Flavio Briatore might have wished that he had been a little kinder to client and former Renault F1 driver Nelson Piquet. After Piquet was sacked for non-performance following the Hungarian Grand Prix this year, he sought revenge by saying that Briatore and team engineering director Pat Symonds instructed him to crash during last year's Singapore GP. The crash, done correctly, would cause the safety car to come out, and that would give teammate Fernando Alonso the best chance of winning the race.
Piquet crashed, the safety car came out, and Alonso won the race. It's been reported that at least one driver thought the crash was suspect, and Williams' Patrick Head said Piquet confessed to a journalist after the race that he crashed on purpose. Piquet's motivation was to keep his Renault seat for 2009. Not having done that, he's got little left to lose... well, other than his career or the chance that any other team will hire him...
Based on evidence gathered, the FIA called Renault to account for its actions during the Singapore GP to the World Motorsport Council. The team hadn't been found guilty, but leaks indicated that the affair was looking suspect. Perhaps hoping to save the team from suffering over the actions of just two men, Briatore and Symonds have departed in what looks remarkably like a Ron Dennis move after McLaren's Australian GP debacle. Renault's only statement on the matter, before Monday's WSMC meeting, said that "The ING Renault F1 Team will not dispute the recent allegations made by the FIA concerning the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix." For all kinds of reasons, happy and tragic, on the track and off, this has been the most intriguing F1 season in years.
[Source: F1 Live | Image Source: Mark Thompson/Getty]