After exclaiming that Fernando Alonso â€œknew everythingâ€ about the Singapore race-fix; Nelson Piquet Snr has backed off the allegation. It seems the FIA feel they have no compelling evidence to suggest the two-time world champion from Spain had anything to do with the race-fixing incident and Piquet clarified his comment to the Telegraph:
“All I said was that an intelligent driver like Alonso would ask questions if his team told him to come in to pit after 12 laps from 15th on the grid,” Piquet said. “As a driver I would have suspected something, so I can imagine only with difficulty that Fernando didn’t know anything.”
Perhaps prudence has taken hold of the inner-workings of Piquet Snr. and he has realized that his quest to bring down Renault, Flavio Briatore, Pat Symonds and Fernando Alonso and anyone else who may have been in the same postal code when the incident occurred needs a more calm approach. While he canâ€™t imagine Alonso not knowing of the race-fix plan; he has ignored the culpability and actions of his son, Nelson Piquet Jnr, in the entire saga.
While they Piquetâ€™s maintain they were done wrong by Briatore and Renault, the looming question is did they attempt to blackmail Briatore with the incident? Irrespective of guilt or not, using the incident to attempt blackmail against Briatore should he not re-sign Piquet Jnr is an offense.
I find the entire episode tragic and yet I am still intrigued by the immunity offered Piquet and the large throng of F1 fans who have given Nelsinho a free pass on his actions. The Piquetâ€™s may have revenge as their catalyst and Piquet Snr as well as FIA president Max Mosley have certainly appeared intent on bringing Flavio Briatore down but what precedent has this set? Immunity for confessions? If you have to offer Immunity to get a driver to tell the truth; what does that say?
The world seems intent on treating Piquet Jnr. as the protagonist-turn-victim in this saga and I for one and nonplussed by the justification used to portray the Piquetâ€™s in this light. Piquet deliberately crashed a car, putting people lives at risk, and sat on this information for over 12 months (Piquet Snr. announced today that the FIA knew about the incident 12 months ago. 12 Months!). Only when sacked by Renault for poor performance, does father Piquet get involved in an effort to bring down manager and Renault team boss Briatoreâ€”also the raison d’etre of Max Mosley as it obviously appears through the â€œimmunity for everyone except Briatoreâ€ offers.
Piquet Jnr. is no saint in this saga. He is not an innocent victim preyed upon by the evil machinations of men and machine. No, he has a manager and a former world-champion father who should have been managing the situation. He knew of the race-fixing incident and to suggest that the FIAâ€™s immunity is to prompt Piquet Jnr. to tell the truth is a complete misnomer. He is a co-conspirator and equal in his guilt as Briatore or Symonds. The truth isâ€¦thatâ€™s the truth.