Who is Renault’s “Witness X”?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

A fourth member of the Renault team knew about the conspiracy
A fourth member of the Renault team knew about the conspiracy

The FIA has formally published the widely-leaked evidence relating to Renault’s Singapore trial, along with various other documents including a 76-minute recording of the discussion at yesterday’s World Motor Sports Council meeting.

The material can be downloaded from the FIA website.

Although there isn’t much in the documents that hasn’t already been made public, there is one interesting revelation about a fourth person at the team who knew what was going on:

In those additional submissions, Renault F1 referred to the existence of another member of the Renault F1 team (??Witness X??) who, although not a conspirator himself, knew of the conspiracy at the time of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. Renault F1 stated in its submissions of 17 September 2009 that Witness X had confirmed that Mr Briatore had known of the deliberate crash plan before it had been put into effect.

30. Renault F1 submitted that Witness X was a ??whistleblower? within its team and that if his identity were to be revealed it may discourage other similarly situated persons to come forward in relation to this or other matters. The FIA considered this argument to have some merit, given that Witness X was said not himself to be a conspirator. However, the FIA considered that this argument had to be balanced against the requirements of the FIA?s investigation and the requirement to put the full facts before the WMSC. The FIA therefore agreed with Renault F1 that the identity of Witness X would be made known to the FIA?s President, and certain of the FIA?s legal advisers only. Renault also agreed to put forward Witness X for interview by one of the FIA?s external counsel, Mr Paul Harris. To protect his identity Witness X is not identified in this decision.

31. With Renault?s cooperation, Witness X was subjected to detailed interview and examination. The interview established to the satisfaction of the FIA?s legal advisers that Renault F1?s description of the evidence of Witness X in Renault F1?s written submissions of 17 September 2009 was accurate. As a result of the interview, the FIA put a number of additional questions to Renault F1?s lawyers.

On 19 September 2009, Renault F1 made a third and final set of written submissions. In those submissions, Renault F1 stated as follows: ??Renault F1 has concluded that the following had knowledge of the conspiracy to cause a safety car: Nelson Piquet Junior, Pat Symonds, Flavio Briatore and [Witness X]. [Witness X] was told of the idea suggested by Nelson Piquet Junior by Mr Symonds, whilst in the presence of Mr Briatore. [Witness X] objected to the idea. He did not know the plan was to be carried into effect until the crash happened. As a result of the evidence, including Mr Piquet’s admission, Mr Symond’s responses and [Witness X?s] evidence, Renault F1 concluded that they and Mr Briatore must have known about the conspiracy.??

32. When the FIA?s advisers interviewed Witness X, he expressly confirmed that Mr Briatore was involved in the conspiracy because Witness X had been personally present at a meeting shortly after qualifying on Saturday 27 September 2008 when Mr Symonds had mentioned the possibility of a crash plan to Mr Briatore. The FIA?s advisers were confident that Witness X himself played no active role in the conspiracy and that, indeed, he had objected to it and sought to distance himself from it.

This raises several questions – first of all, who is the mystery ‘Witness X’? A race engineer? A mechanic? One of the people who questioned Alonso’s strategy of Pat Symonds on the pitwall during the race? (see pages 46-63 of the evidence dossier).

Furthermore, why was Nelson Piquet Jnr’s evidence needed if this witness had already come forward and the FIA had access to the incriminating Renault telemetry? And why was this witness allowed to conceal their identity while Piquet’s identity was published?

Please share your thoughts below on this or anything else in the evidence supplied by the FIA. If you’re listening to the WMSC recording you can hear Fernando Alonso’s testimony at 15:48 and Nelson Piquet Jnr’s from 17:59.

Update: FIA vice-president for Mohammed bin Sulayem has described the Renault verdict as being ‘negotiated’. He said: “We did our negotiations before and everybody is happy with the result. The verdict is fair and everyone is a winner.” Is he admitting the FIA verdict was a sop to Renault? Incidentally, Sulayem crashed a Renault F1 car at a demonstration run earlier this year.

Renault Singapore crash controversy

233 comments on “Who is Renault’s “Witness X”?”

  1. Is it Alonso?

    Why does it say ‘suggested by Nelson Piquet Jr.’? Makes it sound like it was his idea.

    Witness X didn’t like the idea, maybe that and the discouraging others from stepping forward is why they remain anonymous.

    1. Thats exactly what I was thinking! This sounds like classic misdirection. I am not fond of Piquet Sr, but he has a point that Alonso would have been very inquisitive about his strategy beforehand, if he didnt know about it already. Also alonso has not been mentioned other than to say they concluded that he was not involved.


        1. We can be sure of one thing though, witness X is a male, cuz the guy refers Mr X as “HE”

          1. The members of the WMSC sound like a bunch of novices! Absolutely no professionalism what so ever! My project presentation seminar was 1000 times professional.

          2. How many females have you seen working in the Renault garages at a grand prix?

        2. It’s definitely Alonso, he’s an experienced whistle blower and an FIA favorite….

          and I can’t believe Bin Sullayem mentioned that the penalty was negotiated….

          1. Absolutely alonso.As usual he told on others to save his a$$..

        3. So Nelson Piquet was right?

        4. why dont u name urself MP4-24. This name resembles you .Coz neither MP4-24 neither changes its direction like u and both you an car are anti-Alonso

    2. So: WitnessX = Racer X ?? :)

      1. haha very funny

  2. nelson piquet snr???

  3. I can’t believe Piquet Snr. would have been in that meeting. Alonso, I can believe that though. I can believe that a lot.

    Questions the FIA still need to answer include ‘Is X still with the team ?’

  4. My guess is Witness X could be NPJ’s race engineer.

    1. What would NPJs race engineer do with this info? What do Flavio and Symonds gain by sharing this info with NPJ’s race engineer ?

      IF he does get to know this information from Flavio and co, he will be doing the following nothing of which I believe is any good to the team.

      1. The race engineer can enjoy the previous evening and the whole sunday because he know very well that this race is compramised and that the car needs to run just 12 laps. So just make sure it can run 12 laps.

      2. Make the Right side of the car stronger than left provided the side has also been decided so that NPJ will have no physical injury.

      3. Become another unhappy employee of Renault F1 along with NPJ becasue no one respects the car he is working.It is just used to crash to make the other car win.

      With these in mind it is very Unlikely that Flavio and Co will call that guy and let him know the idea.

      OR MAY BE I am missing something completely here :)

    2. You are dead on, the only person that would of been in that meeting!

  5. Obviously it is Alonso. Remember McLaren in 2007. He is that kind of sportman, without moral limits.

    1. Sportman you say??? surely that is an overstatement…

      1. Oh you’re so right the both of you – he’s evil, and talentless to boot.

        1. He’s neither of those things. He is ruthless and supremely talented.

          1. Well, if u r not ruthless. you cant survive. Did anyone read vettel’s comments in f1 racing. “A racer needs to have a big ego and F1 reminds him of his schooling days.” One got to put himself over others.

  6. Why would Alonso be involved in another big problem like this? If he was involved with McLaren and Ferrari’s issue back in 2007, I’m sure he would learn his lesson and not get into things. He is pretty smart.

    1. Not that smart as he claims he didn’t smell a very obvious strategy rat.

      1. … or so he says…

        1. Hughes I really wish you were on that WMSC panel. I’m sure you would have forced the truth out of Mr X aka F.Alonso’s mouth ;)

          I’m really surprised that the dumbo panel members let go of Alonso so easily!! If I were on that panel I would have bombarded him with questions!!

          1. I know, what a great investigation that was.

            WMSC panel: Mr Alonso (bow, scrape, genuflect), did you know anything about crashgate?

            Mr Alonso: No.

            WMSC panel: Well that’s alright then, you may go.

            THE END

          2. That’s the funny part, that might have happened for real.

          3. Oh get over yourself S Hughes. Wasn’t it your precious ‘Lewis’ that was actually caught lying only a few months ago..?

          4. Did u bombard Lewid with questions in hungary 2007 when he declined to let alonso pass ? Is Ron Dennis ur dad ?

  7. Wow, interesting… Yesterday, Reginaldo Leme said that he have other revelations to do in the next few days.
    So, Lets wait…

  8. Alonso? Past history would suggest that he’s more than capable of this. If ‘Witness X’ knew what was going to happen beforehand, and decided not to come forward, then he’s a key part of the infamous year-long race-fixing conspiracy. Ergo, he should be punished. The FIA are a complete joke. I very much hope that the next FIA President can restore some much needed credibility to his organization; though, I won’t hold my breath…

    1. But we don’t know who it is yet, so how about putting a break on drawing conclusions from total speculation?

  9. Jorge if he is witness x then he didn’t want it to happen; it says therefore has some morals. Piquet’s engineer may have known after and been suspicious but before? And why has this eebn released now? To drag someone else into this mess?

  10. Who “is” Renault’s “Witness X”? :)

  11. Witness X = NP Snr, or Alonso …

  12. BBC’s top gear Stig?

      1. com’on David, it can’t be Shumacher!!!!

  13. I would bet it’s Alonso. There’s no way a driver like him would accept such a stupid strategy without knowing that Piquet would crash for him. Therfore, if the FIA say he was not involved and didn’t punish hime, I rekon that its because he also got imunity.

  14. Looks like this isn’t over just yet then…

  15. I have listened to a good portion of the hearing. Am I right in reading that the FIA know the identity of Witness X and thus we can safely discount Alonso from this?

    Also, what are the implications for Witness X? Surely, by him knowing about the plan, he is therefore a co-conspirator in some fashion, if only by the fact that he knew what was going on and did nothing about, regardless of his ability to affect the plan?

    1. ‘Also, what are the implications for Witness X? Surely, by him knowing about the plan, he is therefore a co-conspirator in some fashion, if only by the fact that he knew what was going on and did nothing about, regardless of his ability to affect the plan?’

      Exactly my point! It follows, from this, that ‘Witness X’ has failed to meet the FIA requirement of total honesty, openness, and disclosure that was so important in ‘Lie-gate’. Witness X is a co-conspirator and should be punished.

      What puzzles me somewhat is why the FIA don’t just reveal who ‘Witness X’ is? If he were just a race-engineer or other ‘minor’ figure at RenaultF1, his being named surely wouldn’t harm him? In fact, it seems to me that it would benefit him: it shows that this person has some moral fortitude, patently lacked by the top management. I don’t think that a ‘minor’ figure at RenaultF1, such as a race-engineer or technician, would need to be protected with anonymity. That leads me to conclude that ‘Witness X’ is a major figure at RenaultF1. The logical choice (the only choice?) is Alonso. He is, presumably, being given anonymity to disassociate himself from the scandal: which he would want, given his involvement in ‘Spygate’, etc. How can anyone seriously believe that a person as intelligent, strong, and experienced as Alonso, a man who has a very central role at Renault, would be unaware of the Piquet plot to give Alonso a win?!

      1. Firstly, there is a difference between being a conspirator in an incident, and simply having knowledge of it. A conspirator had an active role in developing the plan. Not justifying the Mr X, because going along with the knowledge of said plan is also very wrong.

        Regarding the identity of Witness X, I do believe that no matter what, if his identity were revealed, it would harm him no matter how big or small of a figure he was. Any future employer would know that he allowed the incident to happen, despite the fact that he was aware of it, this alone condemns his judgement. Not to mention that he is a whistleblower. Whether people like it or not, F1 is all about taking every advantage you can get, bending the rules, etc. therefore every team, at one point or another has likely done some things that they didnt want the FIA to know about. Would you want a known whistleblower on your team, know he would have no problem ratting you out one day for ‘bending the rules?’.

        Finally, I am a huge Alonso fan, anyone that dethroned Schumacher will have my eternal praise. However he is a true F1 driver through and through, and will no doubt do allot of things to help him win (Spygate, Hamilton pit-lane hold-up, brake tests, etc.). Given his past, I definitely would not put this kind of thing past old Fernando.

        Either way, all of this is exciting and is what makes F1 so entertaining, theres so much drama and controversy. I find the WRC just as entertaining as F1, but it lacks the off-track drama of F1.

    2. like NPJ, the X guy got immunity

  16. Renault F1 has concluded that the following had knowledge of the conspiracy to cause a safety car: Nelson Piquet Junior, Pat Symonds, Flavio Briatore and [Witness X]. [Witness X] was told of the idea suggested by Nelson Piquet Junior by Mr Symonds

    Witness X had been personally present at a meeting shortly after qualifying on Saturday 27 September 2008 when Mr Symonds had mentioned the possibility of a crash plan to Mr Briatore.

    Put the question this way: if Symonds was to tell one person of the plan at the post-quali meeting, and one person only, who would or could that person be?

    1. Oooh, so the identity was concealed by Renault then? I missed that technicality. Hmm.

    2. Alistair –

      That leads me to conclude that ‘Witness X’ is a major figure at RenaultF1. The logical choice (the only choice?) is Alonso.

      David BR –

      Put the question this way: if Symonds was to tell one person of the plan at the post-quali meeting, and one person only, who would or could that person be?

      Yet Alonso has been announced in the verdict by the FIA as having no knowledge of the incident. Simply put, “Witness X” isn’t Alonso. A bitter pill for some to swallow, it seems.

      1. Why do you keep assuming that because the FIA have concluded that Alonso is innocent, that he actually is? He was asked a couple of questions to which he replied “It wasn’t me” or words to that effect and then told to run away. Hardly a thorough investigation. Why do you assume he was telling the truth; just as many or more assume he was lying?

        1. Whatever happened to being innocent until proven guilty?

          1. He may not have been proven guilty, but that doesn’t make him innocent. It just means he won’t be punished if he is guilty.

        2. Come on, S, if anyone dared make such baseless assumptions about Hamilton, you’d have had a screaming hissy fit by now.

          1. well said Andy!
            x’s info helped the FIA so unless there is a conspiracy by the fia that exonerated Alonso.
            “Mr. Alonso was not in any way involved in Renault F1’s breach of the regulations,”

            Interesting that this independent “witness” states that …[Witness X] was told of the idea suggested by Nelson Piquet Junior by Mr Symonds,…”

            So Nelson Jnr has come up with this idea to crash to get a new contract, and then implements the crash and then uses the incident as blackmail, and walks away with no penalty. That is just wrong!

          2. They do all the time though don’t they?

          3. Witness X was told of the idea suggested by Nelson Piquet Junior by Mr Symonds,…”

            Note that’s Symonds saying it was NPJs idea…

  17. hmm like mentioned above, it sounds like the plan came from piquet jr. .. as Symonds said before…
    Weird :)

    1. It says Witness X was told by Symonds that NPJ suggested the crash…not that NPJ suggested it to Witness X

      1. that’s what I mean ;)

    2. Regardless of everything else, it just disgusts me that NPJ, the person who actually committed the ‘crime’, and the person who allegedly thought up the ‘crime’ is walking away scott free.

      I hope he never gets hired by any other team, including daddy’s.

    3. I cant imagine Piquet Jr being smart or creative or ballsy enough to come up with the idea himself. Not that it matters. He crashed on purpose either way.

  18. Witness X was unavailable for comment today on yesterdays events, as he is in Maranello on business.

  19. This makes Nelson Piquet jrs immunity look even worse now. When you have this much evidence why do you need to offer immunity to people, the FIA should have just treated it as a straight investigation.
    I cannot believe that Piquet has walked away from this free from punishment.

    1. Definitely. He’s might be a young driver but, any idiot would know that if you crash a car, people can get hurt.

      It’s horrendous that he endangered lives just so his teammate could win a race.

      Fair enough, Pat Symonds and Flav wanted him to do it, but in the end it was Piquet’s decision. In the end he spun and crashed his car, Flav or Pat couldn’t do it for him.

      That makes Piquet a coward. He should have walked away from Renault when he realised his employer and manager was corrupt!

      Piquet should have been punished equally as much as Flav and Symonds!

  20. Col. Mustard or Professor Black?

    Sorry, couldn’t help it lol

  21. Witness X is still an employee of Renault, and therefore protected by whistle-blower provisions in English law. NPJ is no longer associated with the team, and therefore those provisions don’t apply. (Although NPJ was not strictly an employee anyway, but a contractor.)

    The FIA really need to learn how to black out lines not suitable for public consumption, like NPJ’s home address…

    1. You are totally right about the last point what you make. I was really surprised that this is still on the documents what everyone can read…

      And Witness X, It’s definitely not Piquet Sr. Jr. told it to his dad a few days after the crash and they didn’t speak with each other for about 2 months.
      I also don’t think that witness x is Phil Charles (Nelson’s former engineer). There was an engineer who asked Nelson after the race if the crash was ‘planned’. I guess that this was PC. But who Witness X really is, wait a few weeks and we will know!

  22. This excerpt is verty interesting:

    Witness X] was told of the idea suggested by Nelson Piquet Junior by Mr Symonds, whilst in the presence of Mr Briatore. [Witness X] objected to the idea.He did not know the plan was to be carried into effect until the crash happened.

    The point is: Who would be in a position to question that kind of strategy? The following suggestion that Witness X didn´t “know the plan” until Junior crash the car, suggests for me that Alonso is the man!

  23. ‘Witness X’….. these gentlemen of FIA are the kings of humour…

    Obviously is Alonso, that evil guy. And if he isn’t, he should be.

    1. Well, they seemed at first to not know whether to call him (or her, a la ‘Life of Brian’) Witness A or Witness X. I suppose Witness X sounds more intriguing than Witness A.

  24. Alonso cleared of any wrong doing, even if he did know he didn’t want to be a part of it. If he did know then he was just guilty of not revealing the crash and the meetings which is wrong but for me less wrong than what actually happened. Fernando also has so far only repeated that he knew nothing, if he is witness x of course he’ll have to say that and keep his identity protected but I still like to believe in the innocent until proven guilty otherwise I’m no worse than Mosley who uses the mask of justice to carry out vendettas as he has no regard for the morals and justice system.

  25. I’m really intrigued…

  26. The FIA lawyers interviewed the whistleblower. So they know who it is.

  27. Wasn’t there a statement from Piquet Jr. that one of the race engineers questioned him about the crash following his retirement from the race.I think I read it on Autosport.I will try to find it.

  28. Mike "the bike" Schumacher
    22nd September 2009, 22:11

    why was this witness allowed to conceal their identity while Piquet’s identity was published?
    Ofcourse Piquets idenity is going to be published, he is the one who delibrately crashed, obviousy we all knew he was involved. As for witness “x” identity maybe sense he was not directly involved and didnt know it was going to happen he was allowed to keep his idenity secret but you would have thought he’d have said something straight after the race.

  29. Bob Bell was at the Singapore G.P. He could be seen in many photos in the background. Who else would be at that high level before, during and after?

  30. What about Charlie Whiting ?

    1. Concrete Cyanide
      23rd September 2009, 18:26

      Yes, because Renault were really going to inform the guy in charge of enforcing the rules at the race what they were going to do. Would you go and tell the Chief of Police if you were about to rob the bank?

  31. I’d say one of the race engineers.

  32. Nelson Piquet Jr.:

    “In my own team, the engineer of my car questioned the nature of the incident because he found it unusual, and I replied that I had lost control of the car. I believe that a clever engineer would notice from the car’s telemetry that I caused the incident on purpose as I continued accelerating, whereas a ‘normal’ reaction would be to brake as soon as possible.”

    From Autosport (great piece that covers how the whole thing started)

    1. A clever engineer may have noticed that the telemetry showed that Piquet caused the crash and that is why he asked Piquet about the crash. The engineer probably then decided to believe his driver rather than think that anyone would stoop so low as to crash on purpose, also given Piquet’s general performance in F1 he may have thought Piquet keeping his foot on the accelerator was just another mistake from him.

  33. Mike "the bike" Schumacher
    22nd September 2009, 22:20

    Hey Keith, I’ve just seen on auotsprot Williams are planing to use KERs next year, geting the feeling they’re going to be kicked out of FOTA again.

    1. Noooo!
      Death to KERS.

  34. i remember talking about it at the time, that alonso looked awkward on the podium whilst rosberg & hamilton were celebrating. i think alonso has to be witness X.

    1. i think alonso has to be witness X.

      Yeah, and this is the reason why Witness-X has also stated that Fernando Alonso was not involved.

      Who else than Fernando Alonso should have said He was not involved?

  35. Furthermore, why was Nelson Piquet Jnr’s evidence needed if this witness had already come forward and the FIA had access to the incriminating Renault telemetry? And why was this witness allowed to conceal their identity while Piquet’s identity was published?

    Witness X stepped forward during Renault’s own inquiries. I guess his confessions resulted in Renault not contesting their guilt.

    They offered Piquet immunity well before this witness X was heard.

  36. Who else but Alonso fits the description below?

    “Renault F1 has concluded that the following had knowledge of the conspiracy to cause a safety car: Nelson Piquet Junior, Pat Symonds, Flavio Briatore and [Witness X]. [Witness X] was told of the idea suggested by Nelson Piquet Junior by Mr Symonds, whilst in the presence of Mr Briatore. [Witness X] objected to the idea. He did not know the plan was to be carried into effect until the crash happened.

    As Alonso said, he knew nothing…and when it actually happened, he didn’t make the connection? Funny.

  37. I think the fact that “Witness X” was only revealed to, and questioned by, a very select few people like Max himself, is interesting. I find it hard to believe that they would work so hard to conceal the identity of a nameless renault staffer. It seems that the identity of the witness in question is VERY sensitive…perhaps a two-time world champion? Just speculation. My question though, is what does Ferrari think of “witness X”, being that they still havent confirmed Alonso…

  38. How come Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer, isn’t mentioned in the list of interviewees?

  39. Funny that two people now – Witness X and Symonds claim it was Piquet idea. So it is two peoples word’s agains for one.

    Do they give immunity for UNTRUE statements now?

    1. Witness-X testified about a meeting on Saturday night between Symonds and Briatore. That was the day BEFORE the meeting between Piquet, Symonds and Nelson.

      So, Briatore knew about that, and was discussed between Symonds and Briatore BEORE they asked Nelson.

      1. Well, please, read the files. Piquet says it was on Sunday, and Symonds says it was on Saturday that Piquet approached him with the plan. So, someone is telling a lie here. And anyones right now is to decide – who.

  40. I doubt that ‘Witness X’ is something boring like an engineer or team manager. Given how crazy this whole episode has been, I believe that Witness X is probably either a ghost or a robot.

    1. that is the only logical conclusion dear chap

  41. It’s not Piquet’s engineer, because Piquet said he questioned the data after the crash. And the number of people who would be in a meeting including FB, PS and no one else is pretty small. Yes, it’s Fernando Alonso.

    As far as expressing disagreement with the plot, I owuld surmise he was actually expressing disagreement that it would work. Otherwise, it’s pretty odd that he took to the track without an understanding that the plan was off, which was not the case. And we are told he didn’t learn of the plan until it happened—the same one he objected to that afternoon? That makes no sense. What it does say is that when the crash happened he knew that a tremendous fraud had occured and that it would implicate him if it became public. Unless of course, he ratted out his team in exchange for immunity, which we know he has some experience with.

    The statement inserted that the plan was NPJ’s idea is pretty devious and ludicrous. Alonso had no way of knowing who broached the idea, except from what Symonds told him. That is a nice little bit of self-serving BS from ALO which he imagined or was told was the chit required from him by his agent.

    1. The ‘Nelson Piquet suggested this’ clause in Witness X’s statement is not self-serving, given that whatever information provided to him would be from Symonds. Truth or not, Symonds wouldn’t be inclined to take responsibility when retelling it to another party, so it’s perfectly natural for Symonds to have said that Piquet suggested this. Thus it appears in Witness X’s statement in the same way.

      It’s not the word of two against one. It’s Symonds x 2 vs Piquet, sort of like a deadly echoey voice of doom thing.

  42. Thoughts on the tape:

    Just listened to the entire tape on the FIA website, and Alonso’s testimony is a load of bull in my opinion. No way would he not have questioned the insane strategy. I’ve heard him on the team radio before and he is quite proactive re. strategy. This testimony was designed to bluff to the world that he wasn’t involved. I’m afraid that although there will be those who say there is no evidence so you can’t say he’s involved, that won’t stop the many many people who are convinced he knew from the off.

    As for the “court”, it sounds really amateurish and unprofessional. Max is very domineering. It sounds like it was Briatore and Symonds who concocted it all, and poor Nelson, feel sorry for him.

    Does sound like Max is very dictatorial and doesn’t truck any objections to his conclusions.

    No idea who the whistleblower could be but he must have been pretty high up – maybe another engineer. Knowing the internet, I doubt his name will be a secret for long.

    Keith, I’m not clear if Witness X only made the statement after Nelson’s in order to confirm that what Nelson said was true. Nelson’s name would have to be known as it was him that crashed.

    Max is very protective of Nelson – he says it is not for him to mitigate for Nelson, but that is what he does throughout.

    Must say that we can’t accuse the FIA of not being up front and open about this – having the entire hearing on tape for the world to hear.

    “Acting on a frolic of their own” – what a choice phrase. Renault’s lawyer is very forthright. The criminal proceedings re. blackmail of the Piquets have been withdrawn by Renault, but NOT by Briatore. That man is just a real piece of work.

    1. Knowing the internet, I doubt his name will be a secret for long.

      Well, Pat Symonds and Briatore can make his name public tomorrow. They must know who is this Mr-X.

    2. I can’t understand how anyone can feel sorry for Piquet Jr,do you have any morals?…..HE is the trigger man in all of this….HE made the final decision to put the car into the wall!!!
      Poor Piquet my a**!I hope he never gets another race seat again.

      1. The reason is that many fans dislike Briatore, intensely. It doesn’t help that he looks like a sleazy git.

        Also, there are those who seek only to implicate Alonso in any way, before solid evidence has surfaced (which may or may not anyhow). Hence this whole feeling sorry for Piquet Jr bs.

        But there are very valid reasons for feeling sorry for the guy. Just watching Junior drive is enough to make any mother and her attendant offspring sorry for him.

      2. he wont..he is plutonium to the rest of the f1 crowd.

      3. My thoughts exactly bud- hope all is well down south!

  43. For sure, it is Alonso. If it wasn´t him then it must have been John Fota… Alonso without a doubt. He should have come forward exposing the whole thing right away…

  44. Some of you seem too “holy and honest”. Witness X (be it Alonso or anyone else) didn’t do anything wrong. He/She found out about the immoral plan and objected, seemingly directly, to the team principle and tech. director. Thats it, the ball stops there. If it went through its on the shoulders of the bosses. He/she should not be expected to write a letter to the FIA and journalist revealing the teams mischief. He is part of the team and did what was in his power to prevent the cheating. It was the head bosses that went ahead with it. So based on that we should back off of Witness X.

    Here is the most disgusting quote:

    [Witness X] was told of the idea suggested by Nelson Piquet Junior by Mr Symonds, whilst in the presence of Mr Briatore.

    It was Nelson’s IDEA!!!!!! Old cheating Flav didn’t come up with it. He just went along with this ******** desperate plan of appeasement. So is Nelson lying to the press in his apology and plea for understanding?

  45. Alonso of course, bla, bla, bla, getting bored of this witch hunt. all the best

  46. Prisoner Monkeys
    22nd September 2009, 23:44

    My guess: someone Briatore would have overlooked. If it were Alonso, he’d have no reason to keep things a secret, and if he knew of it, he probably would have given up his win voluntarily.

    So my thoughts are that it could be someone like a mechanic or a PR representative, someone Briatore would cosider minor and not at all essential to the organisation. Their desire for anonymity is what I’m basing my hypothesis on: they are someone who values their job, but who Briatore would move to silence if he found out Witness X knew about it. As Renault co-operated with the FIA, Witness X had no need to remain anyonymous. But as long as Briatore was in charge, his identity had to remain secret. I’m guessing he found out about the conspiracy by overhearing it or if Piquet let something slip to him. The only way he would have had any credibility as a witness was if he had found out directly from one of the parties involved.

    1. If it were Alonso, he’d have no reason to keep things a secret, and if he knew of it, he probably would have given up his win voluntarily.

      You have just GOT to be joking right?

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        23rd September 2009, 0:51

        No, I’m not. Because I have a fundamental belief that people can do the right thing. And when I said Alonso had no reason to keep things secret, I mean he had no reason to keep his identity a secret. Witness X values anonymity, and when someone does that, it’s usually for a good reason: because they don’t want to be found out. Because if they get found out, they get fired. But if Alonso spoke out and was fired for no reason, people would notice and question it. He had no reason to keep his identity a secret.

      2. I’m not Alonso fan and frankly it would thrill me if he was ‘Witness X’, however I fully agree that he would have given up the information (and through that the win) voluntarily last year had he been ‘Witness X’. Because of the points scored by the win Renault’s option on Alonso’s contract was automatically exercised, which was something Alonso did not want to have happen. Even if you believe that he could not have joined Ferrari this year, he made it very clear that he wanted out of Renault and at that time would have much rather have been able to avoid his option being exercised so that the could go to a different team. As much as Alonso’s past makes me think he would be capable of being part of this, his past also shows that he would only be part of it if he had something to gain. While he did gain 1 victory from this, he cost himself the opportunity to move to a team he would have seen as more competitive in 2009. Given his ego he would have seen this as costing him more victories in 2009 than the one ill gotten victory in Singapore in 2008. For that reason I am convinced he is not ‘Witness X’.

        1. mmm… interesting!

        2. Witness X could have been Bob Bell

  47. I must say the intention of the WMSC hearing to allow Alonso to give “evidence” in order to eliminate him from any further suspicion doesn’t seem to have worked too well does it?

    1. Dude, enough already. We all know what you think of Alonso.

  48. the thing I’m most suprised about is that mp4-19b hasn’t spammed his usual one billion posts with “it’s Alonso it’s Alonso”

    In any case the obvious choice is Alonso, he would need to remain anonymous in order to retain any value in the driver market and the PR front as well.

    Either that or what Prisoner Monkeys has said, someone who is in a position that can get hurt badly, possibly a counseller (doctor/patient privilege etc).

    1. You had to ask for this, din’t you?

  49. Witness X can’t be Alonso. Alonso is mentioned by name elsewhere in the documents, and the investigations/questioning involving him are documented to. Furthermore the FIA concluded that Alonso had no prior knowledge of the conspiracy, which they could not have done if Alonso was Witness X.

    It’s amazing, the amount of backward reasoning that this has brought about. “Well, Alonso MUST have been involved, so let’s twist all the facts we can to fit….”

    1. At least we can count on Red Andy to be the voice of reason around here.

      Cheers Andy

    2. your pagan logic is not welcome here andy! :) Alonso was the man on the grassy knoll.

      1. Very good gents:)

    3. Finally someone who is taking what the FiA is saying at face value! I too agree with you, but after reading all the comments I can’t but feel very narrow minded. It would certainly be disgusting if “Witness X” is really Alonso, because even in a court hearing the FiA seem to lie and twist the facts around! Would they have the audacity to lie about Witness X to others while he, himself, is sitting in the court of law right there with them? If it was really him, maybe they could have at least avoided calling him to court..

      If it really was Alonso then they have allowed him to deliberately lie to everyone in that session that he didn’t even suspect that anything went wrong, while in fact he did hear about it the night before? This way too complicated and sinister.. How would the FiA accept the fact that he went on to accept his win even after knowing that it was a set up?! If it was really him I don’t think he should’ve been let go of this easily..

      For my own peace of mind I would like to believe that Witness X somehow is someone other than Alonso until further notice lol

      1. The real question is, why would the FIA go to such lengths to protect Alonso? If he was guilty, I don’t see why the FIA would have any reason to conceal it. So there is no real reason to take the FIA’s statements at anything other than face value.

        1. Because Alonso being implicated would be MUCH more commercially damaging damaging to the sport than Flavio and Pat’s guilt. Not that that means alonso IS guilty…

  50. At least we can be sure, that Witness X is male.

    “To protect his identity Witness X is not identified in this decision.”

    1. That narrows it down – there aren’t that many women in motorsport. :)

    2. Witness X is Terminator X, the producer of Public Enemy records, with Chuck D and Flavor Flav.
      Terminator X quit the hip-hop scene in 2003 and has been running an ostrich farm in South Carolina. I hear Flav is an investor in the business. Now all the pieces are coming together.

      1. No, It was Chuck Norris. Also it was his idea and he crushed NPJ’s car… roundhouse kicked it into the wall.

    3. Lol I thought that too when I heard that segment.. Not that there are many women around..

  51. “32. When the FIA’s advisers interviewed Witness X, he expressly confirmed that Mr Briatore was involved in the conspiracy because Witness X had been personally present at a meeting shortly after qualifying on Saturday 27 September 2008 when Mr Symonds had mentioned the possibility of a crash plan to Mr Briatore. The FIA’s advisers were confident that Witness X himself played no active role in the conspiracy and that, indeed, he had objected to it and sought to distance himself from it.”

    From the above statement, I am guessing Witness X is Alonso. They probably pitched this to Alonso, Alonso said he wanted no part of it. He will drive his race, whatever they wanted to do, it’s up to them. Piquet crashed, Alonso took the win. Once the incident happened, Alonso knew he got the win because of that, but he chose not to disclose it. Fair & simple.

    I am fine with Alonso not blowing the whistle on this. At least there’s no “Good Samaritan” law equivalent in F1 by which you could implicate Alonso.

    1. good point. let’s assume mr.x is alonso. imagine if he hadn’t agreed with with the plan when it was pitched to him. what could he do? convince fb and ps? i’m sure he tried. tell cw on sunday morning (well, evening) before the race, when it was still a conspiracy? tell the fia right after the race? that would have put him in a very bad situation (it would have been the second time he blackmailed his own team about illegal stuff being done). if he is mr.x, i think he chose the best he could do. he cann’t feel bad for his win or for his moral principles. and fia should understand that. what would any of you ‘posters’ do in his situation? alonso is a wise guy and an optimal driver, able to design, build and prepare cars. i’m sorry mclaren preferred hamilton over him. now he’ll be driving for ferrari, and hamilton (and mclaren) will (surely) not be able to beat the ferrari-alonso duo :(

      1. IF witness “X” was Alonso, then he should have informed the FIA of this plan. Contrary to what Mika has said it wouldn’t be blackmailing his team. He would blackmailing his team if he said to Renault “I’m going to tell the FIA, unless you give me a pay rise, or a new car”.

        Simply blowing the whistle on dodgy practices is not blackmail! It’s the correct and moral thing to do.

        It seems that Witness “X” didn’t do anything about attempting to correct the situation. If so he is just as guilty as the people involved in the discussions to fix the race.

        1. “i’m going to tell the fia, unless you forget about doing it” is (to my oppinion) blackmailing.

          the answers to what is correct and to what is moral do not always coincide. also, who knows what is correct or moral? it is so relative…

          maybe the only thing mr.x could do is to quit, and maybe everyone would ask the real reasons for leaving.

      2. I dont believe alonso ferrari can beat hamilton mclaren. Ferrari is is a slight down turn right now and yes they have been more competitive with kimi in the last 2 races but they are kind of behind the curve right now. mclaren was also there at the start of the season but they are catching up quicker.
        If things dont change soon ferrari will be the new renault and alonso will be no better off.

        1. the fact that we dont want alonso ferrari to beat hamilton mclaren does not mean we should not believe it.

          1. It has nothing to do with want, I am basing this on the performance of the cars at this moment. Ferrari had the edge but I think that mclaren has made the difference and gained some. They still arent quite with brawn but they have pretty much everyone else under control.

      3. Firstly I don’t think Alonso is Witness X, but if Alonso did know about the plan apart from trying to convince Briatore and Symonds not to go through with it he could have also spoken to Piquet who was the key man in all of this, or just plainly said to them if you go through with this plan I will retire from the race so you will still not get the win anyway.

  52. Witness X….how mysterious.
    Could it be…..Murray Walker??!!!
    The current FIA administration is so BS.

  53. I find it hard to believe that it’s Alonso.

    Anonimity is a fairly standard provision for whistleblowers within most corporations/businesses. It’s not at all sinister, it is simply a way of protecting the whistleblower (i.e. the person who is doing the right thing) from any personal repercussions from the acquaintances/allies within the organisation of those deposed of by the whistleblowing.

  54. Actually for all the talk that it Alonso won because of this conspiracy… is there a blow-by-blow record of the race somewhere to check? It was, after all, lap 17 and many other accidents happened as well. It gave him an advantage for sure, but there couldn’t have been a fuel-rig conspiracy, etc etc.

    He couldn’t have won without this happening, but he could have not won with this happening too.

    1. I hear ya, it was hardly race fixing..lol
      More like race assisting, to have a team mate wreck so early on really doesnt mean the team mate will now win…!

      It helped Alonso but had Massa not had a pit incident then Alonso was never going to win.
      So to sum it up the crash didnt make Alonso win.

      Race fixing is when the team forces the No.2 driver to pull over a few feet from the checked flag to let the squeaky clean “champ” to win.

      1. So letting your teammate pass is worse than a deliberate crash?

      2. Yeah absolutely aree with your definition AP.

        No, Maciek, crashing is worse. But AP’s example of stopping before the checkered flag for a teammate really fixes the result, whereas Piquet’s early crash affected the result, but had no way of making sure of anything. If he crashed within the last 10 laps, say, and took out a frontrunner (by allowing himself to be almost lapped, for example), then that would have really fixed the result.

  55. Witness X is someone still on the team who is being protected by the FIA so that he wouldn’t be subject to prosecution in Singapore in the future (ie this weekend)… Do you think Flav, Pat or NPJ would even dare set foot on that country ever again? I wouldn’t be surpised if Alonso and other Renault personnel were taken for questioning by the police in Singapore this week…

  56. You all should read through the full documents before commenting….

    – Alonso is not Witness X. He just isn’t.

    – Symonds letter mentions Schumacher parking on the track at the 2006 Monaco Qualifying. Maybe Briatore expected Piquet Jr to park his car like Schumi had, and that is why Briatore can be heard calling Piquet a “******* disgrace” when viewing the crash replay.

    1. Or he’s a great actor :)

      No but interesting stuff.. If the plan was not to really crash, it’s less evil as they don’t harm anybody physically.
      But then again, if they did that it might have looked really stupid :)
      I’m curious what flav en pat will be saying in time…

      And witness X isn’t Alonso, no point in keeping his identidy quiet!

      1. he should get an Oscar then :P

        He even crashed when he didn’t need to! :D

  57. I’m seriously glad that I am not on trial in this kangaroo court… all you people that “know” Alonso is Witness X are just crazy… yes it’s your opinion and you’re allowed it… but man alive… I’m sure one day the identity will be made known and my feeling is it would have to be Jr’s race engineer… he would have to know what his driver is up too… anyways enough of the lynch mob… I hope the day the name is made public we have an apology thread… and if it comes out that Fernando is Witness X… I’ll eat some crow… :)

    1. Me too!!!!!!!

  58. Great research Keith, I have not read this Mister X on any other websites!

    I look forward to Singapore and watch racing not read the (in)justices after races.

  59. Why did they asked Alonso to be at the meeting if they had no evidence at the moment of the meeting and hardly any question about the matter?

    I’m listening to the audio and im amaized Alonso barely talked more than a minute and didn’t add anything to the matter!

    1. alonso was representing renault, wasn’t he?
      but while there, he was asked some questions. why, if he wasn’t there for that?

      1. See para 65 of the FIA documents – the FIA allowed for the possibility that Witness X might point towards Alonso knowing about the conspiracy:

        Mr Alonso was invited to appear at the WMSC meeting of 21 September 2009 for two main reasons. First, at the time of the investigation, the FIA’s investigations were continuing (particularly with regard to Witness X). As such, it was not clear whether any additional allegations would be made regarding Mr Alonso. Second, the FIA considered that, in light of the nature of the rumours regarding Mr Alonso’s state of knowledge regarding the conspiracy, it would be of assistance to the WMSC and Mr Alonso for him to appear and answer any questions the WMSC may have.

    2. He was there so they could clear his name.

    3. Alonso had to be at the hearing so he could say on the record that he knew nothing. We already have people querying why certain people were not questioned, and considering it seems a lot of people assumed as soon as it became public that Alonso was involved can you imagine the reaction if he wasn’t even questioned.

  60. A lot of speculation going on here. And a fair bit of self-righteous indignance too it seems.

    Just put yourself in this mystery person’s shoe (whether it is Alonso or not) — would you, if it was you in that position, have blown the whistle, knowing it would put you in the full glare of the media spotlight, that you would have Renault and FB and FIA breathing down on you, that the whole world would be reading about you?

    If you were Alonso, would you want to be embroiled in yet another controversy — or would you keep quiet about it for as long as possible and let discretion be the better of valor?

    If you were a staffer, would you want to have the world’s eyes on you, and the implications for your private life, your family life?

    A lot of “should have done this and should have done that” views expressed here. Would YOU have done it?

    1. i completely agree.
      the problem here is that for (almost all of) us, f1 is something like a virtual world that is built for our imagination to fly, and no true concerns about reality are present in our (or in almost everyone’s) mind…

  61. Interesting observation is that one name that has consistently come up from everyone is Alonso. Though there was some suggestion that it could be NPS. But what would FIA gain by protecting him. When I saw the title of the article even before reading I was guessing it must be Alonso like everyone else.

    One important thing to note is that who other than Alonso would have access to the this High Profile team management of Renault. Who other than Alonso would ever be called by Flavi and Symonds to discuss this.

    Also Just to remind everybody Mr X err… Alosno also atteded the hearing in paris. so things just fall in place.

    Looks like Luca … Flavio ….. Max …. Bernie would have had a discussion along with Alonso the previous night and negotiated this deal as X and acquitted him completely in public.

    Again. It is bad to bad mouth about somebody without knowing the truth. But then unfortunately too many roads lead to Maranello err Rome … (typo!!!!)

  62. your roommate and friend proposes you to steal a microwave, but you don’t accept… would you guys go tell the police that your roommate and friend is going to break into a house a couple of blocks away? would you guys go tell the police that your roommate and friend brought home a stolen microwave oven, but told around it was a present from someone? would you guys stop using the microwave for your popcorn on sunday evening while you watch a movie with your brand new girlfriend, if at your place there is no other microwave?

  63. Prisoner Monkeys
    23rd September 2009, 4:34

    For all those who still believe Fernando Alonso and Witness X are one and the same, read the full documents posted by the FIA. They make it pretty clear that the resident Deep Throat was not at the hearing in Paris and that he was someone “senior enough to know and object, but not enough to argue”.

  64. jajajaja Witness X, like the old 007 movies

  65. Witness x possibles:

    -Bob Bell
    -di Grassi
    -Ecclestone (was at the hearing, wasen’t he?)

  66. You know what I find interesting, that none of you very smart fans have picked up on yet? I’ll tell you what!

    Mohammed bin Sulayem….dosen’t that ring a bell?

    It should.

    Same guy who crashed that R28 at the Dubai Autodrome not too long ago..an instant YouTube Sensation.

    Also, same guy who made a big push to keep Max during the vote of confidence last season. Funny how he’s now an insider on how the deal was brokered, isn’t it?

    1. Hmm very interesting suggestions.. Those are more like it! To those of you who believe Witness X is Alonso, don’t you find it weird that he was the one who confirmed Flavio’s direct involvement with the crash plan? The FiA said that before Witness X came forward they had no direct proof that Flavio was involved. I really find it hard to believe that Alonso would tell on Flavio..

      Unless there was some hidden evidence that he knew about it and chose to come forward before someone else does and protect himself? Ahh my brain hurts! Lol gosh just when we thought that the drama is going to end Mr. X pops up!

    2. He was also one of the 3 stewards that proposed Renault’s DSQ from Valencia because of the Alonso’s tyre that came out at the Hungarian GP!!!
      –> http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2009/07/26/renault-banned-from-european-grand-prix-following-fernando-alonsos-wheel-loss/

  67. sooner or later, the identity of Mister X will be revealed. By now, most of the teams top people would be knowing it.
    If ferrari is aware and not taking Alonso on-board any sooner, then my guess will point towards Alonso, as they may not wish to associate with a driver who has the potential to cause troubles or history of similar sort.

  68. Witnes X is Alonso. The crash was discussed a night before between Alonso, NPJ, Pat and Biatore. Remember Alonso will not accept any strategy that not suit him.

    I think Renault did get away lightly and you know why, because Max wanted Biatore out.

  69. This is an utterly futile argument, we will never know who witness x is.

    I am sure it’s not Alonso as otherwise he would have been held to account – A statement from Alonso confirming he knew about the plan would only serve to strengthen the belief that It was wrong for Flavio to allow such dynamics to exist in Renault F1 – that are contrary to the F1 teams purpose. Like they say in the case – it doesn’t matter if it is a 2, 3 or 4 people conspiracy the management should never have allowed this to happen.

    Max Mosley also suggests that he does know the identity of Witness X but rather nonchalantly dismisses his name by saying it had slipped his mind – If it were Alonso who was sat right in front of him then I think you are all barking up the wrong tree.

    Witness X could be Ted Kravitz for all we know!!!!

  70. Not that smart as he claims he didn’t smell a very obvious strategy rat.

    S Hughes: If the rat was so obviously stinky, surely you should be accusing several workers at Renault F1 of not being smart enough to smell it? Why are you focussing on Alonso only?

    In fact, engineers would have (a) more direct access to, and (b) better understanding of NP’s telemetry, so should not these people be accused way before Alonso?

    Perhaps they were suspicious, just like many fans were at the time. But just like the vast majority of us at the time, they may have thought that deliberately crashing was too outrageous a plan (which it was) that it did not merit further thought, and that Piquet’s accident was merely lucky timing. They may even have dismissed Piquet’s telemetry as an instance of incompetence…

    1. too much common sense,
      my eyes, my eyes, its burning my eyes!

    2. But one of the engineers did question the strategy. I do reckon a lot in Renault either guessed what happened or found out through the grape vine. They are hardly in as high profile a position as Alonso, and they didn’t benefit by winning a GP and going on the podium as if it was deserved.

      He still hasn’t made the statement that Keith thought he should make, distancing himself from the cheating and renouncing his win.

      There were a lot of suspicions all around the paddock, but if anyone would have been party to the facts, it would be Alonso. I’m afraid a lot of people will never be convinced of his innocence in this no matter what you say, or whether he is given an easy ride to “prove” his innocence by the WMSC.

      1. Alonso may have been party to the facts. But I disagree with your statement that “if anyone would have been party to the facts, it would be Alonso”. You think it likely that Alonso together with Symonds and Briatore decided to execute this plan whilst hiding it from his own race engineer, his half of the garage… and ALL of those in Nelson’s half who can actually see Nelson’s telemetry?

        Alonso looked genuine when he won. If he knew how he had won, then I think he did an excellent job of acting genuinely delighted.

  71. FIA Transcript:-
    [Witness X] was told of the idea suggested by Nelson Piquet Junior by Mr Symonds, whilst in the presence of Mr Briatore. [Witness X] objected to the idea. He did not know the plan was to be carried into effect until the crash happened. As a result of the evidence, including Mr Piquet’s admission, Mr Symond’s responses and [Witness X’s] evidence, Renault F1 concluded that they and Mr Briatore must have known about the conspiracy.”

    Not great punctuation, reads like this though I think:-
    [Witness X] was told of the idea, suggested by Nelson Piquet Junior, by Mr Symonds whilst in the presence of Mr Briatore. [Witness X] objected to the idea. He did not know the plan was to be carried into effect until the crash happened.

    So, who would be at a meeting with just Flav, Pat after qualifying with such an incriminating plan being discussed? Alonso? Alonsos engineer?
    The thing is, Flav and Pat know!!. Therefore, it will come out, I cannot see Flav protecting anyone now that he has been scuppered.

    Knowing all of this, does Alonsos podium celebration seem muted by his normal standards?? Not sure,looks ok to me, especially when he gets out of the car; but what does Hammmy say to him?? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XkoI5eirb8

    1. what does Hammmy say to him??

      don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like mine?

  72. Suppose the sequence of events was this:

    1. Piquet Jr suggests the deliberate crash plan.
    2. Symonds says something noncommittal like, “I don’t like it, I don’t want to be involved, but if you want to do it it’s your choice, and it might work…”
    3. Briatore says nothing, agreeing with Symonds.
    4. Piquet Jr goes and does it.
    5. Later, it occurs to Piquet Jr that pinning blame on Symonds and Briatore for the crash could really drop them in it.

    If this is what happened, are Symonds and Briatore culprits or victims? Both. Of course they should have warned Nelson against this act of lunacy, and of course they deserved to lose their jobs for not doing so. But if Piquet was the instigator, he put his bosses in a very awkward position.

    In any case, we all know Piquet is finished in F1, and deservedly so.

  73. I’m not certain Witness X is Alonso, although I still think he knew more about this whole thing than he is letting on. Why keep up this cloak and dagger act when his testimony has already been revealed to the public?

    I’m puzzled by FIA vice-president for Mohammed bin Sulayem’s comment:

    “We did our negotiations before and everybody is happy with the result. The verdict is fair and everyone is a winner.”

    Renault had everything to loose here, and as such it is the only winner. The WMSC, FIA and the F1 World Championship have certainly lost credibility because of this whole affair.

  74. I suspect Witness X is simply a member of the Renault F1 team – a mechanic, an engineer, a manager.

    The fact that X hasn’t been named isn’t, in itself, evidence that something untoward has happened. Protection of whistleblowers is a fairly well established concept. Anonymity is certainly one way of protecting a whistleblower from fear of discrimination. Immunity doesn’t have the same appeal if you’re at risk of being sacked.

    Let’s not forget – before the WMSC hearing, Renault was thought to be at risk of a huge fine, a long ban or both. The future of the team and 700 jobs was thought to be at risk. Would your managers and co-workers thank you if you put their jobs at risk by whistleblowing? Probably not.

    Why did the FIA need Piquet’s evidence? Perhaps X didn’t come forward until Renault conducted their internal investigation. Or X may not have been willing to make unsupported allegations – after all, what if Briatore, Symonds and Piquet all denied it? X would be left rather isolated.

    X is unlikely to be Alonso. The WMSC hearing concluded that Alonso had no knowledge of the plot, whereas X did. As something more than a small cog in a vast machine, Alonso doesn’t have the same need for anonymity that X appears to have. If it had been Alonso, why not simply give him immunity?

  75. I’m sick of Alonso!

  76. No doubt that Piquet, Briatore and Symonds conspired in some manner but what a disgusting travesty of a kangaroo court. There was a disgraceful drip of leaks. Piquet was granted immunity for carrying out the crime even though some have said that he instigated it. Briatore was given little chance to enter a plea. Now we have witness X with her whip still tucked into her garter. So few people attend pre-race conferences that her name must be an open “secret” within F1.
    Mosley has claimed that the FIA is an International body not subject to European law. Nor it would appear to any other code of justice.
    Jean Todt should be asked if this is the FIA that he wants to carry on in Mosley’s image or should he not support Vataanen’s efforts to clean out the stables.

  77. From BBC.co.uk

    “I would like to acknowledge my role in this incident,” stated Symonds.

    “I was the one who, when the idea was first suggested to me by Nelson Piquet Jr, should have dismissed it immediately.

    “It is to my eternal regret and shame I did not do so. I can only say I did it out of a misguided devotion to my team and not for any personal gain whatsoever.

    “I consider the role I have played in bringing the team to where it is today to be my life’s work.

    “In a single action I have destroyed the high reputation I have built up during a 33-year career in motor sport. On that night in Singapore last year I made a mistake the consequences of which I could never have imagined at the time.

    “For that mistake I can only offer all of you, and all those touched by the action I was involved in, my profound apology.”

    Piquet Jr apologised for his role in the scandal but claimed: “I bitterly regret my actions to follow the orders I was given. I wish every day that I had not done it.”

    Soooooooooooo…………..is Symonds or Piquet lying??
    Piquets immunity for whistle blowing i sort of agree with, BUT immunity for Piquet when it was his own idea i think is appalling.

    1. Completely agree!

      I seem to find myself siding with Piquet on this one, after coming out with the truth and putting his career on the line I don’t think he would continue to lie.. I think he spilled the whole truth out.. Pat on the other hand has already left the team anyway and would want to make himself look as good as he can, so he blamed it on Piquet.. Thus a 5 year ban only..

  78. Before this release it seemed that most people assumed that either Briatore or Symonds came up with the crash idea, but Witness X is saying that as he understood it was Piquet Jnr who suggested it, however it seems that this is only what Symonds told him so we still can’t be sure if this is true.

    I think that Witness X will be an engineer or mechanic in Renault but it would have to be someone both Symonds and Briatore trusted or they would not have discussed the crash idea in his presence.

    I don’t think the fact that they are protecting his identity is a sign that it is a prominent figure in the Renault F1 team, as anyone would probably want anonymity especially if they were still at the team as some may view them as being disloyal.

    Also it seems the FIA only became aware there was a fourth person a few days ago, the question is did this person keep what he knew to himself until it became obvious there was going to be a trial, or had he already told other people at Renault before, which would mean Renault had not been completely open and cooperative, which was the reasoning for them being let off.

    I have a question, I seem to recall on one clip of the race before the crash it had some of the team radio with someone telling Piquet to push, which some believed was code for saying Alonso has pitted so it is the time to crash. I can’t remember who it was telling Piquet to push, was it Briatore or Symonds or someone else.

    1. I don’t think the fact that they are protecting his identity is a sign that it is a prominent figure in the Renault F1 team, as anyone would probably want anonymity especially if they were still at the team as some may view them as being disloyal.

      I think the same thing. People are too eager to involve Alonso in this mess, and somehow this leads to being ‘blind’ to consider other people.

  79. yeah, it looks clear now that the idea came from Piquet!
    I believe Symonds when he says so.. Then you can’t give him imminuty.. damn he thinks of a race fixing id and then go tell everybody how bad flav and pat are… man he’s the worst guy in f1 history.
    He’ll never race in f1 again!

  80. But of course it’s Alonso… Is everybody blind? How could he not known something that was being done to benefit him, maybe even by his suggestion? He was left outside all this rumble because he already got a signed contract with Ferrari and, as will all learned a few months ago, Ferrari has special treatment inside FIA, so, why is this case different? He is no longer seen as a Renault driver – he is he next Ferrari driver. Even Kimmi has been treated as a some kind of second rate driver, so he can be washed out to give his seat to the that spaniard ba**ard, even if he has already won 1 race this season and has a lot of podium finishes…

    These are de facts, all the rest is just dust in the wind, like the song says, to blind our eyes of all the disgusting business working around Formula One racing, at least with some persons like Alonso…

    And it’s ironic and surrealistic that was Alonso the one to crave the last nail into Briattore’s coffin… and a few days ago they were best friends…

    Even though he’s not my favourite driver, I’m just sorry for Massa, who will have to deal with that weasel next year and I bet I’m going to laugh a lot with Domenicalli trying to easy thing off with both drivers and them going at each other throats… Remember 2007 – Alonso at McLaren – he was the one and only responsible for Hamilton loosing the Championship Title on his first year at Formula One… No wonder next year Alonso was gone from McLaren and back to his old friend small team…

    Today we all judge Briattore and he have reason for it, but never forget that sooner or later, the name on the bulls eye will be Alonso – mark my words.

  81. Witness X can only be Symonds. By the way, he still insists it was Piquet’s idea.

    1. I dont believe symonds, and his little letter of apology is another attempt of smearing those around him and deflecting as much as he can while appearing to take resonsibility for the actions.
      If they were the men of honor so many want to place on them they would not have sanctioned the idea if it was from npj. Amd they would have immediately gone to the fia and race stewards when he did it. Flavio should have fired him as a driver from renault at that point last year and when questioned he would have been in the right for the driver trying to fix the race.
      NO, quit feeling sorry for symonds as he is not the man of honor so many of you want to think. Stop feeling sorry for flavio for failing to control this petulent child and running a team properly, and stop feeling sorry for npj as he is too immature to be in the sport for either coming up with the plan or being coerced into it.
      I have my suspicion who X is but will reserve it until more data is avaialable.

      Bottom line is F1 needs to clean its house and they had better do it from the inside because if many outsiders get in there and start nosing around, the teams wont like it.

  82. funny that the idea came from Nelson, didn’t figure him to be that bright.

  83. When I was an engineer in F1 (left 1997) the FIA had an offer on the table for a very large sum of money and anonymity to any team member who blew the whistle on any cheating. I guess all we have to do is see who leaves Renault and buys a villa in Spain….Whoever it is we should all be eternally grateful to them as ridding F1 of Briatore is the best result ever!

  84. It makes no sense to say there was a fourth witness, who of course would be known to the other 3 parties. I think this is just a way to hide the fact that Symonds actually talked. I still believe Alonso had no hand in this. Alonso would always make every effort to win or get the best position, Telling him, Piquet will crash on lap 13 so go ahead and win the race, is just so stupid and its amazing the very intelligent people here can’t realise that.
    Alonso is no saint, but I believe he played no part in this, lets not allow our dislike for an individual to associate him with guilt always.

    1. I think this is just a way to hide the fact that Symonds actually talked.

      If that’s the case then why publish the full text of Symonds’ letter to the FIA, in which he admits his part in the affair and apologises:


      1. Does it make sense to state that there was a witness X? What stops Flavio or Symonds from sending an anonymous mail to the papers, identifying who it was?

  85. The smart money is on Renault pulling the plug anyway.

    With threats of further action from NPS and possible litigation from Massa, Ferrari, Singapore et al, can Renault afford to have their brand dragged through the mud some more? Not likely.

    Watch this space.

  86. It might be Alonso

  87. rob from inverness
    23rd September 2009, 12:05

    Great stuff – best mystery since Sherlock Holmes. The problem with the Alonso theory is that Piquet jnr was at the meeting and did not say that FA was present. Plus, Dad’s comment that “FA must have known” from which he backtracked. Dad surely wouldn’t have made such conditional comments if Jnr had told him that FA was at the meeting. Incidentally,when the story broke, I re-read the copy of Autosport (2.10.08) with the report of the Singapore race. In Tony Dodgins’ “Team by Team” report, the entire Renault piece consists of an imaginary briefing at Renault after qualification. It describes exactly what we now know happened…..The piece then ends “Fantasy? Probably.” I read somewhere that at least one journalist knew the truth after the race finished. It would be interesting to hear from TD or Autosport about the origin of the “Team by Team” piece.

    1. I remember that. In fact, I wrote to Autosport that week complaining that a respectable motorsports publication such as themselves shouldn’t be giving any column space whatsoever to such baseless, tabloid-style conspiracy theories.


  88. JeJeJeJe Bunch of fools JaJaJaJa

  89. It can’t be Nelson Piquet sr. because (according to Piquet jr.) he was told about the plan only after the race. And why would Piquet jr. lie about _this_? Furthermore, there’s no reason why Piquet sr. would want to be anonymous.

    It seems most likely that Alonso is Witness X.

    I still believe that Piquet jr. made the propose to Pat Symonds. Both Symonds and Briatore have stated that Piquet was the first one to propose a deliberate crash. Since Piquet jr. has said he plans to continue his motorsport career, it’s likely he’s trying to make himself look better.

    1. Also, Piquet Sr doesn’t work for Renault – Witness X does, apparently.

  90. I just love the way so many people here start with the assumption that it’s Alonso and then deduce all kinds of things based on that, when it’s only their predisposition to dislike Alonso that leads them to conclude that he’s the mystery witness. Nice circular logic: “I don’t like him, so he must be evil.” Jeez Louize, would you all step back, breathe through the nose and unbunch those panties already?

  91. just finished listening to the recordings..great stuff..

    is it just me or was MM ‘protecting’ NPJ?

  92. I don’t understand how anyone could think Witness X was Alonso. After Alonso’s attempted blackmail of McLaren the previous year, there is no way anyone would want to show him any dirty laundry.

    I agree with obvious_innit:

    September 22, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    Bob Bell was at the Singapore G.P. He could be seen in many photos in the background. Who else would be at that high level before, during and after?

  93. Unless this ‘any dirty laundry’ directly involved Witness’s race strategy

  94. Someone said that Witness X can’t be Alonso, because Piquet jr. or sr. would have told it to FIA, if he had been in the same meeting that Piquet jr. was. But the transcription doesn’t claim Witness X was in the same meeting Piquet was, it simply claims that Symonds and Briatore were present.

    As I have said before, it’s really sick how Piquet jr. can walk out of this without any kind of punishment. Even though it’s possible Symonds gave the order (but it’s more/as likely it was Piquet’s idea), he’s the one who executed it.

    Also, I believe Alonso was aware of this plan, but I don’t think he should be punished (hard). No driver would have gone and tell to FIA in that kind of situation and it’s not sure whether he could have denied it. Would you go and tell the shopowner if you saw your friend stealing some lollipops from the store? And no, I’m not Alonso fan.

  95. I find it highly ironic that you could use this new evidence to suggest even stronger cases both for it being Alonso and it not being Alonso!

    Why didn’t the statement say:
    “Witness X is not a driver for Renault” and be done with it? By saying it blandly, if it was found to be Alonso or Grosjean or di Grassi, the FIA would be in serious trouble themselves for lying – this disproving it could be a driver.

    The only thing I can think of is that this narrows down the possibilities of who it could be. Either that or it’s really Alonso, but I find that hard to believe. It wouldn’t be in Alonso’s character not to expose his team (for the right reasons or not) if he knew.

  96. Of course it’s Alonso. I’m sick of him.

  97. I thought they stopped burning witches at the stake hundreds of years ago. What is with the Alonso witch hunt. :-)

    1. I think that Alonso was not only there, but that it was his plan to begin with, and that he recited ancient chants and used voodoo dolls to coerce everybody from Briatore to Nelsinho to go along with and then used black magic to make them think it was their own idea…. and then he ate a puppy and burped fire.

      1. Best of the lot!!! :)

  98. There is more Teflon flying around FIA meetings than in a non-stick pan factory.

  99. I should add that while we are all speculating as to the identity of Witness Mr X….. we have eliminated half the population,and a continuance of the process of elimination can only really conclude one thing and that is that HE knows his onions!

  100. Could Witness X be just a way for FIA and Renault to close this case quickly? After all, without Witness X’s contributions, it will be a case of your words vs my words (NPJ vs PS&FB). A long and draggy affair will just destroy Renault’s reputation even further.

  101. All good debatable points. think about this though as well. As much as the strategy was dodgy and the SC would benefit Alonso, there is no way that they could predict the last 46 laps of the race. The fact that Alonso won was “lucky” but not only attributed to the Piquet crash. Had Alonso not won and finished lowr down, would Piquet have cried wolf ? Would anyone have cared ?
    Piquet got off scott free and the FIA’s WMSC made some irrational decisions with regards to their penalties.

    However, Go back to McLAren/Ferrari, FIA/FOTA. Who were the two people that Max didn’t like too much ? And who does Max perhaps blame for his “indecent” exposure ?

    1. 3 people now if reports in the last few months are to be credited. Ron, Flav & Luca. It’s a good thing that witness X is not a Ferrari team member or Max could score a full house

  102. A simple way to uncover Mr X and all the sordid behind tha arras dealing that has transpired is for a spectator who was close to the accident scene to file a charge with the local police claiming reckless endangerment to their life brought about by a publicly conceded deliberate action by a competitor and his team.Waivers printed on the entrance ticket are not ever legally likely to over-ride a deliberate act of endangerment….any takers?

  103. My guess would be Simon Rennie.

  104. The Scotsman sent to Coventry….food for thought,though what would be the incentive? He’s too low on the F1 food chain to gain any visible advantage although any sudden change in employer could be edibly voluminous….. a lot of people on knife edges at the moment..one false move and the ticking time bomb could go off.
    No word so far from the inevitable American purview.Perhaps they are doing the usual shuffle and waiting for the smoke to clear before they go on the offensive?

    1. It’s just a hunch, one never knows.

      And my words are from the American purview…

  105. About time too! Mine are Canadian as it happens. Had the German,(Piquet) come to me and asked for immunity from prosecution,I’d have quoted an American with a purview,from the past.”Nuts”

  106. Bravo to Renault- I like how they handled themselves and what they said at the hearing. Even in the face of utter humiliation they have earned my respect. I never liked the team prior to this incident largely due to blabby flavy, now I hope they prevail in the seasons to come- of course not in front of my Ferrari’s ;-0

  107. #!*$#!*g-*#!^!! Yeah! You are well right Mr Reynolds,they have been just a paragon of virtue since caught with their pistons and big ends around their ankles.Necessity is the mother of invention some say!

  108. ok its obvious that the fia’s renault’s “punishment” was more of a business move than a sporting justice move, so my thoughts of witness x is that alonso is witness x. I still find it inceredibly hard for him to know nothing.

    Labeling him “witness x” is a wayof protecting him imposed by the FIA to protect him and the money he brings to the sport, (expecially in Spain).

    Actually im pretty sure that Eyebrow man is the “Witness X”

  109. was ‘Witness X’ made up by the FIA? (to reinforce their accusation?)

    1. I wondered that myself! I had been thinking it was Alonso (which may still be true), but this whole revelation is leading people to point the finger at Alonso. If they wanted to keep him out of it, they wouldnt have mentioned witness X at all. Its all very theatrical isnt it? “Witness X”? Starting to sound like an inside joke between Bernie and Max.

  110. Let’s face it – what’s the difference who he/she is – The Flab’s gone.

    Oh, and by the way, who were/are they trying to protect Mr X from? Don’t forget, Briatore knows who was there at the time.

  111. Pete, Shanghai
    24th September 2009, 8:45

    Witness X……Imaginative :) I would think, knowing the was F1 is these days that the secret identity will not last as long as Stigs.

    Arun.India says:
    September 23, 2009 at 12:11 pm I know your identity for sure ;)

  112. nelson sr said alonso knew about it. And i imagine not very many people knew, so only alonso and may be a senior engeneer at renault could be.
    Regarding what the fia said that alonso was not involved, it can be a smoke screen.
    Briatore knows, and we will see if his relationship with alonso changes in the next few months.
    We will know for sure. If it was alonso, it would be his lowest act up until now.

  113. Just read this:

    Daily Mail

    Sportsmail can reveal Alan Permane was Witness X, the Renault employee whose crucial evidence contributed to Briatore’s conviction.

    Currently chief race engineer, he is a respected stalwart.

  114. That has been printed in order to be denied and therefore finger fernando. Clever journalism if Permane bites. Not sure if Fernando is Witness x but he may have smelled a rat before and almost certainly after. The body language, reaction of people in the know would surely have sugguested something was up. Fernando is actually very bright.

  115. Sadly its becoming more apparent of late that F1 is a show and not a sport… Where is Renault’s 100 million dollar fine ? ( at least )
    Renault should have been banned and fined

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