The World Motor Sports Council took only 90 minutes to reach a verdict in the case of Crashgate – wherein former driver Nelson Piquet, Jr. intentionally chucked his car into the wall at last year's Singapore GP to hand the win to Renault teammate Fernando Alonso. Realizing that Renault was contrite and that the company's disappearance from F1 would be bad for a lot of people, the WSMC handed the company a two-year suspended sentence. If Renault – and its people – keep clean until the end of 2011, it will be free and clear again. As usual in these cases, Renault F1 will also be making "a significant contribution" to racing safety projects.
As for team head Flavio Briatore (above), he couldn't even go down shooting. Having walked away from Renault and not in attendance at the WSMC hearing, all of the doors to FIA-sanctioned motorsport were closed behind him. Not only is he barred "for an unlimited period," from any kind of involvement in any race series or team, no driver "who is associated (through a management contract or otherwise) with Mr. Briatore," can get a Superlicense. We guess that mean's he's left to hang his head at his Billionaire's Club... or with his model wife... or on his yacht...
Pat Symonds, Renault's executive director of engineering, fared a little better, getting only a five-year ban. It appears the difference is that Symonds admitted participation in the "conspiracy," while Briatore still denies he had anything to do with it. We wouldn't be surprised to see Symonds in racing again, but perhaps not on the wall in F1 even after the five years is up. Piquet was given immunity for his help with the investigation, but his career has probably been given a terminal blow to the head. Alonso was found not to have known anything about the plot, which cynics, like Nelson Piquet, Sr. have found hard to believe, but this could clear the way for Alonso to potentially head to Ferrari without issue. Hat tip to Bertland!
[Source: Formula 1.com | Image: Mark Thompson/Getty]