• Sep 16, 2009
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]


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  • 19 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Maybe with the newfound time off Flavio can work on his tan..

      • 5 Years Ago
      finally briatore is gone!
      • 5 Years Ago
      So how do we get rid of Bernie?

      Is Max gone yet?
      • 5 Years Ago
      A turning point for F1! It's incredible how key figures of a given industry can be toppled with a little push of the one person more powerful than them. But then again I guess it's also that Flavio managed not to be caught for the longest time, and finally got caught.

      That, along with the new rules coming to F1 (that should underline strategy on the track instead of strategy in the pitlane), the new and morphing teams, the new faces, all that can only be good for F1.

      It's the end of a system, but one could say it's dying because the environment all around it had already changed too much to allow it to survive.
        • 5 Years Ago
        all these guys are dirty. Remember when Michael parked it at Monaco, at the corner right past the swimming pool? Wonder if that was ordered - was Pat Simmons his engineer at that time?
        • 5 Years Ago
        No, Pat Symonds was not Schumacher's engineer when he was at Ferrari. He was Michael's engineer only when Michael was at Bennetton.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What!!!??? Flav gone. F1 will survive without him, but he made F1 more interesting and more of the spectacle. He brought numerous models around the paddock, which is always good, but he also told people how it was and was blunt and honest (apparently not so here, though I don't blame him for initially trying to save his job).

      I don't condone this sacrifice a car to win a race situation, but this is not the first time situations like this have happened. That's how F1 is, how competitive it is. Yes they should be fined up the a**, but it shouldn't be brought to light in the public. It provides bad press for Renault and might make Renault be the next manufacturer to quite F1 (which I hope they don't). Ferrari has done this sort of thing before and the FIA didn't blink an eye. The worst part of the ordeal is that this happened a full year ago! Its done, over with, they didn't win the championship anyways. The FIA really needs a full overhaul since the teams decided to stay with the FIA championship. New people and unbiased, fair, straight forward rules that are enacted quickly and efficiently.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Maybe Massa wouldnt have finished 12th if there was no safety car in the race.. It's hard to guess what would have happened if something in the past changed..
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hamilton finished 3rd, Massa finished out of the points in 12th. Wouldn't have given Massa the championship sorry.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You need to be reminded that the championship was decided by ONE POINT.

        Who knows who would have won if they didn't fix this race.

        Sorry, I'm a Massa fan and one of my friends is a Hamilton fan.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I hope Alonso gets caught up in this too. I find it hard to believe that he did not know about this. Sad to see Flav go but cheating is cheating!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Absolutely. How can Alonso, having qualified P15 at a street circuit where overtaking is nearly impossible, accepted such a riduclously light fuel load to pit at lap 12 without questioning the team's strategy? It makes absolutely no sense. He HAS to know it all for Flav/Pat's strategy to properly carry out.

        There is no way Alonso is not in this too.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If this turns out to be true and the crash was called for from the pitlane, why would Flav not think that eventually it would come back to bite him? I mean he had to know by then at some point Piquet would have to be sacked and this could come up. Unless he was thinking that Piquet would be a good little boy and forget all about it.

      I kind of hope Alonso gets caught up in this somehow and Ferrari change their minds about hiring him and go with Robert Kubica instead.
      • 5 Years Ago
      most people that i know,wont miss him...
      • 5 Years Ago
      "cFoo
      There's no such thing as clean racing. It's the same as every other professional sports. They will cheat until they're caught, then the surviving competitors/teams will find other ways to cheat."

      There is one sport where this is not true. Golf.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well its now obvious that it was an intentional crash ordered from the paddock, the real question now is did Alonso know about it.
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