Mosley says Renault got the ‘harshest penalty’ but hardly anyone agrees

The FIA let Renault off lightly yesterday

The FIA let Renault off lightly yesterday

Max Mosley refused to acknowledge the craven manner in which the FIA backed down from punishing Renault yesterday.

He insisted the team received “the harshest [penalty] we can impose”, which was patently false given that they kept all the points and money earned by their ill-gotten victory, and have not been banned from any events.

Over 71% of readers on this site (at the time of writing) have called Renault’s penalty ‘too soft’ and this morning’s newspapers reflect that mood with a string of articles condemning the FIA:

Mosley denies Renault let off lightly (ITV-F1)

Max Mosley: “The penalty that we’ve imposed is the harshest one we can impose, which is disqualification, complete exclusion from the sport. However, because Renault have demonstrated that they had absolutely no moral responsibility for what took place – even the Renault F1 team didn’t have, still less does the company have any responsibility at all – it would be wrong in the circumstances to impose an immediate penalty.”

Slap on Renault’s wrist is not enough to condemn F1 chicanery to history (The Independent)

"F1 clearly believes it needs Renault, even while its name represents the absolute nadir of the sporting instinct, far more than the kudos that might come with the idea that after all the years of drift – of Schumacher's ruthless, unpunished cynicism, the refusal to penalise the McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso when they benefited from the McLaren team's proven spying – they had finally seen the public relations value of cleaning up their house."

Comment: Renault get off ‘Crashgate’ almost scot-free (The Times)

"Today in Paris we witnessed not the administration of a proper and fitting punishment of Renault for the shocking way in which it required Nelson Piquet Jr to crash on purpose at last year’s Singapore Grand Prix, but an exercise in commercial pragmatism."

Renault’s Formula One future in doubt despite lenient judgment (The Guardian)

Damon Hill: "You can't escape from the suspicion that it was all very expedient, given that Briatore was also one of the ringleaders of the pressure group FOTA. No one can excuse what happened to Piquet, it's totally abhorrent. That has been dealt with. [But] it's not the whole story. The whole story is that there has been a power struggle for a very long time and it's got to stop because it's ruining the sport. It's absolutely deplorable."

Formula One fury as Renault get easy ride over ‘Crashgate’ (The Times)

"For the Italian who dreamt of one day succeeding Ecclestone, this completes a spectacular fall from grace. He will no longer retain a role in the management of the GP2 Series, the Formula One feeder championship, and will not be able to continue managing racing drivers, among them four on the present Formula One grid — Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Heikki Kovalainen and Romain Grosjean."

Max Mosley is still the master of Formula One’s twists and turns (The Guardian)

"Mosley's design for the future, it seems, is a paddock in which his associates are embedded alongside Ecclestone's long-established cadre of former Brabham mechanics – such as Charlie Whiting, Formula One's permanent race director, who was allegedly told the details of Nelson Piquet Jr's staged crash soon after the race at Singapore by the driver's father but felt unable to take action."

Briatore not just banned, but crushed as well?? (Joe Saward)

“The FIA clearly wants the sport to be entirely rid of Briatore.”

ING Renault F1 Team Statement – 21 September 2009 (Renault)

Bernard Rey: “Today, we fully accept the decision of the Council. We apologize unreservedly to the F1 community in relation to this unacceptable behaviour. We sincerely hope that we can soon put this matter behind us and focus constructively on the future. We will issue further information in the next few days."

Renault Singapore crash controversy

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84 comments on Mosley says Renault got the ‘harshest penalty’ but hardly anyone agrees

  1. I agree with Mosely. Neither Renault, nor Fernando knew anything about the race fixing. The men responsible have left. Briatore banned from every FIA related sport. Soon to lose QPR, Piquet has made himself unemployable. Symmonds banned for 5 years. Renault & their drivers shouldn’t be banned straight away. That is out of order.

  2. Flavio and Pat got their punishments why take it out on team Renault and Alonso when they didnt know? case close in my opinion lets enjoy a “crashgateless” singapore race.

  3. holden_boy said on 22nd September 2009, 12:37

    I think, that the reason that the FIA gave a suspended sentence, is so that if it was a instant two year ban, which would ban Renault immediately, then Renault probably would have just left F1 altogether, which is the last thing that the FIA wants to see!!! Therefore, this suspended ban may just keep them in F1.

  4. I think it is useless to discuss if the penalty is reasonable or not… it is just F1 politics and Max vendetta.
    By the way: it seems that Renault (internal inquiry) didn’t find any direct involvement of Flavio in the plan to crash. It makes sense, because Flavio is not engineer…
    I’m happy for Renault, the workers and so on. But I don’t think there is any “justice” or even reasoning behind the FIA decision.

  5. What I also find strange is why Renault either sacked Flavio and Pat or allowed them to resign before the FIA hearing. On one level its fine, they have lost their jobs and been punished anyway, but wouldn’t any other company force those responsible to attend the hearing?
    Don’t the FIA have powers to ask whoever they want to attend?
    It all seems too little, too late, as is usual with the FIA. None of the penalties imposed would stop anybody in any position in a team trying something similar again.

    • I believe the fia went to renault the company and layed out the information or evidence and told them we are having a hearing on this date and you need to have your house in order before or it will go bad for you as a company. I would not be surprised that they were told to not have their house in order would cost them in the order of McLarens fine plus extra bans.
      I dont believe when renault performed their own internal investigation that they found no fault of flavio because he and symonds left to quuickly once this started gaining momentum. He and symonds were a team 1 idea man the other action man, it was a relationship that was profitable to both.
      I dont feel sorry for piquet anymore, he has wrote off his career in f1. Briatore started this whole mess when he treated a young boy like crap, and then rideculed him publicly. Then plans a debacle like this and fires the lad, who then turns on him. It is stupidity on a colassal scale, for the way he has handled piquet alone, flavio deserves to be outted.

  6. Andrew White said on 22nd September 2009, 15:40

    Renault may only have got a two-year suspended ban, but the men behind it, Briatore and Symonds, have been given lifetime and 5-year bans from motorsport.

    The only reason Renault as a team was punished was because these men were representing that team when they committed the offence. When Renault F1 found that cheating had happened within the team, they sacked the men responsible and co-operated fully with the FIA investigation. I think it would have been unfair on the employees of the team a punishment to hand out a punishment that would have driven them out of the sport.

  7. Back in the ‘Good Old Days’ when drivers earned very little, the organisers earned very little and there was virtually no safety concern whatsoever, drivers had little chance of survival and were generally honourable and heroic in their dealings with each other.
    After big money came into the sport via sponsorship and television, those who cared more about money than racing rapidly manoeuvred themselves into the governance of the sport. As with any gravy train, a certain amount was shared among those who do the work, but most was fought over by those who do not.
    The lengths that those who rule, and thus the major beneficiaries of the sport, will go in protecting their golden goose from either damage or theft has been amply shown in numerous FIA battles, decisions, tribunals, councils etc over the last couple of decades.
    This is not surprising as human behaviour is always the same when large amounts of money are sloshing around.
    The astonishing difference between the FIA and (for example) Enron is that the FIA has no outside organisation to fear. They make their own rules and feather their own nest.
    Briatore wanted a bigger slice of pie and tried to stage a palace coup. As with any coup, one or other adversary is executed. Briatore made the mistake of thinking he had staged a successful coup when Max announced his retirement. Perhaps he should have been watching his back because the execution of Max had not actually yet taken place and in fact became his own.

  8. Alistair said on 22nd September 2009, 16:22

    The Renault ‘penalty’ is ridiculous. A complete farce! The FIA gave Lewis Hamilton and McLaren a far greater penalty for the trivial and nigh ubiquitous offence of lying to the stewards. Recall that, as a consequence of the Australia affair, McLaren sacked a key member of their team; they severed all links with Ron Dennis; they lost all the points that they won in Australia; and Lewis had to make several embarrassing public apologies. In the Renault case, the team severed ties with two key employees; and Renault will escape ANY form of punishment, provided that they don’t do something similar (!) in the next few years. It’s clear that the FIA is only after certain individuals: here, Ron and Flavio. The rest of the world will look upon this case as just another example (although perhaps the worst example) of the moral and political shambles that is F1.

    It seems that, in terms of FIA justice, it doesn’t matter what a team or driver does, no matter how serious it is, provided that the team deny all responsibility and sack a few key members of the team; then, the team goes unpunished. It’s also ridiculous that sacked employees cannot be called to the hearing and face punishment…

  9. I know it’s unashamedly off-topic but who cares…

    BRING BACK V10s!

    My apologies :)

  10. ConcedoNulli said on 22nd September 2009, 17:31

    Guys – chill out F1 is as much sport as wrestling. FIA, FOTA, teams, FOA make up the rules as they go along. It’s just big business. Don’t get stressed over it.

    Lewis Hamilton and McLaren attempted to influence a race at the start of the season to Trullis’s detriment and got off with slapped wrist. Schumi and Ferrari got away with it for years. If it’s illegal, it’s illegal. There’s no degrees of illegality.

    Sit back and laugh and just hope there might be some real racing on the track before Bernie stage manages another season ending cliffhanger.

  11. I think that the fact it took almost a year for it to surface mean that they didn’t cooperate fully (ok technically yes for the investigation itself) at all times.

    This is another reason why people are angry about this. That and Mosley’s ‘strongest possible penalty’ comment.

    And why hasn’t the win been taken away? Surely this had to happen!

  12. The crime committed by the Renault F1 team to which they have admitted has far more reaching consequences to the sport which have now been compounded by the penalty imposed being a farce.
    The difference here is F1 and BE need Renault on the grid. They can ill afford to lose another major manufacturer with Honda, BMW and potentially Toyota being gone so they caved in and Max got Flav as a bonus for leaving.
    One the otherhand, if McLaren left, they would not have the same impact so they put the boots to them for a much less crime ableit one conducted by an employee much as this was but lower down the rungs. They were fined 1 million Euro, disqualified for the season, had scrutiny imposed on them for a year and stopped development in the area subject to the Ferrari info for a year. How is what Renault got for fixing a race and influencing the outcome of the championship even on par with what McLaren is alleged to have done?
    Whitmarsh and McLaren should be appealing their penalty or suing the FIA for unfair discipline.

  13. Net Sticks said on 22nd September 2009, 20:30

    He himself should be banned a long time ago… and yes, Renault came out easy – rememberthe fine to McLaren… but they are afraid that Renault would bail out from F1 and after Honda, BMW, is Renault leave and possibly Toyota… then, with the small time newcomers, it really will transform F2 into some kind of GP2 series…

    But it’s unfairs regarding all other teams, because we all really everybody saying this was the worst case of them all (all the …’gates’ affairs… and there was really no punishement. Yes, because the termination of Briatore and Simmons was Renault’s doing, not FIA – the only thing FIA did was to ban him from ever return, but did anybody really expected that to happened… In effect there was NO punishment AT ALL…

  14. Was it the McLaren spy incident where Mosley said that the team should be punished because the individual is representing the team? Or something along those lines? But not in this case, because it’s better for the sport that Renault don’t get a harsh punishment?

    That says to me that it’s ok to cheat if you’re important to the sport. Might explain some of the recent Ferrari decisions then.

    With the amount of data available to engineers they all must have known what happened – when the throttle was applied etc and how the timing was perfect to get Alonso to the front. Of course they all knew. And Alonso must have known also. There is no proof though. But to say that the whole team apart from Flav, Pat Symonds and NPjr behaved impeccably is incredibly naive.

  15. What happened in Australia `09 was triggered by McLaren sh***ing themselves and trying desperately to avoid a penalty, and it could`nt have worked out worse. The place was rightly Hamilton`s.

    And should`nt Renault at least have had to pay back 10 points worth of `08 prize money ? That would have been fair enough in my opinion.

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