least banned them from the rest of the races this season and a small monetary fine. Now Renault will be forever the cheating team that got away with it, even if it was a couple of employees that landed them in this mess.

    1. They pulled a train on Mclaren and let renault off with a suspended ban…yeah thats fair.
      Briatore banned for life..now some drivers need new representatives..
      Pat Symonds 5 years…hes done then
      Piquet..he wont ever race again unless he buys the team.

  69. What a let off.

    No >$100m fine then.

    Bad bad verdict for the image of F1.

  70. Call that punishment???

  71. So even though the FIA thought that the offence was of an “unparalleled severity” the punishment they receive is nowhere near the worst handed out in recent years, never mind the $100m fine McLaren received it isn’t even the 2 race ban BAR received for their dodgy fuel tank.

    In the end I am not really surprised, Mosley got what he wanted, Briatore effectively banned from having anything to do with motorsport ever again. A few drivers will have to get a new manager now.

  72. Ok i think the news has been mixed up i have just realised. looks like renault will be banned from f1 – from the end of 2011. This is what BBC is saying. Seems a bit strange to wait 2 year and then ban them

    1. sorry i think i may be wrong, ignore this

    2. What it means is the ban is suspended for two years until the end of 2011, not that Renault will be banned after 2011. Renault will only be banned if they do something else wrong during that period.

      in the words of the FIA

      The World Motor Sport Council will only activate this disqualification if Renault F1 is found guilty of a comparable breach during that time.”

  73. So they don’t even have to give up the race win or the points they won illegally or the money it got them. That’s just great.

    How about the WMSC also give them some more McLaren IP as a thanks for attending the meeting.

  74. I completely agree, why should Renault get banned when they were victims of the crime? If anyone has walked away free it is Piquet.

    Renault should be expected to pay a fine for the money they gained plus a bit more, the fact that they also have to pay the mega expensive FIA lawyers and investigations is fitting as well.

    Everyone should take off their anti-Renault glasses and look at the case for it’s facts. The three major players in creating this mess are all no longer in F1, one has been banned for life, the other for 5 years whilst the third walks away. The team who are unaware get a fine but seriously a ban would have been completely unfair on them.

    In any case to the point I wanted to make:

    Renault F1 stated at the meeting that it had conducted a detailed internal investigation, which found that: (i) Flavio Briatore, Pat Symonds and Nelson Piquet Jr. had conspired to cause the crash; and (ii) no other team member was involved in the conspiracy.

    The FIA has conducted its own detailed investigation and its findings correspond with those of Renault F1.

    That incorporates Piquet as a guilty party, now the WMSC may not prosecute Piquet but does it leave him open for Renault to prosecute him as an ex-employee in court – or not?

    1. According to that logic a team can cheat in all 18 races in a season as long as they fire atleast 1 employee every time they cheat and put the blame solely on him.

      The team who are unaware get a fine but seriously a ban would have been completely unfair on them.

      I agree with you that a ban would be too much. But they haven’t even been fined.

      1. We already saw in March that by sacking the right employee you can “get out of jail free.” McLaren did it and few complained, so why the furore over Renault?

        1. You cannot seriously compare Hamilton and Ryan lying over letting Trulli past to Piquet crashing on purpose.

          Hamilton had that position. Honest mistakes were made. Hamilton shouldn’t have slowed down and Trulli should not have passed.

          Piquet’s premeditated action ruined a complete race. It handed Renault and Alonso a race win with a lot of points and money. A win to which they had no right at all.

          Renault in reality got no punishment at all while Hamilton/McLaren was disqualified, lost the rightful podium position and TV money.

          Utterly bizarre.

  75. I must admit i think the punishment is fair.

    If you read the evidance that was leaked and that keith linked to it.

    Its seems fairly clear that this plot was between Flavio, Pat and Nelson Jn. And belive it or not that really does appear to be it (that what the evidances says and that is all the WMSC can rule on).

    So Flavio is banned from all motor racing for life (if you read the verdict it even says any area under FIA jurstriction so he is even banned from the paddock) remember this is a man who has for his life been in motorracing that is a serious punishment.

    The same goes for Pat bar from its for 5 years given his age his carrear is well and truly over and the ban is effectivly life.

    As for Nelson he had to be given immunity but lets be honest no one is going to employ him.

    No one want renualt to stop so this is the best solution and fair

    The people that comitted the crime have been punished and the people how should have stopped it but wernt on the ball enough have been slapped around the wrists what is unfair about that?

    Lastly we are all comparing this as weak in comparison to the McLaren fine but we all generally belive the McLaren fine was stupid anyway so why would we want it comparable.

    sorry about the rant

  76. I think this also may have played an important part in the decision:

    “It committed to paying the costs incurred by the FIA in its investigation; and Renault (the parent company, as opposed to Renault F1) committed to making a significant contribution to FIA safety-related projects.”

    quote taken from autosport.com

  77. Interesting quote from Nelson Piquet:

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

    1. I do feel really sorry for Nelson.

      Here is an interview with a past driver who was in Briatore’s team, Johnny Herbert. Briatore sounds like a complete and utter ****!

      http://www.adfero.co.uk/news/exclusive-herbert-says-crashgate–typical-flavio–$1328402.htm

  78. I don’t think Renault should have been banned for the actions of a few but they should still know what is going on in their team. A fine would have been pointless but they could have taken the win from them, taken last year’s constructors points, banned the 3 involved for life from all forms of sport and no offers of immunity and acting sooner would have been nice too.

  79. For god sake I want to shoot Piquet, he blames Briatore when he was at the steering wheel with the pedals under his feet! He speaks of the truth but he only delivered it when it suited him, had he not been fired we would never have known. His immunity is a joke

    1. Hell with his truth!! A truth is a truth only when its revealed immediately. NOT AFTER BEING FIRED & CERTAINLY NOT AFTER ! LONG YEAR!!!

  80. Just reading the Guardian and this made me burst out laughing so much

    That does not lessen the serious charge against Briatore and Symonds, that they conspired with the Brazilian to crash deliberately, but, by making a hash of what should have been a simple tap against the wall, Piquet appears to have missed the planned point of contact on the right of the corner and spun with far greater force into the concrete on the left side of the track.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2009/sep/20/nelson-piquet-flavio-briatore-singapore

    Seriously how crap a driver is Piquet that he can’t even crash right. Total loser lol.

    1. Lol, I said the same before.

      It really looked like he was supposed to hit the outside wall and “missed”.

  81. FIA is a spineless organization!! People there are all corrupt. Hell with this decision & again the Spanish deceiver goes scot free!!

    1. So Alonso should have been punished without any evidence of wrongdoing? Great way to administer justice.

    2. your little routine is getting a little tiresome mate

      1. How can you be so Naive Rabi?? people investigating this crime are all corrupt from top to bottom, what else can a honest f1 fan expect from them? half the justice would have been done if alonso would have been stripped of his win, but…

        1. …and if he was stripped then your opening another huge can of worms as Ferrari and Massa could rightfully contest that the Singapore GP to be taken away from the standings in it’s entirety.

          The basic fact is that Renault were just as much the victim as all of us (as PROVED by their actions since finding out), out of the three people who were involved two have been punished and one walked away. Your bedroom fantasy of getting Alonso thrown out isn’t going to materialise so it’s pointless making 30 comments a day about it. I don’t like Hamilton (too smug) but I wasn’t trying to create a stampede to take his head off when he lied did I?

          And onto Renault both the racing team and the company have essentially been fined so really the punishment has almost fitted the crime here. Unfortunately until it is leaked as to how much Renault and RenaultF1 have to pay we will never know if the fines were justified or not.

    3. Totally true!!!

  82. No evidence Fernando is involved though I know plenty of people won’t be swayed by that, he’s another love/hate charcter in F1 like Lewis. And lol Rabi

    1. Not revealing Alonso’s involvement serves a bigger purpose. It will sink this sport all together if they come up with the real truth. 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.

  83. Is it just me or have Renault gotten off lightly here?

    Yes the team submitted to the Council’s decision and yes they complied fully during the investigation, but they brought the sport into disrepute in the worst possible manner, surely a harsher punishment should have been handed out?

    But I guess that because the council ruled that only Flavio, Symonds and NPJ knew about the plan, the team was absolved to a degree. So I guess the punishment handed out to the major players in this whole affair is adequate. Flavio is out of F1 forever, Symonds is out of a job for 5 years and NPJ is probably not going to drive in F1 again after all this…

    Seems like I started to agree with the council’s decision the more I typed! ;-)

  84. Geemac I can see where you are coming from, those involved had sort of limited the punishment they could get by walked away/immunity and it wasn’t the full team involved though I think with the 3 involved they should have all been banned for life, no immunity.

    1. They kinda have been banned for life. Flav is out for good, it would be a brave team that would hire Symonds in 2014 or 2015 when his ban us over (despite his credentials), and who would hire NPJ now? He proved that he wasn’t up to scratch in F1, and he will be forever haunted by this.

      I’m not saying I agreed with the council’s decision, I’m just saying that I guess I see where they are coming from. Kinda.

  85. Thanks to everyone who posted information on the trial. Have set up a new poll here: Renault escape ban for crash (Poll)

  86. Renault should have lost constructors points and that win too. A few epople were involved but their were many suspicions at the time and Renault is made up of more than 3 men even if they were the only ones guilty.
    Most importantly this whole system needs to be addressed; the justice dished out is never justice and the FIA knew about this since Brazil yet couldn’t act.

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