Renault’s Crimes; Piquet’s Claims

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As time progresses and the World Motor sport Council meetings approaches, the details may be slowly coming to light regarding the charges against Renault and the race-fix incident at the Singapore Grand Prix of 2008.

It seems that Autosport has some relationships that are paying dividends in the art of “divulging” information pertinent to the case. Interesting that the details, if true, are starting to paint a very bleak, sad and tragic story of Formula 1.

According to Autosport the Piquet’s, Nelson Sr. and Nelson Jnr., have become embroiled in a controversy of race-fixing, cheating, breaching article 151c of the FIA sporting regulations, politics, disgruntled management and a tragic lack of integrity. It appears that there was a pivotal meeting prior to the grand prix of Singapore in 2008 in which the talk of a intentional wreck could positively affect the outcome for Fernando Alonso (who later won the race after Nelson Piquet Jnr. Crashed on lap 14).

This meeting was reportedly attended by Nelson Piquet Jnr, Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds. Piquet insists that he was asked to crash and complied as he was frightened by his status within the team as they had not taken the option to renew his contract for 2009. Piquet, according the Autosport story, says his compliance was thought to be rewarded and that is the catalyst for doing so.

This apparently came to light after a phone call from Nelson Piquet Snr. Had with the FIA in which he told them the story as they understand it. Italian newspaper Autosprint also suggested that telemetry from Piquet’s car showed that while wheel spin is typical on turn 17, most drivers lift to reduce wheel spin. However the data showed that Piquet did not lift even thought the rear wheels had lost grip.

Interestingly Pat Symonds says that the discussion of an intentional crash did come up during the meeting but it was Piquet’s idea and nothing further was discussed.
You can read the full story from Autosport here.

I must say that this is depressing and the exact type of thing that F1 does not need right now. It comes as no surprise that a disgruntled former F1 champion and his son would lodge these complaints and to be honest not many pundits would have a hard time believeing that Renault could have done something like this given the recent history of scandals in the series but what is the most troubling to me is the Piquet’s.

Nelson Snr. Is a former champion and his son has a reputation to protect as well as a career to promote. As I have stated before, this is similar to the Lewis Hamilton debacle earlier this year in Australia where the team, allegedly, instructed a driver to lie (or cheat in this case) and the driver chose to do so. I know the pressure is great in F1 and a driver is probably very worried about his tenure at any team especially if they are performing poorly (which was not the case for Lewis Hamilton in Oz). Having suggested as much, what does it say about a driver who is willing to purposefully crash because he is worried the team may not renew his contract?

If Renault asked Piquet to crash, and this is proven, then shame on them for doing so. They will more than likely be punished severely and could drop out of F1 completely if the FIA’s president Max Mosley is feeling stern about the whole issue. What I find more inane is that Piquet himself would deliberately crash a car in hopes of being rewarded. Is it too much to imagine that Flavio Briatore would request such a thing from a driver performing poorly and a driver who was being managed by Briatore himself? Maybe not. Is it pathetic? Yes. Is it breaching article 151c of the FIA sporting regulation? Yes. Can it be blamed on the high-stakes game of F1 and constructor points and cash? More than likely. But what does it say about the Piquet’s?

Whether true or not, tragically it seems that Piquet has not only failed to live up to expectations but he has also soiled his family name and shown that he was and perhaps never should have been in F1. If Renault did not actually do what they are being accused of; then it gets even more tragic and begins to actually devolve to a pathetic end to an illustrious family with a terrific heritage in F1.

Renault will face serious consequences if this proves to be true and they should. Perhaps the innuendos are too great to effectively render a judgment of definitive proportions and the issue will be reduced to a probationary period or fine for the trouble caused. No one can predict the depth of evidence and the results of the hearing but it stands to reason that yet again, this type of incident has just added to the already pathetic malfeasance the sport is continually finding itself.

Could this have not been handled without the tribunal pomp and circumstance of Mosley’s WMSC and press coverage? Could they have pulled both parties in and discussed it between themselves and rendered a judgment or would that deprive Mosley of one last hurrah before leaving office?

What do you think? Leave us your thoughts below. Will Renault be banned, leave or be exonerated? Have the Piquet’s soiled their name irrespective of the truth to their allegations?

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