Fernando Alonso’s victory in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix raised questions as he began the race using an unusual strategy and benefitted from an early Safety Car period which came out about his team mate had crashed.
Yet despite suspicions about the race being raised in its immediate aftermath it took almost a year for the matter to be investigated and the conspiracy exposed. Once it was the ill-gotten victory was not confiscated and punitive action was largely confined to individuals who had already left the sport.
Five years on, can it be said the FIA took the Crashgate scandal seriously? Or did it conduct a hasty investigation which unearthed no more than it was supposed to?
“I’m going to need a miracle”
The genesis of the scandal in Singapore began ten weeks before that race, at the Hockenheimring. As lap 36 of the German Grand Prix began Timo Glock lost control of his Toyota, striking the pit wall. It was a heavy impact, the Toyota skidding down to the first corner. The Safety Car was summoned while the wreck was recovered.
Nelson Piquet Jnr had made his second and final pit stop two laps earlier. This being two years before in-race refuelling was banned, Piquet had taken on enough fuel to the end of the race.
The rules also meant that immediately after the Safety Car came out no one could venture into the pits. Once they were allowed to come in Piquet was handed 11 places, and went on to lead the race and take a lucky second place. His frustrated team mate Alonso finished out of the points in 11th.
On Saturday morning at Singapore things were looking up for Alonso. He’d been quickest the day before at the new street circuit, which was holding F1′s first night race, and topped the times in final practice by over half a second. His last win had been at the wheel of a McLaren over 12 months ago, and this weekend seemed to be his chance to end the drought.
But in Q2 his car lost fuel pressure and came to a stop before he’d even set a time. A fuming Alonso stamped his feet as he climbed from the R28 and realised he would line up 15th on the grid. “Starting from the middle of the pack, I’m going to need a miracle,” he rued.
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Alonso was one of only two drivers to start the race on the soft tyre – the harder of the two compounds brought by Bridgestone. Nico Rosberg in the Williams did likewise.
The Renault driver made up three places at the start and gained another one soon after as Jarno Trulli, heavy with fuel, began to drop back.
But as early as lap 12 of the 61-lap race Alonso himself was in the pits. Seemingly, his hopes of running light on fuel to gain places had failed: he rejoined over 80 seconds behind Massa.
Two laps later Piquet Jnr’s Renault clattered into the barrier at the exit of turn 17. That in itself was no cause for surprise: this was his 15th grand prix start and he’d already crashed or spun out of five previous races.
As in Germany it worked out beautifully for Renault – albeit their other driver. Once the field had queued up behind the Safety Car and then pitted, Alonso was up to fifth. What’s more, two of the drivers in front of him had to serve drive-through penalties – Rosberg and Robert Kubica had been forced to stop for fuel while the pits were ‘closed’.
That left Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella, both of which had started with high fuel loads and were now running on worn tyres leaving them unlikely to challenge Alonso. After his second pit stop on lap 41 he easily held the lead until the end.
Even at the time some suspected Alonso’s win was not entirely kosher: “There were those who left Singapore with an uneasy feeling at the coincidental manner in which Renault’s return to winning form had been achieved,” remembered television presenter Steve Ryder in his memoirs.
“There was the poor qualifying session, the nonsensical gamble on a light fuel load, and then the mysterious crash of Alonso’s team mate Nelson Piquet Jnr that brought the Safety Car out at the absolutely optimum time; a million-to-one-shot had seemingly come off, and on what was a particularly high-profile race for the team’s sponsors.”
Despite the suspicious circumstances of Alonso’s victory the stewards chose not to investigate. Even this pre-race spin conducted by Piquet during the warm-up lap – seemingly a dress rehearsal – failed to attract their attention:
After the race journalists quizzed Piquet Jnr about the crash, noting it was “suspicious”. One of his engineers who had not been privy to details of the plan challenged Piquet on why he had not done a better job of keeping the car out of the barriers.
Hushing it up
It didn’t take long for the FIA to learn of the plot. Race director Charlie Whiting had been a chief mechanic at Brabham in the 1980s when the elder Nelson Piquet won his first world championships. Piquet approached Whiting at the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend.
“Nelson told Charlie the story, in great confidence, and Charlie told me,” said FIA president Max Mosley in an interview with Sky earlier this year.
Yet still the FIA chose not to act. “We knew what had happened but there was absolutely no proof, no evidence,” said Mosley.
Three days after the race in Brazil, Renault confirmed an extension on Piquet’s contract despite a disappointing debut season in which he had contributed little by way of results apart from his fluke podium finish in Germany and his involvement in the Singapore scam, which was still undisclosed.
Having been reconfirmed as a Renault driver, though with his pay cut from $1.5m to $1m, Piquet Jnr intended to keep the plan secret. In an interview for F1 Racing magazine he scoffed at the suggestion he’d been involved in anything underhand in Singapore: “Yeah, I wanted to kill myself to help Fernando get on the podium.”
The truth comes out
Thanks in part to their Singapore win, but also due to a superb drive by Alonso two weeks later in Fuji to a fully-deserved second win, Renault seemed to have turned around their slump in form in 2008. They failed to carry that into the next season with the dismal R29.
Piquet continued to struggle and after ten point-less races, team principal Flavio Briatore finally cut him loose. With that went his reason to keep quiet about what had gone on in Singapore.
He wasn’t the only person feeling the pressure in 2009. Mosley was fighting a battle on many fronts. In April the now-defunct News of the World ran a devastating expose on his private life which brought the future of his presidency into question.
Mosley clung to power, but facing hostile opposition from the teams – temporarily united under the Formula One Teams’ Association banner – the clock was clearly running out on his presidency.
“In ’09 Nelson senior came to see me in Monaco and we had lunch together,” said Mosley. “He told me the story, not knowing that I already knew, and it was extraordinary because he was really, really upset. He was distraught over lunch.”
“I said ‘what we need is we need a statement from Nelson Jnr’. He said ‘he’s ’round the corner, I can bring him in.’ I said ‘no, I’ve got to stay out of this but I will arrange for people to interview him and so on, I don’t want to get involved’.”
Now the FIA had finally begun an investigation, matters proceeded swiftly. Yet the individuals they interviewed and the evidence they collected could all have been obtained months earlier when the suspicions first arose.
Piquet Jnr exposes the plot
News of Piquet Jnr’s impending departure broke on August 1st. Two days earlier in Paris he signed a statement exposing a story which was predictably dubbed ‘Crashgate’ by a scandal-weary F1 media, which in the preceding two seasons had also reported on ‘Spygate’, ‘Liegate’ and ‘Spankgate’.
In his statement Piquet Jnr pointed the finger at Briatore and technical director Pat Symonds. He said that shortly before the start of the race: “Mr Symonds, in the presence of Mr Briatore, asked me if I would be willing to sacrifice my race for the team by ‘causing a Safety Car’.”
“I accepted because I hoped that it could improve my position in the team at a critical time in the race season,” he said, adding that the pair did not making the tactic a condition of him earning a drive for 2009, though he hoped it would help.
Renault were meticulous in their planning. Piquet was told to crash at the exit of turn 17 where there were no cranes and no side entrances to allow the car to be swiftly recovered, maximising the potential for a Safety Car deployment.
Naturally, Alonso’s strategy would have to be prepared accordingly: “Mr Symonds also told me which exact lap to cause the incident upon, so that a strategy could be deployed for my team mate Mr Fernando Alonso to refuel at the pit shortly before the deployment of the Safety Car, which he indeed did during lap 12.”
“The key to this strategy resided in the fact that the near-knowledge that the Safety Car would be deployed in lap 13/14 allowed the team to start Mr Alonso’s car with an aggressive fuel strategy using a light car containing enough fuel to arrive at lap 12, but not much more.”
The meticulous planning did not extend to how to minimise the risk to marshals and spectators. “Be careful” were Symonds’ only words to Piquet Jnr on the subject, “which I took to mean that I should not injure myself”.
The evidence mounts up
They were quick to rule out any involvement on Alonso’s part after he was interviewed on August 28th at Spa-Francorchamps, where practice for the Belgian Grand Prix was taking place. “Alonso denied any knowledge of any sort of plot,” explained Mosley.
Alonso told the FIA that the unusual strategy of starting with a light fuel load from a low qualifying position at a track where overtaking was difficult was borne out of a desire to pursue a different approach to those immediately around him in the hope of gaining an advantage. Besides which, he added, “the question of strategy was one which he largely left to his engineers” (in the FIA’s words).
“Interestingly the senior policeman [who interviewed Alonso] – very experienced at questioning people – is convinced he was telling the truth,” Mosley added.
But they reached the opposite conclusion about Symonds, who was interviewed shortly after Alonso. He refused to answer repeated questions over whether he had met with Briatore and Piquet Jnr on the day of the race or knew anything of a plan to orchestrate a crash, but did assert that the plan was first put to him by Piquet Jnr “the day before” the race.
Eventually one of the interviewers put it to him that “if Mr Symonds you’d been put in the position where you were made to ask Mr Piquet Jnr to crash it’s much better, it would be much better you in the long term to tell these stewards to hear that today?”
“I fully understand that,” Symonds replied. “I have no intention of lying to you. I have not lied to you but I have reserved my position just a little.” In their report the stewards added Symonds was “very responsive throughout the rest of the interview”.
Briatore responded to the investigation by claiming the elder Piquet tried to blackmail him by threatening to expose the conspiracy if his son did not keep his place at the team.
The Renault team boss gave the FIA a copy of a letter he had sent to Piquet Snr three days after the FIA received his son’s statement.
“I can certainly not accept your contention that the Renault team, myself and your son entered into some sort of conspiracy that would not only have a impact on the result of the competition, but actually, that may put at risk the safety of all the contenders in the grand prix just to have Fernando Alonso obtaining a racing advantage,” Briatore told Piquet Snr in the letter.
Briatore threatened the Piquets with legal action if he did not desist his “blatant attempt of exerting blackmail… by way of threats and outrageous lies”.
He maintained this position before the stewards. “I never talk with Nelsinho [Piquet Jnr].”
“I never talk about crashing the car, he’s never coming to me tell me ‘Flavio Jesus Christ I crash the car, you won the race, can you renew my contract?’”
The FIA also obtained telemetry from Renault (pictured) which clearly showed Piquet had provoked the spin and subsequent crash. He had responded to his car’s loss of rear grip not by backing off but keeping his foot planted on the throttle.
“To my eternal shame and regret”
Five days earlier Renault made the stunning announcement they would not contest the charges brought against them and that both Briatore and Symonds had left the team.
This was enough for the Mosley: “Because Renault had actually, as a company, known nothing about it, got rid of the two people concerned which was Flavio and Pat, we took no further action, at least against Renault.”
In their eagerness to make Briatore the focus of the blame the FIA over-reached, handing him an indefinite ban which was later overturned by an appeal court. His management of Alonso and three other drivers was also placed in jeopardy as they were told they would lose their superlicences if they did not.
Symonds did not attend the hearing but did send a letter to be read out. It included a reiteration of his claim the Piquet Jnr first suggested the plan.
The driver refuted that in a 2010 interview, claiming Briatore had put the idea forward. “The only way we can benefit in any way out here is by getting a safety car on the course at the right moment,” were Briatore’s words, according to Piquet Jnr, who also said he had been reminded of how the Safety Car had helped him in Germany.
But Symonds told the WMSC he “should have dismissed [the plan] immediately”.
“It is to my eternal regret and shame that I did not do so,” he continued. “I can only say that I did it out of a misguided devotion to my team and not for any personal gain whatsoever.”
Back to Singapore
The news got worse for Renault as their title sponsor ING announced its “deep disappointment” with the verdict and cancelled its sponsorship of the team, followed swiftly by Mutua Madrilena.
Piquet Jnr later admitted he “didn’t consider the morality” of what he had done. And the prime benefactor of the conspiracy – Alonso – didn’t care. Quizzed by journalists in Singapore he dismissed the facts of his team’s manufactured victory as an “interpretation”.
“There are many interpretations how you can win the race,” he said. “[The crash] was in the very early stage of the race, it was a long race to do, the car was performing well, I did no mistakes and I still count it [as a win].”
In the 2009 race Alonso took a remarkable – and this time fully-deserved – third place, and sent a clear message about his opinion of the previous year’s events by dedicating it to the disgraced Briatore.
There is nothing about the sordid Crashgate episode that doesn’t reek of cynicism.
The conception of the plan, the FIA’s initial indifference to the warning signs about the manner in which the race had been won, Piquet Jnr’s eagerness to keep quiet about it while it kept him in a drive, the sudden vigour with which Mosley pursued the matter once it suited him and Alonso’s dismaying readiness to accept his tainted spoils exposed F1 as corrupt, conniving and morally deficient.
Five years on, there are many who find it hard to believe that the one person who stood to gain most from Crashgate had no knowledge of it. The passage of time has given us further cause to doubt Alonso’s insistence that he would not know basic details of his own strategy. We have also seen examples of Alonso’s team mate being sacrificed for his needs in a manner which does not happen with other drivers.
Mosley’s attempt to banish Briatore from motor racing indefinitely having failed, he has since reappeared in the F1 paddock. His most recent visit, at the Italian Grand Prix, was with Ferrari.
Of all the teams for him to show up at, this was perhaps the most surprising. If any team had cause to bear a grudge against Briatore for his actions in Singapore it was surely them, for during the manufactured Safety Car period Felipe Massa suffered a disastrous pit stop which cost him a likely win.
Given that, it was strange to see Briatore back in their garage. Odd too, that a team not shy about levelling accusations at rival teams minimised the Renault conspiracy and crash as “a euphemistically naughty spin from Nelson Piquet Jnr”.
But to do so might have caused too much embarrassment on the other side of the garage – which, ironically, is now occupied by the very person whose ill-gotten win potentially cost Massa the world championship.
How the race unfolded
2008 Singapore Grand Prix race chart
|Nelson Piquet Jnr||15.052||20.923||26.793||32.478||38.639||43.925||48.363||52.684||57.657||62.791||67.237||71.791||76.483|
2008 Singapore Grand Prix partial Renault radio transcript
Extracts from the pit wall radio transcript published by the FIA of Renault’s radio messages leading up to and after Piquet Jnr’s crash. Only Briatore, Symonds, Alonso and Piquet Jnr were named.
|Engineer||Nakajima was being told that Trulli was heavy so he needs to overtake him as well.|
|Pat Symonds||While we’re behind Nakajima we’re f***ed, we’re not going anywhere.|
|Pat Symonds||I’m also’|
|Engineer||It’s f***ing our three stop isn’t it completely.|
|Pat Symonds||Yeah absolutely. I’m also concerned about that that fuel current thing, um as soon as we get laps coming in I’m gonna look for gaps.|
|Pat Symonds||[…] I can tell you now we’re not three-stopping.|
|Engineer||At this space for Fernando we are lap 15 so far and maybe we get to 16. We’ll see how it develops.|
|Pat Symonds||[Engineer], don’t worry about fuel because I’m going to get him out of this traffic earlier than that.|
|Engineer||Massa ran over the debris on lap eight.
[…] There’s a bit of debris in the middle of the circuit there.
|Engineer||Maybe debris on the circuit. Yellow flag between nine and ten and we think there’s debris on the circuit.|
|Pat Symonds||Pat Symonds That’s not gonna be a safety car.|
|Fernando Alonso||Okay, okay.|
|Flavio Briatore||[…] [Inaudible] Fernando will be going nowhere?|
|Pat Symonds||Absolutely. Um we’ve got a little strategy programme problem but as soon as I’ve got it back I’m gonna be looking for a gap to put him in.|
|Pat Symonds||[…] I think Rosberg will be quite light because he’s on options but this is still bad news for us. We’ve, we’ve gotta think out of the box now.|
|Flavio Briatore||[…] Fernando need to overtake somebody there because that is not’|
|Flavio Briatore||Alonso passed Trulli on lap nine.
That Trulli’s very slow eh?
|Engineer||Okay, I’ll tell him.|
|Nelson Piquet Jnr||As per his testimony, Piquet Jnr asks what lap he’s on.
What lap are we in, what lap are we in?
|Engineer||[…] He just asked what lap are we in.|
|Pat Symonds||Yeah, tell him that he’s about to complete lap eight. Is that correct?|
|Engineer||That’s correct yeah. I think he was asking what lap are we in though but, which he already knows.|
|Pat Symonds||No just tell him, he is about, he’s just completing, he is about to complete lap 8.|
|Nelson Piquet Jnr||Piquet Jnr says he can’t see his pit board.
[…] I can’t see Gabria, I can’t see Gabria.
|Engineer||Okay, want to tell him this straight yes?|
|Pat Symonds||Just say understood – say understood. He can’t see the pit board.|
|Engineer||Okay – understood.|
|Pat Symonds||Don’t worry [Engineer].|
|Engineer||Okay, I think we’ve got him.|
|Pat Symonds||Gabriel – can you hear?|
|Engineer||He just said ‘yes’.|
|Pat Symonds||Okay. Just try and get that pit board a bit further out, wave it or do something like that.|
|Pat Symonds||[…] Right, what have we got; f***ing hell we’ve got seven seconds to Nakajima.|
|Nelson Piquet Jnr||[…] It’s better to count through the laps because I cannot see Gabria.|
|Pat Symonds||Nakajima lapped in 1’50.3 on lap eight.
[…] And then see how quickly we can catch up on Nakajima. Nakajima’s doing 50.3.
|Engineer||No, he’s going to be much quicker this lap.|
|Engineer||1.3 up at the moment.|
|Engineer||And these tyres are s***.|
|Pat Symonds||We need to’I need a bit of help here cos we haven’t got any strategy system.|
|Engineer||I just think, I can’t believe we can’t lap at Nakajima’s pace; I’m just worried these tyres are useless and we should get on the other ones.|
|Pat Symonds||Yeah, exactly…|
|Engineer||We 9/10ths up at the moment.|
|Flavio Briatore||Just wait one second guys.|
|Engineer||We’ve got a much better first sector to come on here.|
|Flavio Briatore||Maybe, you know, maybe we need to quicken up now.|
|Engineer||Yeah, we gone quicker now than Nakajima.|
|Pat Symonds||[Engineer], we’re gonna go two.|
|Pat Symonds||Um, what was our target without this now?|
|Engineer||Um, 40 was the sort of optimum, and then 40 up to 46 if he wanted to cover…|
|Pat Symonds||I think we’ll stay at around the 40 mark.|
|Engineer||Predicted what 47.6 for this lap.|
|Pat Symonds||47 – 6.|
|Pat Symonds||So point 8, point 8 quicker than Nakajima’s last one yeah?|
|Engineer||47 – 1 predicted now. We’re two seconds up at the moment on that lap.|
|Engineer||We’ve gone below one and a half seconds quicker than him.|
|Pat Symonds||One and a half’so we’re going to catch him in about three laps. Yeah?|
|Pat Symonds||Alonso took 0.6s out of Nakajima on lap 11 and was still over three seconds behind him.
Right, I’m going to ‘ I think we’re going to stop him just before we catch him and get him out of it, the reason being we’ve still got this worry on the on the fuel pump, it’s only a couple of laps short, we’re going to be stopping him early and we’re going to go to lap 40.
|Engineer||Yeah I think so.|
|Pat Symonds||4 – 0. Lap 40.|
|Engineer||Alonso set his fastest lap of the race so far on lap nine, then improved on it on each of the next two laps.
How’s the balance, Fernando how’s the balance?
|Pat Symonds||Um, acknowledge please Freddie.|
|Fernando Alonso||Very poor grip.|
|Engineer||Can you repeat that please?|
|Engineer||Okay let’s stay as we are, it will be tyres yeah?|
|Pat Symonds||That confirms it.|
|Flavio Briatore||‘Cause no way we’re overtaking Nakajima with these tyre.|
|Pat Symonds||Exactly, exactly and I don’t want to waste one second behind him.|
|Engineer||What lap you’re claiming Pat?|
|Pat Symonds||Um lap ‘ we’re coming in in a couple of laps something like that and then I want you to get to lap 40 please – four zero.|
|Engineer||Okay lap 40′ which fuel system-wise I think we can… we can go easily to lap 12 without any problem.|
|Pat Symonds||Symonds announces Alonso’s early pit stop.
Okay, I think I’m going to stop him the end of 12, that looks like it’s all going to work out.
|Fernando Alonso||Maybe over steering.|
|Engineer||I’m quite aggressive on rear pressures Pat so…|
|Engineer||Alright don’t do anything it’s gonna be a different story on the other tyre I would imagine.|
|Pat Symonds||Yeah exactly.|
|Engineer||Scupper our rear isn’t it so.|
|Pat Symonds||Yeah that wasn’t a great centre. Right, we’re gonna stop at the end of lap 12 guys; we’re going to lap 40.|
|Engineer||63 kilogrammes for Fernando – 6 – 3. Okay?|
|Pat Symonds||[…] Yeah with a good lap we’re going to be within a second and a half of him which is right.|
|Engineer||An engineer who apparently was not in on the plan queries whether Symonds is pitting Alonso too early based on the fact Alonso is not catching Nakajima quickly enough to be held up by him for three or four laps.
Pat do you still not think that this is a bit early? We only did six tenths that lap.
|Pat Symonds||No, no it’s going to be alright.|
|Engineer||Okay, okay. Understood.|
|Flavio Briatore||[inaudible] …behind Nakajima now.|
|Pat Symonds||Renault also had a problem with their computer strategy system leaving Symonds to devise Alonso’s strategy on the fly.
I’m having to hand calculate because we haven’t got.
|Engineer||Okay. Just we were 3.1 that last lap.|
|Pat Symonds||Yeah, I mean we might be able to get one more lap but I’m not gonna risk missing anything.|
|Engineer||Okay Pat, understood understood.|
|Engineer||[…] And in now Fernando in now pit confirm. 40 seconds Fernando.|
|Fernando Alonso||Alonso pits on lap 12.
Okay in now.
|Flavio Briatore||Anyway we had nothing to lose.|
|Engineer||62 [Engineer], 6 – 2.|
|Engineer||20 seconds Fernando. Multi-map 2, multi-map 2. Guys he’s gonna be target plus 8 isn’t he if we go into lap 40, 32 was the original one.|
|Engineer||[…] He’ll know from that we changed the two stops won’t he we don’t need to explain that to him?|
|Pat Symonds||[…] Right, now let’s concentrate on Nelson.|
|Engineer||[…] He just sat behind Barrichello ain’t he and he’s got massive straight line speed give him a little hurry up [Engineer] tell him he’s got a load of straight line and advantage on him.|
|Pat Symonds||Just hang on’|
|Flavio Briatore||Tell him to push.|
|Pat Symonds||‘Let me just look at the end of this lap please. Just one minute [Engineer] please I just want to see where he is.|
|Engineer||Bourdais went off the track at turn 18.
Bourdais’ spun, so he’s made a place up there.
|Engineer||[inaudible] go to R2.|
|Pat Symonds||Lap 14 begins.
Okay right [Engineer], you’ve gotta push him really bloody hard now if he doesn’t get past Barrichello he’s a, he’s going nowhere, he’s got to get past Barrichello this lap.
|Flavio Briatore||Tell him, push.|
|Engineer||Nelson no excuses now you’ve got to get past Barrichello you’ve got four clicks straight line advantage come on you’ve got to push now you must get past him.|
|Pat Symonds||Tell him to push really hard.|
|[Multiple voices]||Nakajima crashes at turn 17 on lap 14.
[…] Nelson’s off. F***ing hell. Nelson’s had a crash I would say that would be a red flag its huge [all speaking at the same time].
|Nelson Piquet Jnr||Sorry guys. I had a little outing.|
|Engineer||Is he alright? Is he alright|
|Pat Symonds||Ask him if he’s alright.|
|Engineer||Are you okay? Are you okay?|
|Engineer||Fernando’s just gone past it.|
|Engineer||Okay yellow flag|
|Nelson Piquet Jnr||Yeah I hit my head in the back. I think I’m okay.|
|Pat Symonds||Right [inaudible] stop him.|
|Engineer||Safety car, safety car, safety car, safety car, Fernando safety car mixture three.|
|Pat Symonds||Tell him be careful, be careful, turn 17 I think it is.|
|Engineer||Mixture three, mixture three.|
|Engineer||Pat he went through it just after him.|
|Pat Symonds||Okay thank you.|
|Engineer||[…] I overtake the safety car or no?|
|Engineer||You follow it Fernando follow it unless you get a green light, follow the safety car unless you get a green light.|
|Engineer||F***ing hell that was a big shunt.|
|Flavio Briatore||Briatore appears to be watching a replay of the crash
F***ing hell… my every f***ing disgrace, f***ing, he’s not a driver.
|Pat Symonds||[…] What position is Fernando in?|
|Engineer||Well we were twenty, and we’re first guy to pick the safety car up.|
|Pat Symonds||Yeah we’re not.|
|Engineer||[…] Okay Williams are refuelling|
|Fernando Alonso||Alonso saw Rosberg – the only other driver who started on super-softs as he did – head for the pits. Renault’s plan relied on the pits being closed at this time so Alonso’s rivals couldn’t respond to the Safety Car by pitting.
Pit lane is closed isn’t it?
|Engineer||Yes, yes it is.|
|Engineer||Yes, yes pit lane is closed.|
|Engineer||6.8 Williams and a penalty. Rosberg.|
|Engineer||Did those guys ever get in before the safety car came in?|
|Pat Symonds||Yes I think so, yeah.|
|Engineer||Yes I think both Red Bulls didn’t they?|
|Fernando Alonso||Is the pit lane closed?|
|Pat Symonds||The pit lane is closed|
|Engineer||Yes, the pit lane is closed Fernando, the pit lane is closed|
|Fernando Alonso||Rosberg he pit now hasn’t he?|
|Pat Symonds||Yes he’ll get a penalty.|
|Engineer||Yes Rosberg pitted, he will get a penalty there were guys that pitted before it came out we believe, think the Red Bulls.|
|Engineer||And probably Barrichello.|
|Fernando Alonso||I have the green flag, I will overtake.|
|Flavio Briatore||What position we are now in the all this?|
|Pat Symonds||To be honest, I don’t know Flavio. It’s got to have been good for Fernando but I honestly don’t know where he is.|
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