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Leaked transcripts put Alonso in the clear on Singapore crash plot
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Leaked transcripts put Alonso in the clear on Singapore crash plot
Posted By: James Allen  |  16 Sep 2009   |  8:29 pm GMT  |  168 comments

It got lost in the wake of Renault’s announcement today, but according to further leaked material from the prosecution’s dossier into the events surrounding Nelson Piquet’s accident in Singapore last year, the FIA believes that Fernando Alonso knew nothing of the alleged conspiracy.

Alonso: FIA prosecutors satisfied he knew nothing of plot (Photo: Darren Heath

Alonso: FIA prosecutors satisfied he knew nothing of plot (Photo: Darren Heath

Alonso won the race thanks to a safety car triggered by Nelson Piquet’s accident, which he alleges was a conspiracy involving senior Renault management.

In summing up a lengthy document detailing the interview and investigations carried out by stewards at the recent Belgian Grand Prix, assisted by the FIA’s Herbie Blash, Lars Osterlind says,

“As regards Mr Alonso and the other engineers, the Stewards have found no evidence to suggest that they knew anything about the plans to cause a deliberate crash on lap 14. Renault’s strategy was aggressive and somewhat unusual but the Stewards do not conclude that individuals at Renault other than NPJ (Piquet), Mr Symonds and possibly Mr Briatore were aware of any crash plan. This position appears to be supported by the documentairy and radio communications evidence provided by Renault.”

Earlier in the document, details of the stewards’ meeting with Alonso are given.

“Mr Alonso was interviewed first. He stated that he knew nothing of any meetings in the lead-up to the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix attended by Mr Briatore, Mr Symonds and NPJ and knew nothing of the alleged plan to cause a deliberate crash.”

Alonso also said that he left strategy decisions to his engineers and that running a short first stint from outside the top ten was merely an attempt to do something different from the cars around him, which is consistent with Pat Symonds’ attitude to race strategy as he’s articulated it to me in the past.

Interestingly, the Stewards’ seemed to come to the conclusion that Pat Symonds was the key to all of this and central to any notion of a plan to crash delberately.

They felt that the combination of his acceptance that a meeting took place at which a crash was discussed, together with his refusal to answer questions, “have led the Stewards to consider it reasonable to conclude that the allegations made by NPJ are in large part, true.”

However, interestingly, they concluded that it is not possible to determine whether Flavio Briatore knew about the plan. He flatly denied it.

Osterlind says, “The Stewards do not consider that they are in a position to draw any definitive conclusion regarding Mr Briatore’s knowledge of involvement.”

It’s all academic now; Both Briatore and Symonds left the Renault team today. On Monday the team will find out what sanction it faces. In my view had they fought this and been found guilty they would have been thrown out of F1.

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168 Comments
  1. teamworkf1 (toronto-ON) says:

    So, it will never be HIS fault! . . if we continue! what a joke!!

    but it’s ok, he will go to the “mothership” of cheating next seasons, so he will keep going with no problems!

    And the circus keep going also!

    shame, shame, shame F1!!!!

    1. I assume you are going to produce evidence that he cheated, right…..?

    2. PaulL says:

      Haha sounds like an Alonso hater whose exasperated over it turning out that he’s not implicated in the scandal. Bad luck you hacks :)

    3. Omar Kamal says:

      We have to remember that Alonso short first stint strategy was decided before the Piquet-Pat-Flavio Meeting as the team must give the Pre-Race weightings to the FIA (which includes the fuel on board)just after the qualifiers.

      So we can’t say that Alonso was planning to stop early to benefit from Piquet crash. As the early stop issue was already decided even before the meeting!

    4. Alonso Fan :O) says:

      Alonso get’s out ALWAYS! Next he is going to Ferrari, and you’ll see the next soap opera…

  2. Nick says:

    He may have been completly innocent in all this, but i strugle to belive he didnt question his fuel strategy, and he wasnt given a wink and a nod.

    In any case when people look back at his records in the future, there will always be an asterisk next to his race wins to denote the Grand Prix he shouldn’t have won…

  3. Well that is intersting, for once Alonso isn’t to blame.
    I love you’r commentry by the way, and i want you back in the commentry box!

  4. F1 Kitteh says:

    James, is the hearing still on ? Do you see Symonds walking away quietly, maybe join one of the new comers as he is still highly valued, or would he fight the allegations himself (is that even possible since it is directed at Renault, not him, but now it makes him culprit ?) This is convoluted but I don’t think its the end of the story wrt the individuals.

    1. James Allen says:

      Hearing is still on. Not sure whether Symonds or Briatore will be there, though

  5. Jules says:

    Can’t believe Pat Symonds has gone, his knowledge and integrity over the years have been such a great addition to any interviews during race day coverage. It really does seem that Max Mosely is getting his final wishes this year indirectly ousting both Ron Dennis & Briatore. Is there anyone left on his hitlist????
    Also James, as this has been such a big day for F1, it would be really helpful if you could put the time you post your articles especially as your website has been down/busy so much of today. It just helps get a real idea of the timeline.

    1. Rich says:

      I would say directly

    2. JonW says:

      Hitlist? There would be no opportunity to force them out had they not cheated in such a huge manner!

    3. rossetto says:

      Well there still is Montezemolo on Mosley which list.
      But I’m afraid that is beyond his power, or simply Montezemolo is clean.

      1. James Allen says:

        He’s only in power for another month also

  6. Raul says:

    Wouldnt it be very naive of us to believe he didnt know about the plan?

    I mean, a 3 stop strategy with a very short first stint in a street circuit is completely nuts if you don’t expect something to happen…

    1. James Allen says:

      No I don’t agree. If you start P15 with a heavy car same as everyone around you, the best you will finish is P12 or 13. If you try something different you never know. On a street circuit there is always a chance of a safety car. But it could come at anytime. It might suit the heavy cars, it might go against them. As we now know, Symonds knew there would be an early safety car, but it was always a reasonable bet on a new street track. Alonso isn’t the type of driver to tootle around looking for a P12 finish so what the hell? I can see him going for it. You can see from his reaction in the green room before the podium that he recognises that the safety car gave him the race.

      1. Lex says:

        he had 11 laps of fuel in his car, thats not a strategy, thats suicide.

      2. James Allen says:

        No he had more, they pitted him early. Read the stewards’ report

      3. Madhu says:

        A driver is given 15 laps fuel to start from the back of a grid in a street circuit, asked to pit several laps early, and his team mate crashes the next lap which gives him an advantage to take the win and the driver does not even get a suspicion!

        Reminds me of the post race press conference of a race where a incident between Schumacher and Montoya is being discussed. The footage shows that Montoya’s car’s front wing is in front of schumacher’s and schumacher pushes him into the grass – Schumacher says “I did not see his car” and Montoya replies – “You got to be BLIND”!

      4. Grabyrdy says:

        I agree with you James. But what about Flav ? Do you think it is at all feasible that this was done behind his back, knowing what you know about how the Renault team operates ?

      5. James Allen says:

        THat is the $10 million question and it sounds like we will find out on Monday

      6. If I remember correctly, about 80% of the pre-race show was given to how a safety car was inevitable…

      7. Mario says:

        Absolutely spot on James. I’ve watched that BBC short vid with both Alonso and Briatore in the green room. Judging by Alonso’s reaction it is very clear to me it was never on his mind to even start suspecting the safety car was arranged. He simply thought he was lucky to be helped by a safety car.
        As to Briatore’s reaction, as he blandly mumbled “hehm”, well that’s a different story being now history.

    2. " for sure " says:

      I can accept that he probably didn’t know before, but he sure as hell knew after. The telemetry would have been available to the engineers and they would have concluded that Piquets crash was no accident. That knowledge must have reached Alonso, even if Briatore didn’t give him the wink!

      Very sorry for Pat. I can only imagine he was put under intolerable pressure by Briatore, and I do not accept the apparent conclusion that Pat was the prime mover in this.

  7. Cort says:

    This won’t stop the usual anti-Alonso rumours.

  8. Chris says:

    I think Renault should still be thrown out of the sport.

    If the plot was hatched by a small group of rogue engineers, this is un-policeable and there is no way to avoid this in any discipline (re: Mclaren’s ‘Spygate’). The issue, however, goes all the way to the top eschelon of the management structure and as such – will likely have filtered down through the policies and ethos of Renault F1.

    I once worked at a medium-sized company whose directors were embezzling investor funds to the tune of a third of a billion dollars to support their extravagant lifestyles and failed business dealings. At some level, we all knew there was ‘dodginess’ going on at the top and it was no surprise to us all when the company finally collapsed. It was my decision to continue working there, profiting at a low level from the misadventures of the management and hoping that ‘everything would work out ok’. It didn’t, and the company went into liquidation with debts as large as the annual overspend of a medium-sized continent.

    It is not my desire in any way to have those families or employees of Renault F1 adversely affected by this scandal. It is a gut-wrenching thing when a company folds. The majority of the staff would have been entirely unaware of the specifics of the dodgy dealings that had gone on at the top in Singapore (and potentially before), but I’m certain they were wholly aware of the less-than-honest character(s) at the helm.

    Even at the menial level I occupied at my former company, there was a company-wide degree of complicity / tacit acceptance of the corrupt decisions of the management that I would not allow myself to be a part of again.

    The Renault F1 employees should not be explicitly punished for this decision. But they should probably not be too surprised if harsh measures are taken against their company as a whole in order to protect the image and sporting integrity of Formula 1.

  9. Rocky says:

    James, thank you. I hope this will stop people to attack Alonso with pitch fork.

    I’m not very optimistic about it though.

    1. rpaco says:

      Pichfork always at the ready! :-)

  10. ah1 says:

    David Richards should go to Renault right away and offer to buy the team. This could be Prodrive’s route into F1. Im sure Renault would be willing to sell to him, probably at a good price too. Im sure Renault wouldnt feel too upset about selling and getting out right away. This way Prodrive get their entry, an established factory and get to launch Renault’s car as their own in January.

    1. Racing not politics says:

      Nice idea ah1, I’d like to see this happen

      Wasn’t the Prodrive entry linked with Aston Martin though? If so that could get in the way

  11. Speedy says:

    Either Alonso knew or Alonso is a stupid driver who has nothing to do with his own race strategies.

    Two bad choices.

    1. sd says:

      ….what not to admit you may be wrong and FA didn’t know…after all that is what the investigators concluded…..

      ….but if you feel better with you conclusion I can see why it will suit some ….

    2. davidturnedge says:

      Yes, I find it interesting that Alonso leaves race strategy to the engineers. Find this a little hard to believe. But then again, you don’t buy a dog and then bark yourself; the driver’s job is to drive the car, not plan the pit stops. Perhaps that’s why Alonso is good; he let’s the team get on with it’s work and just thinks about his job.

    3. Fran says:

      If you actually take the time to read the reports then you would see that he evidence and team radio show he didn’t know and then you can stop making uneducated sweeping statements!

  12. C.M. says:

    I have always believed Alonso would not be a part something like that. A guy who has said some harsh words against Schumacher unsporting actions on track will not get so low.
    Even though innocent, once again he’s somewhat involved with a team tha doesn’t make him look any better.
    I don’t know what the punishment should be, it should be something hard, as it’s worse than McLaren spy-gate but at the same time I don’t wanna lose Team Renault and don’t want anything bad for all these hundreds workers at Renault factory.
    ..Oh and also I wonder what Red Kimi has to say now, guy has been flaming Alonso almost every thread here, claiming that he was so sure Alonso was part of it. I hope he understands, all he does is make Kimi’s name look bad.

    1. Patrickl says:

      Why on earth would you believe that Alonso would be above something like that?

      He had no trouble asking the Ferrari mole specific questions. so he wasn’t above spying, in fact he was instigating a lot of it.

      Why would he be above causing a safety car on purpose?

      1. C.M. says:

        Why? Well why not, he has not caught lying before. We have Schumacher who lied constantly about team orders and this year I remember Hamilton, rest I have no knowledge of lying. So as long as you are not caught, means you are trustful.
        As long as no evidence doesnt show that Alonso knew then that’s what I believe.

      2. Patrickl says:

        Ehm, Alonso said that Piquet had the same material as himself. Isn’t that a lie?

        Alonso lied on so many occasions. You have got to be kidding me.

        Besides, that he admitted that he was a cheat once doesn’t mean that he isn’t a cheat now just because he didn’t admit it yet.

  13. swayze says:

    “As regards Mr Alonso and the other engineers, the Stewards have found no evidence to suggest that they knew anything about the plans to cause a deliberate crash on lap 14″

    The stewards had no evidence against anyone only the word of a sacked employee.

    Mr Symonds and Mr Briatore should be made to make a witness statement under oath to completely exonerate Alonso if the FIA is to regain any credibility.

    What happens to the blackmail case against the Piquet’s now ?

    Posted my thoughts on this subject earlier but they don’t seem to have appeared James ?

  14. Chad says:

    If that is what the stewards reported, surely it begs the question; Why have the FIA offered both prime conspirators immunity?

    1. Rich says:

      Because the investigation had no real moral basis. As usual the head of one of Mosley’s key critics was desired. Nothing more.

      1. Steph says:

        I agree. James, it might be a great story, but please buck the trend and identify the leak. Mosley sure is going out with a bang – it’s almost like he wants us to believe the sport will fall apart without him – to the point where he’d happily pull it apart himself.

    2. Patrickl says:

      Because they feel that Briatore was responsible and not Symonds. They feel Symonds is protecting Briatore by not answering questions. Maybe giving him immunity might make him talk more freely. He probably struck a deal though so of course Symonds won’t talk.

  15. Tim Lamkin says:

    It is time for all the crap in F! to stop and get back to racing….this is getting old…quick.

  16. Joe says:

    In criminal cases of the most severe nature, the plea of the accused rarely has any significant effect on the terms of sentence if the accused is found guilty. Now, assuming renault are found guilty on monday and get away with anything less than McLaren’s 100mill fine (and they have to – Renault as a firm may not easily absorb such a fine in the current climate) – then the spotlight comes back on to the reason for the McLaren fine. Was the sentence for the crime itself, or was it because the FIA believed that McLaren had attempted to cover up the Alonso/De La Rosa e-mails? Because Symonds makes Stepney look like an angel…

    1. Lem J. says:

      The Spotlight is now on the FIA. If Renault gets a mere slap on the wrist as a penalty, Ron Dennis, McLaren F1 & Mercedes will have a 100 Million reasons (dollars) to be upset.

      What do you think James? Even though Renault is not contesting these race fixing allegations, does it merit a lesser penalty? After all, race fixing brings to light a huge PR nightmare for F1 & Renault. On paper and in the public eye it seems a worse as compared to Stepneygate.

      1. James Allen says:

        I said so in my story on the Briatore and Symonds departures

  17. Surallan says:

    If they had nothing against Briatore, why did he resign? Just to help Renault in this exercise of damage limitation?

    If I were Renault I would sue Piquet and Symonds

    If I were Alonso I would sue Renault

    In both cases for damages to reputation. They could give the money awarded to charity …

  18. Chaz says:

    How is it that Alonso always seems to be involved on the periphary of several scandals of late and yet always exits unscathed. I smell something very fishy frankly…

    1. Rich says:

      He’s worth too much to Bernie alive ;)

  19. Surallan says:

    @ Speedy

    Alonso could have been aware of, and happy with a very aggresive strategy that relied on a safety car.

    It wouldn’t be the first time teams have planned strategies allowing for the probability of a safety car.

    1. Filipe Viola says:

      besides F1 i also watch every Indycar race since last year, and also beying an open-whell race series with almost the same race lenght on non-oval circuits as F1, all Indycar teams planned there last pit stops relying on the constant Safety Car deployment over crashes or just debris on the race track. F1 isnt like that at all, most of the light crashes or off’s dont result on Safety Car deployment.

      Alonso must knew something before he chose the fuel load of his car for each stint.

    2. Michael P says:

      I fully agree that a gamble on an early safety car at such a circuit would be quite smart really. That said, I am pretty sure Alonso knew at some point afterwards. I mean engineers were apparently questioning what really happened afterwards and of course they all had the data to show that this was no way an accident! Come on we are talking the most experienced and brightest racing people here.

  20. Lex says:

    Well none of what you have wriiten james matches Brazilian Media.
    Nelson Piquet .SR says that Alonso knew about it.

    http://www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk/2009/09/piquet-sr-to-destroy-briatore-as-he-says-alonso-knew/

    1. Patrickl says:

      James simply states that the stewards couldn’t find any evidence. That doesn’t mean he really didn’t know.

      they have put Alonso on similar ridiculous strategies before.

      They keep repeating it even though it never works. Oddly enough, every time they do it there seems to be an incident. Usually his car breaks down or the wheel comes off.

    2. Craig says:

      IMO I wouldn’t trust the brazilian media as far as I could kick them. Mr Allen’s site is the only one I frequent to get my F1 news. The fact that everything he writes is backed up and not circumstantial is testament to his journalism skills. Keep up the good writing James!!

    3. C.M. says:

      All people involved have already said Alonso didn’t knew. I don’t know what else we need? But at the same time, can you believe liars?
      We can believe whatever we want, just like older Piquet, he has a right for an opinion, it doesn’t mean he’s right.
      All we have in a moment is word from Symonds that Alonso didn’t knew and younger Piquet has also not mentioned to talking with Alonso about it. And we don’t even know what has been Briatores involvment in all this.

    4. Drezman says:

      Absolutely. I hope James continues with his own views.

      Piquet Snr is hardly a unbiased witness.

    5. Grabyrdy says:

      And what Piquet senior says is not worth a heap of s°°t.

    6. Chris says:

      Nelson Sr. says in that article the reason for suspecting Alonso was complicit in the conspiracy is because of his fuel load.

      This is utter speculation, and almost certainly incorrect.

    7. Carlos says:

      Piquet Sr.’s comment was “Alonso must have known,” which is very different from “Alonso knew.”

      In other words, he’s saying that Alonso should’ve guessed that something fishy was going on because of the strategy he was given. I disagree, as has James in this thread – many of us feel that a light-fuel strategy was reasonable. But even so… if Alonso pieced it together, it would’ve been after the race, and only with suspicions at most. So he was never in a position to stop it.

    8. Scott Dryden says:

      Those old enough to remember Piquet Snr’s own time as a driver will recall his propensity to spew rubbish to the Brazilian press.

      I agree entirely with James’ conclusions, as it defies belief that Symonds or Briatore would have informed Alonso, given he had threatened to report previous team management to the FIA himself.

    9. Raelene says:

      and you trust NP Snnr !!!! ROFLMAO

    10. David says:

      Yes, because Nelson Piquet would say Alonso wasn’t a part of it if it were true.

    11. Satish says:

      Piquet Sr doesn’t claim that Alonso knew about it, but only that he probably knew about it, which is as good as anybody’s guess.

      If he’s so sure, Piquet Sr should have provided a sworn testimony to the FIA about Alonso’s complicity. What we do know is is that Junior did provide one, which didn’t name Alonso as a co-conspirator even once!

    12. Joel Heaton says:

      Well, no, what Piquet says hardly means that Alonso knew about it. It looks to me to be more like a case of Piquet trying to throw mud on Alonso’s name as well because he out-performed Nelsinho.

      ” “Fernando knew everything. He couldn’t ignore it.”

      “If you are 15th on the grid at a street circuit, there is no point going out with no fuel. At most you will pass three cars and after your last stop you stay where you are. It’s a senseless strategy,” the Brazilian triple world champion added.”

      That doesn’t really say anything. It wasn’t the first time Symonds had tried radical strategies, nor was it the last.

    13. Markdt says:

      Well Lex, Nelson sr. is more involved in this then Alonso ever was/is/or will be, so his word is worth nothing to me. His sweet son was telling people right after the race what he did, so probably dear daddy knew all about it 12 months ago and decided it would be a handy bargaining chip for his not so talented son.

      Alonso has been fuelled short before this race and after this race, so nothing too fishy there. I guess the Nelson´s are just annoyed at Alonso humiliating junior and want to get some revenge for this as well.

      For all those stating that Alonso seems to be associated with illegal activities and this is tarnishing his name, well the same can be said for almost all the good drivers. Senna was hardly uncontroversial, Schumacher had his moments and even young Hamilton already has quite the list to his name…

  21. Steve says:

    Just because the main people have stood down, I don’t think this is over yet.

    I personally believe that the FIA will still impose some form of punishment either on the individuals or against the team. Which will then open the doors for further legal action against Flav, Pat and possibly Piquet Jnr.

    The immunity from prosecution was from the FIA, that won’t extend to private actions taken by Renault.

  22. Melanie says:

    I feel like I’m reading the sports version of the Wall Street Journal. It’s like top management looting the company!! I’m so disappointed in Symonds. Hard for me to think he concocted this idea and not Briatore. I hope the Renault employees can rally round something or someone to lead them out of this mess.

  23. Neil Barr says:

    Fascinating. Piquet has no official impediment to participation in any FIA event. Alonso is as pure as the driven snow for as long as the collective hypnosis holds. Symonds isn’t completely guilty, only “in large part” so there’s wiggle room for him to return. Renault has been seen to have punished Flavio but what sanctions does he actually face? Nada. Because he has been found not guilty. So did he lose the war or just a battle? Whatever is collected from Renault will be distributed among voters (minus expenses).

    When you say “interestingly”, James, I sense that there’s so much more that you’d like to share with us. Best keep it academic or the swipe card won’t work, right?

    “It’s the way of the world. Ain’t never gonna change.” (Smokin’ Aces)

  24. adam forrester says:

    James, do you know if the investigators asked Symonds if Alonso was involved ?
    Symonds refused to lie when questioned so only he can provide the definitive answer whereas Alonso has already mislead the investigators by claiming he plays no part in strategy.

    1. James Allen says:

      Good question, that is not clear because the report only has extracts and these were selected by the prosecutors clearly

  25. Rich says:

    I want to question this quote that Alonso is said to have made…

    “Alonso also said that he left strategy decisions to his engineers and that running a short first stint from outside the top ten was merely an attempt to do something different from the cars around him, which is consistent with Pat Symonds’ attitude to race strategy as he’s articulated it to me in the past.”

    The Timesonline has said that after the race Alonso made the following statement…

    “Alonso explained that his early pitstop was his idea”

    and

    “I did think about running a one-stop strategy,” Alonso said, “but all that fuel weight would have been too punishing for the brakes because there are no long straights here to keep them cool. Instead I chose a short, aggressive first stint and just waited to see what would happen.”

    source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/formula_1/article6837681.ece

    They do not match up as statements.

    1. Racing not politics says:

      nice spot Rich – James can you check this out and perhaps ask Alonso to explain the contradiction

      1. Rocky says:

        Where is the contradiction? He said running a short fist stint was merely an attempt to do something different from the cars around him.

        The Times story conveys the same message. He wanted to do a first short stint. The only discrepancy is he stopped on lap 12 rather than lap 15, which the radio conversation clearly shows, Alonso had left the decision to his race engineer during the race.

    2. ARJ says:

      Piquet Jr. at the time suggested he simply lost control of the car. Look how that has turned out.

      It is only obvious that before any race a driver has to know what laps he is going to come in for the pit stops. Alonso’s race engineer could had discussed with him that since the grid position in poor, and all the other cars around him would be fueled heavy to go x lap, it makes sense to try something different and do an aggressive 1st stint. This is a street circuit with a high probability of the SC coming out. They should try to make up as many positions as possible, get the poor tyre for the race out of the way and see what happens. Anyway, they have nothing to lose.

      Just basis this logic, Alonso would have reposed faith in the strategy, concurred with the engineers and got on with his job. He only reiterated this in the press conference.
      Nothing suspicious about it albeit. He added another variable of the brakes to it.

      Most importantly there is no concrete evidence which gives away that Alonso knew about it. NPJ in his statement has not one mentioned anything with regard to Alonso’s involvement on this. The only people who can implicate Alonso in are Pat Symonds and Flavio Briatore, which I think is nigh impossible.

  26. Crid [CridComment @ gmail] says:

    > As we now know, Symonds knew there
    > would be an early safety car

    Help me (I didn’t read about this until 3pm California time)… We don’t *know* that, do we?

    Nobody’s confessed to anything, right? (‘Cept Nelsinho by implication.) Renault has merely announced that they’re not contesting anything, and that Sym & Bri are out.

    I’m not trying to be legalistic. We just don’t know what went down. Until someone makes something stick, accusation-wise, I’d be happy to see Pat and Flavio working next year. (Qadbak, perhaps? Could Flav handle the northern Euro weather in his famous swimsuit?)

    Flavio is a brilliant, brilliant entertainer. I truly believe this. We’re gonna miss him like hell (as long as he’s, y’know, innocent of these charges!).

    I really, really miss Ron Dennis, too. (Dave Ryan not as much.)

    I think it was James (and others) who noted how strange it must be for a Nelsinho (and others) to be out of the sport at such a young age, younger even than players in brutal American football… Retired just about as soon as you’re old enough to buy a beer.

    Maybe this whole nightmare is a consequence of hiring drivers so young that they’re still teething. For whatever reason –and Flavio floated a remarkable one in gossipy conversation over the Monza weekend– Nelsinho never seemed to be enjoying his time in F1. And that hurt! Listen, even if you were a driver doomed to lose your seat, wouldn’t you spend a few minutes smiling at people? Girls on the grid, families in the stands, somebody? Nelsinho never did. His face was always a (handsome, young) grimace of mortality. A suggestion that one crash one’s one car to benefit an obviously more-talented teammate sounds childishly morbid.

    James, I love your blog, love your commenters here, and have come to miss your announcing work terribly.

    1. Glen Slagg says:

      I absolutely agree – the fact that Flav and Pat have gone should not be seen as an indication of their guilt. Given the way that McLaren were treated until (Mosley’s nemesis) Ron Dennis finally agreed to go, they, and Renault, know that the only way to limit the damage is to give Max what he wants.

  27. James H. says:

    Will Alonso’s apparent vindication make him a likely Ferrari driver in 2010? Raikkonen has proven since Masa’s misfortune that given the proper support he is still capable of brilliance, but Ferrari seems to have soured on him. Still, Kimi and Alonso as teammates might be amusing in a perverse sort of way.

  28. Dave P says:

    Here’s a theory.

    Dave Richards seen at Enstone this afternoon. Imagine Renault deciding they have had enough. They decide TODAY to sell the team.. to Dave Richards. Now team ING Renault no longer exists… they say they no longer will contest the charge. They do not have to turn up to the hearing. The FIA do not have ( or have anyone )to punish the team as it does not exist. The 700 jobs are safe. Briatore resigns in disgust.

    Maybe fiction… but watch this space… you heard it first here…

    1. James Allen says:

      Who would Richards have been seeing there? If he was going to take over he’d be meeting the big men in Paris

    2. Dave P says:

      Maybe he was in Paris in the morning, and telling management in the evening…

      It would be the best solution for the staff though if only it were true

  29. Crid [CridComment @ gmail] says:

    > What happens to the blackmail case
    > against the Piquet’s now ?

    Good question. Presumably the lawyers were on Renault’s budget.

    > Why have the FIA offered both
    > prime conspirators immunity?

    GREAT question!

  30. John says:

    James said, “In my view had they fought this and been found guilty they would have been thrown out of F1.”

    I agree. As I said in the earlier blog, I think this may point to Renault not wanting to exit F1.

    Of course, they may still want to exit but not via a FIA ban.

    James, are there any rumblings about this one way or another?

    1. James Allen says:

      Hearing noises that they want to stay

  31. P King says:

    Alonso’s win at Singapore 08 had a lot of consequences for other teams, drivers, trophies and incomes for the teams, gamblers betting on the race, etc. The biggest losers were Massa and Ferrari as Ferrari team got all flustered by the need to call him in for refuelling when pits reopened after the safety car had circulated a few laps. The biggest winners were Hamilton and McLaren.

    As a minimum, Alonso should hand his trophy back, and Renault repay all the money they made in 2008.

    The fixed race also quite likely breached many of the strict Laws in force in Singapore. Will anyone (Renault, Briatore, Symonds, Piquet and Alonso) have to face charges in Singapore for race fixing?

  32. Filipe Viola says:

    Maybe a little bird just told him to use that new fuel strategy……

    I don’t think Renault will receive a ban from the sport, but will eventualy pull out of F1.
    Every manufacturer wants to improve there image worldwide and also sell cars, the “crashgate” is going to be the nail in the coffin.

    btw…the whole “italian mafia” look that Briatore shows has now been confirmed. :)

  33. Antonis says:

    Dear James,

    you have made all these dedicated Alonso-hatters so much unhappy today… they were dreaming of hard punishments and Alonso out of the sport… and now that?!

    He’s innocent!! I feel so really sorry for them…

    Seriously now, why did they select to fix that particular race?? Because it was a street circuit?

    thank you in advance and keep up the good work,
    Antonis

  34. TifosoVero says:

    You can debate whether he knew before the fact. I don’t think you can debate whether he knew after the fact though … half the paddock suspected, even Patrick Head has gone on record that he was told, Massa went to Briatore and flat out said Piquet’s crash was deliberate. So either Alonso lives in a special bubble where he doesn’t hear or see anything OR the fact he was one of the very few people that didn’t question Piquet’s crash even privately indicates he knew all along it was fake

    1. Rocky says:

      Why does Alonso have the ‘need’ to question Piquet’s crash? During or after the race?

      Looks like you’ve a pitchfork for Alonso’s throat.

      Get over it already.

  35. Richard says:

    Briatore and Ecclestone have a shared commercial interest in QPR,, but the Guardian says Ecclestone will sit on the Council meeting that judges Renault… has no one in F1 ever heard of the term ‘conflict of interest’? How can a body exercising quasi-judicial functions get away with things like this?

  36. PaulL says:

    It’s pure speculation, but I wonder if this makes it more likely that either Symonds or Briatore were part of the traction control scandal on the Benetton 1994 car.

  37. Humberto Alberto says:

    Fernando Alonso knew nothing and i believe in Santa Claus.

  38. Tim PArry says:

    POTUS calls this plausible deniability. Love him or hate him – you have to give him credit. He knows how to cover his backside.

  39. Michael P says:

    The bit about Nelson living with an older man and Flav getting involved there (he says at the request of Nelson Sr) is interesting. I have nothing but full respect and acceptance for everyone regardless of orientation, I do wonder though if that were indeed the case, was there something more there in terms of telling tales and Nelson needing to be compliant? Just wondering and are my thoughts alone of course.

  40. Janet says:

    Of course he knew….what are we stupid? I would say he was probably not part of the agreement but he knew something wasn’t right. He is very savvy, I wouldn’t be surprised if he privately reviewed NPJ’s telemetry. But yes James, I don’t think he was part of the conspiracy, but he sure knew he would benefit from it. Just like he did at Maclaren. But in the end, I don’t think he should be punished as he was not part of it. But I can’t help losing a bit of respect fro him.

  41. Rick J says:

    Well James, I for one accept that Alonso knew nothing about the conspiracy ahead of time – although he undoubtedly had his suspicions after the race. “No, NO Fernando, was just coincidence” I can hear Flavio re-assuring him after the fact, even as Alonso sensed otherwise. I think he can rest easy with his conscience, he did nothing untoward in gaining this victory. I reckon Alonso to be a man of considerable personal honour in the tradition of the bullfighter. That was why he felt so betrayed in his dealings with McLaren. From his perspective they had broken unwritten codes of appropriate behaviour. I have considerable respect for his integrity and his skill and am glad to see him exonerated.

    1. AGH2 says:

      oh come on personal honour and integrity
      have you forgotten the little matter of trying to blackmail RD

      1. Rick J says:

        Blackmail is a very easy word to throw around. I emphatically believe Alonso has a code of honour and when he sees that as being betrayed he no doubt struggles to find an appropriate way to react as most of us do. As an Englishman raising teenagers in North America I fully understand that one. The bottom line is he would NEVER cheat.

      2. Surallan says:

        I am convinced that FA didn’t know anything before the race – if only because if the plan worked out, he had to behave normally so that nobody would suspect anything. There are other reasons, some of them the FA haters would support -risk of future blackmailing ala Ferrarigate-, some of them the FA haters would laugh at – FA being too proud of his reputation-.

        However, he must have suspected something after the race like everybody else. If he asked Flavio y/o Nelsinho and they denied it, what could he do? Start his own investigation? or let fate takes it course (which eventually happened)?

        BTW if I were him I would sue Renault for damages. He is a double World champion and does not need to be on the papers for this type of reasons

      3. Michael P says:

        I would sue too and also anyone involved. I would sue everybody on the grid who were cheating. Alonso will not though as he knew things after the fact at a minimum. Please! Remember when the shoe dropped the ball in qually? Every driver knew instantly it was fake. Same here. They all know. Alonso is maybe the best driver and he knew this all afterwards. Every driver knows it and that is why we should tell Alonso we know too.

        cheers

      4. Janet says:

        thank you… I was just about to respond:)

  42. teamworkf1 says:

    FA MUST return his Singapore 2008 trophy!!!
    FA MUST return his Singapore 2008 trophy!!!
    FA MUST return his Singapore 2008 trophy!!!

    And if we think about it, maybe he should return his WC trophies too! .. if you do it once, you can do it twice!

    Of course he knew about it! . . fa is not stupid!

  43. Freeman says:

    A lot have already been said, who the losers are in this mother of all F1 scandal. The fans, teams, sponsors, drivers, and so on.

    One big loser of this scandal that failed to get any mention is the Singapore GP organizers. Though new to this game, they put up a spectacular night race, a challenging circuit and with the best organization and arrangements for race going fans. So they thought they had an eventful and unpredictable race, and a popular winner in Alonso. Now they wake up and see that F1 is a cheating sport and a farce!

    I imagine the government & citizens of Singapore would privately cast negative views on F1 despite trying to put on a brave face in next week’s race. Surely they will not be keen to pay Bernie gadzillion dollars when renewing their contract in the future.

    1. Glen Slagg says:

      I don’t get this line of thought – one team is allegedly found out to have done something naughty and you are saying that:

      “F1 is a cheating sport and a farce!”

      I don’t believe that, and I don’t think that the organisers of the Singapore GP would believe that either. And, to be honest, I wouldn’t think that they care either way, as long as the GP continues to raise the profile of Singapore.

  44. David says:

    Hi James,

    You have mentioned that the result stands and won’t be upturned. Obviously this race had massive implications on the 08 WDC in which Massa was leading until the safety car caused massive confusion and ultimately a pit stop error by Ferrari. The result can only be speculated however would Ferrari or Massa have any recourse to legal action as it could be argued that Piquet’s and Renault’s actions cost him the WDC?

  45. Peter says:

    Briatore and Symonds have done a massive piece of damage limitation here to the extent that Renault will escape a huge ban. They’ve also saved F1 from intense media spotlight as well. Which is good BUT I feel it has left many to dismiss it from under their noses. The fact remains that the three men involved not only conspired to break team order rules and cheat but to put at risk the lives of the driver, fellow drivers, marshalls and the fans. This could so easily have been a manslaughtering charge they were facing and that is why we shouldn’t try to sweep this under the rug. An unforgivable act.

  46. Mercuccio says:

    Alonso is not moving back to Mclaren… The “mothership” will go on without him.

  47. jed says:

    From this article i gather that from the evidence of the FIA, they believe that Pat could be the mastermind of the plan and they are not sure of the involvement of Flav. Why did then the FIA offer immunity to Pat? They (FIA) ran the risk of condemning Flav who may have actually been totally innocent.

    What really is so damning about this case is that the FIA have been leaking too much information that Flav and Pat were tried by publicity, Thus, they quit renault before the proper trial.

    Now it will be difficult to get the real factual story of the incident. All we will have are speculations and conclusions on what happened, as two vital persons in all probability will not be at the hearing as they already quit.

    The FIA miserably failed in the way they handled this case. It is their job to get the truth out, instead they chose a path that will suppress the truth by leaking too much information that should only be brought up in the hearing on the day of the hearing.

    1. zadrav says:

      Briatore cannot be innocent at all. Doesn’t matter whose idea was, fact is that all tree were speaking about deliberate crash before race. So, Briatore knew about it, even if he disagree. And if he desagree, why he let the plan go ahead? Piquet, Symonds and Briatore are not unofficial fellas, equal friends from the local bar. They are NOT equal at all, there’s a strong, clear hierarchy in every F1 team, so was in Renault. Nothing’s gonna happened without top man in hierarchy, Team principal approval. And that’s Briatore.

  48. KNF says:

    Surely Alonso has to leave Renault too, now that something which will further erode his already damaged value has occured(the “bringing into disrepute” clause in a driver contract seems to be quite common)…

  49. C Lin says:

    Haha Alonso is so clean now he can join Ferrari in 2010. lol. Perfect match.

    Were you here last year? Alonso didn’t jump for joy like he did…just raise arms.

  50. Jame Bond says:

    As much as I like James’ blog, this is slightly biased, I have to say.

    “Leaked transcripts put Alonso in the clear on Singapore crash plot.”

    If I am not wrong, Flav was insulting NP after the crash according to the same “leaked transcripts” so does that put him in clear cut? No.

    If they staged it, I don’t believe that anything they say on the radio can be taken too seriously where FIA has access to check it anytime they want.

    In fact, it is logical to make it look like more “real” by saying certain things on the radio.

  51. AlexD says:

    I am 100% certain that Alonso knew about it.

    Piquet sr gave the interview and he said that Alonso would really have to know and he knew it. The thing is with the strategy he chose he would never move up the order more than 3-5 places at best.

    Alonso is not the guy who would never question it – he would question every half a liter and he would make sure that he has the winning strategy.

    I trust he did, he knew that this indeed was the winning strategy for him.

  52. KD says:

    James, A quick question. Is all the hue and cry because of the possible hypothetical disasters that people are predicting? I mean there has been a lot of cheating and lying in F1 sometimes the cheating has been legalized as it cant be policed (like the Traction and launch control devices in the past). Lets for once say Piquet would park his car on the circuit (like MS did in Monaco) which brought out the safety car safely, in which case I dont see it any different from asking Barrichello to move over for MS or DC moving over for Hakinnen in Aus 98. All said and done it was a brilliant idea from Pat Symonds or whoever to win a race and nobody would have found out about it but for Big mouthed Piquets.
    So is it possible that there were a lot of races fixed in the past but no one got to know about it?
    What do you think?

    1. James Allen says:

      Not like this. There has been cheating which has gone undetected, technical things on the cars etc, but I don’t think that there have been many ‘fixes’ like this one.

      1. Joel Heaton says:

        Well, that really depends on how you look at it, right? The only difference between this and other ‘fixes’ (of which there are plenty of examples) is the danger-factor. Piquet and the members of Renault involved endangered the lives of: Piquet, other drivers, spectators and track marshals.

        But the ‘fixing’ part of it, if you look at it separately then it is no different to the manipulation of other results. Examples that I can think of off the top of my head include Jerez ’97, Melbourne ’98, Hockenheim ’99, Malaysia ’99, Austria ’01, Austria ’02, Interlagos ’07, China ’08 and those are just obvious examples that I’ve seen in my own history of F1 viewing.

  53. Drew says:

    James

    Why has noone mentioned the Michael Schumacher incident (unless I have missed it) where he deliberatly ‘crashed’ his car into the Monaco wall during qualifying to ensure pole. Ok, it was not a big smash but it still could of ended worse if other cars piled into the back of him.

    It may not of been spectacular but it was (1) cheating and (2) contained an element of deliberate planning.

    Perhaps Renault will get a 10place grid penalty as punishment? Hope so, would really miss them as a team.

    1. Matt says:

      Hay Drew, Schey didn’t crash his car, he just parked it… also he didn’t have a meeting at the start of qualy and suggest maybe I make it look like I made a mistake and take pole position, this was Schey in the heat of the moment making a quick silly desision that he was rightly punished for. And I’m a big ferrari fan!

    2. Sam says:

      Well, it is a bit like comparing a footballer who dived for a penalty kick and a football team who bribed opposition team’s goal keeper, isn’t it?

      There are loads of things done that went unnoticed. For example, in 2005 Monaco GP, Montaya break tested Ralf and as a result, 3 cars crashed. For a street circuit, it is a hell of a lot more dangerous and violence.

      Ohh Micheal didn’t ‘crash’ it by the way, he stopped. Its different.

      Drivers have to make split second decision when it come to drawing a line between gamesmanship and foul which is totally different to the heads of organization planned to fix a race by asking a driver to crash himself in a cold blooded manner.

    3. rossetto says:

      So Renault should get away with a punishment like having both cars starting from the back of the grid on the next GP. LOL
      If you consider both episodes similar, you must agree with me.

    4. Rocky says:

      The difference being it wasn’t pre-meditated by the team. MS had and always been known to have the killer instict while driving and everyone else could see he deliberated that act in a split second decision after he messed up a corner.

      Not the same thing.

  54. Boy says:

    I believe Alonso didn’t have a clue about it.

    However the question is what would he have done if he had known! He obviously has a high moral conscience (ahem, especially if he is getting beaten by his team mate).

    James, please ask him this question next time you see him.

  55. Bhavesh says:

    It seems so many people are jumping to conclusions about Alonso being involved, mainly due to simmering resentment after the whole spy-gate affair.

    If Alonso was in on it then he has to be the greatest actor alive. Personally I don’t believe it. Of course he wants to win, but not at all costs. Back in 2006 his reaction to the whole schumacher and blocking massa incident said it all, Alonso is in it for the sport.

    The real villains of the piece for me are the Piquets. They come forward now, only because Piquet got sacked, not because it was the right thing to do. I hope we never see them in F1 again.

    Finally James, I thought when the BBC didn’t take you we wouldn’t be hearing too much from you anymore. But you’ve stayed ahead of the game, this is now my number 1 website I visit to get f1 news. Great blog, any chance of releasing post-race podcasts-interviews etc. I’d pay a subscription to download a 30min post race podcast.

  56. richard hughes says:

    Seems to me to be a bit of a witch hunt to get Flav out – and it worked !!

    i find it very had to swallow that Alonso wouldnt have questioned such a strange strategy.

    first he was involved with sending the silver cars down the tubes, now this.

    I wonder what he’ll do to the red cars in 2010 / 11.

  57. Peter Freeman says:

    “Alonso also said that he left strategy decisions to his engineer”

    I simply do not believe this statement.

  58. Baz says:

    Did Alonso know what was going on. Well I think the chances are he did, and that goes for some race engineers as well. I’m not saying Alonso was involved in the conspiracy before the race but he must have thought that something was a bit odd; Alonso is an intelligent person. I certainly don’t believe that the first time he knew anything about it was when the news first broke a few weeks ago. But that’s my opinion. The stewards say they have no evidence to prove he was involved and that’s the point.

  59. Monktonnik says:

    Exactly what I was thinking. I think that from FB’s comments on the radio transcription and the fact he was prepared to go to court suggests that he may not have known

  60. adrian says:

    My personal view is that Alonso knew. This is the least unlikely analysis. There is very limited evidence against him, however, other than what one might infer from his position in the team. Perhaps if he got a good going over in the witness box he might give himself away. Perhaps not. But the position that the stewards have taken is that there is insufficient to justify putting together a case against Alonso.

    What should be emphasised is that this is not a case of Alonso being exonerated on the evidence, simply a case where there has been deemed to be insufficient evidence against him to make it worthwhile trying to implicate him.

    1. adrian says:

      The other point which is worth emphasising is: if Alonso did know, would one expect there to be any evidence available to implicate him? Hardly. Not even Flavio is dumb enough to say as much on the radio during the race. Also Flavio is still Alonso’s manager – no reason for him to dump Alonso in it.

      The one significant point in Alonso’s favour is that Nelsinho Piquet does not allege that Alonso knew and Nelson Piquet does not allege specific knowledge only knowledge imputed from the circumstances. So either Nelsinho still feels some loyalty/bonhomie towards Alonso (unlikely, given what his dad is saying) or, if Alonso knew, Nelsinho never knew that Alonso knew.

  61. Foobar says:

    Doesn’t surprise me a bit.

    Keeping up the proper appearances is better for the economic aspect of the sport, hence Alonso officially knew nothing about the strategy that was designed to get him up there to P1.

    In reality, well…Let’s put it this way:
    Flava Flavio: “Alonso, we have a strategy for you”
    Alonso: “What? Pit that early in street circuit where it’s impossible to overtake!”
    Flavionho: “Yes, our engineers have counted the scenario”
    Alonso: “Well, you know better! I’m just a wet eared rookie who doesn’t know anything about racing!”

    But like I said earlier, it’s all about keeping up appearances.

    Furthermore, this is an indication that Renault will most likely escape with an easy – perhaps moderate – penalty.

  62. Michael Grievson says:

    I think this is far from over. No doubt Renault will go after the three concerned for damages, and rightly so.

  63. jose says:

    He knew something about it. He is one of those drivers who still has the mentality of winning at all costs. So he wouldn’t be against the team fixing a race. It’s my opinion.
    He will be a key player in the next few years, fighting for the championship, against mclaren and hamilton. F1 needs a good fight with big names to put the sport back on track. So it is more convenient to say he knew nothing. And i buy it if they want me to. But please stop this nonesense, and stop the power slump. F1 seems like gp2, with big names.

  64. CarlitosF1 says:

    Let’s not forget some fundamental logical reasons that support the thesis of Alonso knowing nothing about the plot:

    - He is happy enough to try wackily agressive strategies, as his 2008/9 pole positions with a teaspoon of fuel prove. He also may have thought that the possibilities of a safety car were very high in Singapore’s brand new demanding circuit (and in fact we did get another safety car later in the race). The ultra-short first stint and the hopes of overtaking on the track also made sense considering the pace shown by his car during all the weekend. He may have started in the top 5 had his car not refused to move at the start of Q2.

    - Does a twice world champion really need this at all?

    - If indeed Briatore is the master mind of the whole thing, which I frankly believe, he is clever enough to know that Alonso simply DIDN’T EVEN NEED TO KNOW what was going on. Briatore counted on him pushing like hell after the accident and the safety car, and so he did. Ironically, Alonso’s talent and his team’s good form that weekend helped the conspiracy work perfectly. And Briatore knew they would without the need of even telling Alonso what was going on. Simple, really.

  65. Finn says:

    I’m really bored of this whole saga.

    And I’m really bored of the people who can’t stop having a go at Alonso. Tiresome.

    Schumi only got shunted to the back of the grid for Monaco.

    Did Prost and Senna ever get punished at all?

    Just forget about this and write the rules so they don’t encourage stupid things like this to happen.

    Time to move on.

  66. Paul Mc says:

    Looking at Alonso after the race in the weighing area and in the press conference, he commented multiple times about how lucky he was with the safety car. If he was in on it he would have kept his mouth shut about his “luck”

    The Schumi incident in Monaco was completely different. He made a mistake and was punished. Ferrari did not plan this before qualifying that he would crash on purpose, Michael made an error of judgement in trying to unfairly secure a grid slot. A few drivers have made these errors but knowingly planning to fix a race is in a whole different category.

  67. DAN says:

    Hi James, don’t you think it would be interesting to seek Dave Ryan’s opinion on all this? I think that would be interesting and you should give him a call.
    Why not call Nigel Stepney too and Tom Walkinshaw ?
    These guys must feel for Pat Symonds right now I guess.

  68. Racing not politics says:

    If you throw enough mud then some of it will surely stick.

    Alonso should therefore be concerned that his reputation is tarnished from him sitting at the heart of two massive scandals in recent years.

    Good job he’s quick…

  69. Stevie P says:

    Oh what a tangled web they’ve woven…

    I would suggest that after his McLaren experience the last thing Alonso would have wanted was to be involved in another scandal.

    Thus, my feelings are he knew nothing about it, intially.

    I figure his intelligence would have alerted him to something, after the event, possibly in a post race debrief (although I don’t know the detail which such a meeting would go into) or further down the line, perhaps after the season had finished in conversations with friends away from F1.

    These suspicions would have been his own and held in private (or with close confidantes) or perhaps if he spoke to Renault’s management his concerns were played down.

    If he were to come out and say he’d had suspicions… then he would be quizzed as to why he didn’t speak up.

    Maybe all of this will appear in James’s Alonso biography ;-) (I hope you’re working hard to get that particular gig Mr Allen!).

    I wonder how he feels about it all now? Do we know who’s involved in the Singapore Press Conferences yet? I imagine he’s gearing himself up to fend off journalists from around the world with “no comment” (I wonder if this is why Kimi is so quiet? He just wants to race and will leave the “politics” to others).

    Alonso’s reaction pre-podium, where he explicitly refers to the safety car, for me, indicates he was unaware of the plot. He’s too cagey and savvy (as a previous poster states) to give the game away, IF, he was “in on it”.

    The main problem for Alonso, is that his McLaren experience has shown him in a bad light (or at least given him a perception of being ruthless) and thus, in this case, he may be tarred with the same brush as Flav, Pat and the Piquets.

    1. James Allen says:

      Judging from many of the responses to this blog I think that particularly biography would be a hard sell in the UK!

      1. Stevie P says:

        Alonso does seem to divide opinion more than any other driver (well, perhaps excepting Hamilton) and for the majority it’s subjective opinion… and as you’re fully aware we love motor-racing in the UK. So, stop replying to me and get on it!!! lol

        I found your comments (re: your own feelings about hawking around the globe and F1 being WWF on tarmac!) on the latest article touching… it seems that you are as miffed about this as the rest of us!?

      2. Finn says:

        I think you should consider ways to expand the site …. looks like you’re on to a winner here. The site is becoming a brand in terms of F1.

      3. James Allen says:

        Thanks Finn. I have two new developments in the pipeline which will take the site on to the next level. Watch this space

      4. Finn says:

        Watch this space? I visit the site many times each day and read the updates and comments ;-)

        I’m sure the site will go from strength to strength. A real good news F1 story. From commentator to internet phenomenon. One door closes, another opens ;-)

        Feel very happy for you. A real triumph over those people who moaned about you in your ITV days. Shows how foolish they were.

      5. Matt says:

        I would love to see that book… awesome.

      6. Grabyrdy says:

        Not to me it wouldn’t ! But it’s too early – there’s the Ferrari phase to go yet …

    2. DK says:

      I agree with Stevie’s analysis, and one of the posters earlier that Alonso don’t need to know beforehand if it was indeed a conspiracy among 3 ( or even 2 ). Alonso is a talented driver who knows how to seize opportunity when he sees one, regardless of whether the opportunity was natural or engineered.

      I strongly believe he would at least suspected indeed the coincidence was too good to be true. I was there in Singapore last year. I remembered I did joke with my friend after the rece that we should have bet our money on Alonso and jested with the idea that Piquet could have staged the crash to help the other car. Circumstances may have prevented Alonso to either seek the truth or make revelation to the relevant parties. Possibly he just lacked motivation to find out the truth since he was the main beneficiary of the incident.

      I can’t help relate this case to the spygate saga … Why didn’t Alonso report the email when McLaren was summoned to face WMSC the first time, when he already had the emails implicating McLaren at that time? If he is honest, he should have reported this to Ron Dennis earlier to prevent a disastrous second hearing!! Remember what was his motive when the emails came to light back in Hungary?

      Sometimes the desire to win is overwhelming and compromise one’s conscience and judgment …..Schuey has it, so as Lewis and the list goes on.

  70. Suzy says:

    In my opinion he knew about it, but as expected he is cleared, especially if there is no direct evidence against him. Remember Piquet said he knew, and he didn’t lie in anything else, so why would he in this? But of course, it’s nobody’s interest to go after Alonso and punish him. He is a big public magnet after all. So they will leave it at just this. But one has to be noted: there are always a lot of strange things happening around Alonso. See his e-mails with de la Rosa at McLaren too. Yet, he always somehow manages to emerge as “innocent” in everything. Hm……

  71. JohnBt says:

    Alonso: FIA prosecutors satisfied he knew nothing of plot > THANK YOU. Now, waiting for Ferrari to confirm Alonso. After the scandal is over, LET”S TALK RACING.

    1. James Allen says:

      There is plenty of racing on here

  72. Scott Dryden says:

    I disagree with the point about an Alonso biography not selling in the UK. He was voted best driver of 2008 by readers of The Times, so there appears to be a decent level respect for him.

    These kind of debates on the internet always provoke strong, impassioned reactions from both sides. The same was true for Schumacher.

    1. James Allen says:

      Well I sold plenty of biographies of him..

      1. Harveyeight says:

        I see it is not only the terrestial TV channels that are allowing product placement.

  73. Javier says:

    I see a lot of people questioning Alonso because he accepted the strategy that was put before him.
    These peaople need to remember the position Renault were at that time of the year.
    Piquet Jr. had recently been on the podium at Germany with a very unconventional strategy also. These was signature Pat Symonds.
    I even remember that not long after that you (James) did a feature about game theory with Pat where he explains the second place at Germany 2008.
    I think a lot of people on this site need to look in the archive and read that article, because it gives you some insight onto Pat Symonds mind when he strategizes for a race.
    Alonso, knowing how brilliant Pat is just went along with the strategy because he had nothing to lose.
    Remember that succes comes for people who think and do things differently, otherwise most of us would be filthy rich!
    Am I right James?

    1. Patrickl says:

      Yeah, I’d say that “strategy” used for Piquet in Germany (ie come in just when the safety car was about to some out) sure inspired the “brilliant strategy” they used in Singapore.

      1. Xavi says:

        Look, I’m not justifying what these guys did. I think it’s wrong and they should be severely punnished (especially Piquet Jr for not being man enough to stand up toe Flav and Pat, but he has inmunity so I guess he’s free as a bird on this one).
        What I’m trying to do is put myself in Alonso’s position.
        I’m starting 15th in a track where it’s impossible to overtake. My brakes aren’t perfect and there are no long straights to cool them off so I can’t do a one stopper. Everybody around me is probably going for a one stopper or a long first stint on a two stopper.
        Not to long ago my teammate got a podium with a really unconventional strategy, similar to what I’m being offered by a guy who is really respected in the paddock for being a great strategist. Hey, I’ve got nothing to lose so let’s go for it.
        It isn’t that strange if you stop and think about it for a moment and analyze what the situation is.
        That Alonso probably figured out there was something fishy afterwards? Sure, but what could he do? He had no proof and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t keen on commiting professional suicide.
        At least that’s how my train of thought would have been. (But that’s just me)

      2. Patrickl says:

        Just think these two fact through:

        1) “I’m starting 15th in a track where it’s impossible to overtake.”

        2) “Everybody around me is probably going for a one stopper or a long first stint on a two stopper”

        So what happens if Alonso stops early? Well, he gets stuck behind all these people who are 1 stopping and long two stopping. So in effect stopping early is really the worst thing you can do.

        In this case Alonso ended up in P20 close behind Fisichella, Sutil and Bourdais. Fisichella didn’t stop and he stayed in front of Alonso till lap 29.

        Imagine being stuck behind a couple of backmarkers for 17 laps. How on earth would his race result have improved from that?

        Alonso would hav been lucky to have made it back up to P15 again with that completely useless strategy.

        Indeed only a safety car in a small window of a few laps could have saved him and “luckily” it did.

  74. Matt W says:

    I find it very hard to believe that Alonso, as team leader and the main beneficiary of the scandal, knew absolutely nothing of its conception. Flavio, Symonds and Piquet making decisions behind his back, Alonso not questioning what is, on the face of it, an odd strategy? Piquet not saying anything to Alonso after the event? I just don’t see Flavio keeping Alonso out of the loop and am surprised that Alonso won’t at least have to appear before the WMSC for a full explanation under cross examination.

    He witheld his involvement in Spygate until he decided to use it as leverage remember.

    The lack of any recorded conversations through the radio traffic is meaningless.

  75. Meeklo says:

    Still not sure why Alonso is going to Ferrari. I don’t think either Massa or Kimi will stand to play second fiddle to him, and we all know how he feels about drivers getting number one status in a team. Ferrari doesn’t seem right, their Schumacher days are over.

    I have a feeling he’ll turn it into another McLaren fiasco.

    1. Bill Nuttall says:

      For the sake of the viewing public (not that anyone in F1 cares about the public) Alonso should go back to McLaren! The Hamilton/Alonso pairing was easily the most entertaining since Prost/Senna, and made for great races and fantastic spectacle/intrigue/drama/you name it

  76. Robert says:

    Does this mean that the Renault results from this season will be annulled?

    If so does this mean that Rosberg will awarded the win? or will the rule where FIA with hold the right not to promote people despite of DW’s apply?

  77. Bill Nuttall says:

    James, I think your comment about the reaction of Alonso in the green room is the key point – either he’s an actor up there with Orson Welles and Marlon Brando, or he did indeed not know anything about it beforehand. His reaction to winning is just too spontaneous and genuine to be faked.
    BTW It probably won’t happen but the BBC really need to replace Legard – know any good F1 commentators? :)

  78. Marvel Hamilton says:

    Nobody in the F1 world believes Fernando Trickonso knew nothing.

    Some of us strongly continue to believe the idea of making Nelson crash was HIS idea.

    But nobody can last with this cheat forever.

    When the fat clown gets bored of being kicked of the F1 glamour, he will talk. This day Fernando will get his punishment.

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