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Rosberg feels he was cheated of first victory
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Rosberg feels he was cheated of first victory
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Sep 2009   |  2:32 pm GMT  |  75 comments

In the light of the Renault penalties over Singapore, Williams driver Nico Rosberg regrets that Fernando Alonso’s victory cannot be struck from the records, giving him his first race win.

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Rosberg finished second to Alonso, but as we no know, the victory was achieved as a direct result of the team cheating. Had Piquet come clean at the time, or even up to a month after the event, Rosberg might have had his win. But under FIA rules the deadline for changing the result of last year’s Singapore Grand Prix was the end of November. By then Piquet had been confirmed for a second season at Renault and had no intention of giving vent to his conscience.

“Actually, I won the race because the team who finished first cheated., ” said Rosberg on Wednesday. “Now it’s the big Renault scandal. If we had protested, I could’ve won the race last year. But it’s too late now.”

Rosberg is angry at Piquet’s behaviour and the fact that by claiming immunity he got away without any kind of punishment,

“It’s a pity for the sport that something like that has happened. The only thing I don’t understand is that Piquet didn’t get anything. For me, he’s just as involved as the others because he is the one who actually did it and agreed to it.”

Rosberg is still looking for his first win, but has had a strong 2009 season, with consistent points scoring results, mainly in 4th and 5th places. His stock is high at the moment and he may judge that it is time for a move. McLaren and Brawn remain the two possibilities, both with Mercedes backing. If Kimi Raikkonen moves back to McLaren, then Rosberg may well end up at Brawn.

Meanwhile his seat at Williams could go to Rubens Barrichello or Robert Kubica, although the Pole has been speaking about Renault still being a strong option for him.

It looks like Kazuki Nakajima’s seat will be filled by the newly crowned GP2 champion Nico Hulkenberg, with an announcement possibly not too far away.

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75 Comments
  1. Andrew Gee says:

    If I were Rosberg, however, I wouldn’t want to win under those circumstances.

    I can’t remember last year’s race enough, but could Piquet’s crash have helped Rosberg as well?

    1. Chris says:

      Exactly. Rosberg was 2nd because of the saftey car. We’ve just spent the last 3 weeks talking about that saftey car coming out becuase someone crashed delibratley. I don’t see his logic.

      1. Phil says:

        His logic is that you don’t have to imagine what the result would have been had the cheating not occurred – that would be impossible to determine with any certainty and in any event that’s not how it works. You look at what would have happended if the cheating had occurred and was then detected in time for the cheats to be thrown out of the race. In that case, Renault would have been thrown out and Rosberg would have won, QED.

    2. murray says:

      Nico’s saying that the FIA cheated him, not Renault.

  2. Tom says:

    But if Renault hadn’t cheated, he wouldn’t have been in the contention for a win. I guess he needed Piquet to come clean sooner.

  3. Pavel says:

    He was gifted second and not cheated first. Alonso and Rosberg both benefited the crash-gate by opposition to Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton.

  4. john says:

    Ok,but would have Rosberg position been if no cheating was applied by Renault?
    Did he get an advantage from the safety car?

  5. Megan says:

    I assume it has occurred to Nico that if Renault hadn’t cheating he wouldn’t have been in a winning position anyway, and wouldn’t he prefer to win on merit?

  6. Daniel says:

    … but surely without a safety car the entire running order would’ve been different?

  7. JJ says:

    Actually, Rosberg came second because Renault cheated. If there hadn’t been the Piquet crash he wouldn’t have come second would he?

  8. TinyJim says:

    Had Piquet not of faked a crash he wouldn’t have been it the position to finish second in the first place. He wasn’t robbed at all!

    1. Pay The Piper says:

      And hadn’t the stewards taken half the race to issue him his SafetyCar-related drive-through, letting him build a time-gap and track-position, he wouldn’t have finished anywhere near 2nd place either.

      Brawn/Mercedes are hiring him for his passport, clearly not as a logician.

  9. Gary Davidson says:

    I think Williams should give Hulkenberg a seat for the last 2 races of this year to help bed him in for next season.

    1. James Allen says:

      That’s a good idea, but Nakajima’s contract is tied with Toyota

  10. Erik Cramer says:

    Rubens going to Williams makes a lot of sense to me, Hulkenberg could benefit greatly from his experience.

    1. Gary Davidson says:

      That’s a shame, so they drop Nakajima they have no engine?

    2. Chris says:

      Why spend a fortune on Rubens. There is another Brazilian who will probably work for food.

      1. " for sure " says:

        No, less! A hell of a lot less.

    3. Silverstoned says:

      The new Lotus team are looking for experienced drivers of retirement age to help kickstart their outfit.
      That’s got Rubens name all over it.

  11. jose says:

    He is right. he was cheated, but nothing he can do now. He has time to get the first one if he is good enough. He spent a long time at williams, he is planning to get out when the team is getting better. May be is not the right time to move. The champions know when to change teams, we will see if rosberg is one.

  12. Mark says:

    If I remember correctly, Rosberg only managed 2nd because the Stewards took way too long to give him a drive-through for entering the pit lane when closed, allowing him to get much further up the road from the competition with a clear track than he would have managed otherwise.

    1. Martin Collyer says:

      That’s the way I remember it to, Mark.

  13. Michael Grievson says:

    i think Williams need two experienced drivers if it wants to get to the front again. Hiring Hulkenberg could be just as bad as hiring Nakajima

    1. jon clucas says:

      Micheal – just look at the Hulk’s record against Nakajima’s!

      Trust me, he won’t – the guy is dynamite!

  14. Mari says:

    What’s wrong with Nico, surely he knows full well he would not have even got 2nd if the cheating did not happen. Come on Nico, win in your own right, you are good enough to do it.

  15. Ray.C. says:

    Nico has good reason to be angry, as we all have.
    I haven’t seen the race since it happened and can’t remember if “Piquet’s” pace car benefited Rosberg….either way, Alonso shouldn’t have that trophy.
    The biggest relief for me in all this, is that the final points difference between Hamilton and Massa was identical going into Singapore’08.

    1. Martin says:

      Massa fans could argue that without the need to process two cars quickly, the Ferrari mechanics may not have stuffed up and he won the race and gets 10 points to Hamilton’s eight, so Massa get the championship by seven points (which is enough to cover the six point swing at Spa). Combine that with the Hungary engine blow-up and Massa is well ahead. Still if Massa hadn’t spun in Malaysia…

      As the results went, a readjustment would only have favoured Hamilton, so the world championship was never an issue.

  16. Paul says:

    Rosberg only came second last year because he was given to long a period out on the track be-fore he had to serve his 10 second stop and go.

    Rubens to Williams and Rosberg to Brawn, my contact from within Willams tells me!!

  17. Philip says:

    What all the first 8 commenters said.

    We can’t possibly know what would have happened if Piquet had raced properly. 1 example: would Massa’s pitstop still have fouled up? Or not? But there’s not much reason to imagine Rosberg could have won. He wants Renault excluded from results for an act which artificially favoured them – and incidentally him as well.

    I don’t think the FIA should simply delete Alonso’s placing. I would certainly support them voiding the entire race, & excluding all the results from the championship. (Though I agree that that also wouldn’t be fair, because teams and drivers raced the rest of the championship tactically, based on the rankings as they stood at the time).

    This would have the inestimable advantage of saving Rosberg any perception of having benefited from anyone else’s underhand behaviour.

  18. Brace says:

    He should have kept his mouth shut. Without safety car, he wouldn’t have been on the podium at all, let alone win.
    Also, what kind of driver would want his first win to be a result of others suffering from cheating and some others being excluded for cheating.

  19. Kedar says:

    Hi James,
    I wish you would write a post on how some of the driver choices are dictated by “external” forces. We have seen in the past where drivers are just chosen because they bring in sponosors or like Nakajima engines. But why dont the sponsors realize after a couple of races that their choice isnt just right. Esterban Tuero, Touro Takagi, Shinji Nakano, Narain Karthikeyan, Kazuki Nakajima (May be Piquet but he also brings accidents ;-) to the table ) the list is just endless

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks, I’ve made a note of that.

  20. CarlitosF1 says:

    Rosberg clearly is blind to the not-so-incidental fact that, since the NPJ incident turned the whole race inside out, we’ll never know how it could have really ended. Not to mention Ferrari’s hose mess. However, I like how he loathes the whole incident and it would be nice to hear all the grid making a similar statement. Loathable is the mildest way to describe the affaire.

    Speaking of this guy, wasn’t Frank Williams complaining about irregularity in his lap times at some point earlier this season or am I wrong? I wonder if he could consistently squeeze wins out of a better car.

  21. Les says:

    Rosberg got a drive through for pitting under the safety car if I recall – that seems to indicate he may not have been helped by this

    1. Stevie P says:

      Yep, he did (the pit-lane was closed at the time) – however if he hadn’t of pitted, when he did, he’d have run out of fuel on track. I have a feeling that Kubica was in the same position – but I may be wrong.

      There were so many incidents that day, that by the time the stewards gave Rosberg his penalty, he’d built up a big enough gap, to get in n out again without losing many (if any?) places.

      My feelings are that the safety car assisted him, in that it backed the pack up into him… almost everyone then pitted when the pit-lane was open and thus they came out behind him. Whereas at racing speeds it’s unlikely that so many would have been behind; but it’s so difficult to categorically confirm or deny this.

      Perhaps we need to get one of the big teams to run it through a race simulator to work out who would have finished where, without that particular safety car ;-)

    2. monktonnik says:

      I agree with Les.

      Rosberg got a drive through because he had to pit under the safety car caused by NPJ.

      It is fair to say that he may have been in a position to win.

    3. Harveyeight says:

      As mentioned by a number of posters, Rosberg started the race on a similar strategy to Alonso, just a couple of laps extra. He had not choice of when to pit. That said, under last season’s rules most teams pitted their cars with a couple of laps left in the tank to cope with just such an eventuality. Williams, for whatever reason, decided to take a risk.

      It didn’t pay off.

      Further it would have put him at the back of the train and, I reckon, without the safety car intervention, unlikely to make progress.

      We will, of course, never know. And, of course, neither will he. Not that it matters.

  22. Alexis says:

    I think Button and Barrichello will stay at Brawn, with Rosberg off to McLaren.

  23. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    Rosberg is claiming to have won, buy he too would have been a beneficiary of Renault cheating and the safety car coming out, which should not have happened.

    Any number of drivers could claim a potential victory if the safety car had not been deployed on lap 14.

  24. Craigy J says:

    On a related note. Will Williams still look to switch engine suppliers now that the engines are being equalised to a lower spec anyway? Is there still anything to be gained by this, especially with the Renault engine appearing more than a little fragile?

    1. James Allen says:

      I think there are other considerations. They want to make the move

      1. Martin Collyer says:

        What are these “other considerations” James?

        We would all like to know!

  25. Filipe says:

    For those that complain Rosberg would not being in that position without Piquet, remember Barrichello stalled his car one lap after Piquet’s crash and there’s a good shot we would have had the SC anyway just one lap later and even a decent shot that Nico would have come in for his pit before they were closed. One can’t know for sure, but there’s a real possibility that Nico could have won that race straight without Piquet’s crash.

  26. John says:

    As others have pointed out, Rosberg owed his 2nd place finish to the safety car brought on by Piquet’s accident. Better for Nico to just keep mum on this and let it go.

  27. F1 Kitteh says:

    Its a lot of woulda coulda shoulda, I guess the FIA is correct that it doesnt just give Rosberg the win because without the safety car situation he would not have moved up either? Maybe the correct action is just declare no winner and let the rest stand.

    I agree that Rubens and Hulkenberg would be a good combo, lot of info download for the rookie. If Ross Brawn thinks along the same line though he should pair Rubens with Rosberg.

  28. Jason says:

    Any chance that Nakajima will end up at Toyota next year?

  29. Stephen Hill says:

    “Kimi Raikkonen mov[ing] back to McLaren”

    When did this rumour crop up? I was under the impression that he would retire from F1 if replaced by Alonso.

  30. Curro says:

    wow! Rosberg wasn’t definitely as outspoken in today’s press conference…

  31. Harry says:

    If Rubens is being dropped by Brawn, it would seem that he would be in demand by almost anyone besides McLaren and Ferrari, given his form this year.

    Do you know of any rumor connecting him to USF1 or one of the other new teams? At this point would Rubens consider driving for a paycheck and development beneath him at this point in his career?

  32. Simon A says:

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/78817

    The Q&A from the floor at the end of this article indicates that Nico has changed his mind since yesterday James, in all honesty I find it very difficult to believe he would want to be handed the win a year later anyway.

    Q. (Ed Gorman – The Times) Nico, knowing what you now know about what happened here last year, do you consider yourself the rightful winner of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix?

    NR: No, not really. It is way too far back now, so I wouldn’t really be in a position to say that, no.

    The F1 drivers must attend so many interviews answering the same questions. Do you think they get bored and just answer differently for a laugh occasionally? or possibly even forget how they’ve answered previously?

  33. George says:

    Actually I remember the big talking point after the race being the amount of time it took the stewards to give Rosberg his stop and go penalty, even without the Renault scandal if he won there would have been a lot of raised eyebrows.

  34. Dave says:

    It’s a mute point; maybe Rosberg would have gotten his first win he can’t do anything about it now.

    A more important mute point is whether or not Massa would have won his first drivers championship, if Piquet didn’t cheat, Massa was leading at the time and that couple of points would have made all the difference at the end of the season.

  35. Michael says:

    Massa is the one that should feel cheated. He lost out because of a forced pit stop that went wrong. Seeing a train of cars coming in after him… he knew he had to beat everyone out not to lose his position and by going too early he jumped the light. Rosberg was a benefactor of the staged accident so to say he was cheated out of victory makes no sense!

  36. JohnBt says:

    If the crashgate was brought up before 30 Nov ’08 then they can shift the podiums. FIA ruling if I’m not wrong.

  37. Carl M says:

    Not to worry Rosberg, you will win next season at Brawn.

  38. Michael says:

    Whether or not he would have won due to Piquet’s crash he ultimately finished second and the winner cheated. By that he should be given the win for the race!

    I have become quite a big fan of Rosberg this season. He has consistently been finishing in the points, or close to them, with a clearly inferior car.

    1. James Allen says:

      I agree with your point, Michael. Rosberg was harmed by the safety car, not helped. He was forced to pit when the pit lane was closed and got a penalty for it. He is the rightful winner. Do I see a campaign starting, “Give Rosberg his win” ?

      1. piotr says:

        James, It wasn’t safety car that directly gave Rosberg an advantage, but stewards, whom it took more than few laps to finally give him drive through penalty … strangely enough they did not waste that much time to judge it correctly (and without delay) in relation to Kubica’s identical, forced pit-stop. I remember You expressing doubts about it during the race’ live commentary for ITV. But hey, maybe you were asked so many times about it, that you decided to answer differently this time ;)

      2. Arya says:

        But aren’t we forgetting how he got away with serving that penaly so late? In the process they outsmarted Kubica and probaby Lewis as well!

      3. knoxploration says:

        If you ask me James, the rest of the field shouldn’t be touched, but Renault’s result from the race should be expunged. The race should be shown in the record books as having no winner, just results from second place and downwards.

        That would fit in with the FIA’s position on not changing race results retrospectively, and would accurately reflect the fact that everybody lost due to Renault’s cheating. There was no winner in Singapore, only a whole bunch of losers.

      4. PaulL says:

        Of course though, Hamilton and Raikkonen would not have been stuffed by slower cars had the Safety Car not come out. Think about how much time Hamilton lost behind Coulthard for example.
        This allowed Rosberg to build a lead to negate his penalty whilst the stewards had a leisurely coffee and a bit to eat. I believe Rosberg did benefit hugely from the SC.

      5. Michael says:

        I still think it is irrelevant whether he was helped by the SC or not. Look at the big picture of the race result, they are in the record books. Rosberg finished 2nd and the winning car was proven to have a strategy of cheating by the team. The actual incidents in the race become obsolete after that so I think Rosberg should be given the win by the fact he finished 2nd.

        I really wanna see him in a McLaren and I think he deserves the chance.

    2. Red Andy says:

      But Rosberg cheated too during that race. He pitted when the pit lane was closed, and was punished for it.

      Renault cheated, but they have been punished for it as well. So it’s all square.

      1. James Allen says:

        That’s not cheating – it’s called running out of fuel!

      2. PaulL says:

        Alonso himself though didn’t break any regulations.

        We should consider Ian Mill’s (McLaren’s QC) argument in September 07 that the driver should not be punished on account of the team’s actions.
        And then also consider his other argument after Interlagos 07, “the driver may be entirely innocent.. but he has the benefit of the infringing car”.
        Oh actually don’t those two contradict??

      3. Michael says:

        He also was given a penalty, even though it was a bit delayed. Everyone accepts that the situation of closing the pit lane for SC periods didn’t work as shown by the rules being changed due to this race.

  39. Rick J says:

    Something I am really surprised about is how little controversy there has been surrounding Piquet Snr’s claim that he told Charlie Whiting about the Singapore incident at the Brazilian race – yet there was no apparent follow up. Since the Brazilian GP took place on November 2nd there would have been ample time for the 2008 season to have been reviewed before the end of the month.

    Surely all it would have taken would have been a request from the FIA to interview Nelsinho in conjunction with an ongoing enquiry, during which he could have been offered the chance of immunity if he co-operated – or face the consequences if he were later found to be a party to wrong doing. I reckon he would have caved in and capitulated right there and everything we have just gone through would have happened in an appropriate time frame when events could still be corrected.

    To me, this shows an amazing – yet apparently insufficiently newsworthy – level of apathy, indifference or incompetence on the part of the FIA.

    If Renault had been stripped of the Singapore victory, Rosberg would indeed have been awarded the win – obviously to his and Williams delight and financial benefit.

    Similarly if Mosley had got on the ball at that time, he would have significantly strengthened his hold on the FIA presidency – and not now be on his way out the door. No doubt Briatore would still have been gone and with the validity and effectiveness of the FIA clearly established as the rightful, necessary governing body of F1, the whole FOTA breakaway threat might have been stillborn.

    I think Rosberg should be a little ticked off with whoever he pays his Superlicense fees to.

    1. Werewolf says:

      This is a point that’s been puzzling me, too. OK, so the world at its dog were suspicious and many purely circumstantial allegations may have been put to Whiting but surely Piquet Sr’s must have sounded louder alarm bells. I do not understand why any FIA action had to be dependent upon Piquet Jr making a statement and why he (and others) could not have been summoned to stewards. If further suspicion was needed, the number of amateur (but knowledgeable) contributors to this site that spotted his car was on the rev limiter throughout the accident suggests a professional official should have recognised this straightaway.

    2. Martin Collyer says:

      Rick, some of the earlier posts have discussed Piquet snr’s role in this at Brazil last year, but not to the extent that it should have been discussed.

      It’s not clear how much Whiting knew (perhaps there is more detail elsewhere, the Brazilian press for example) or who he passed Piquet snr’s info to. It’s difficult to believe Whiting said nothing to anybody.

      What is clear is that the FIA did nothing.

      It’s also clear that Mosley likes to make vague statements, “The FIA can’t act unless someone brings us hard information”, or words to that effect. This is a nonsense claim by the FIA, when you have circumstances that seemed lucky, to put it mildly, for Renault/Alonso.

      What is wrong with the FIA acting on information received?

      Note to Jake:- I accept the FIA can’t investigate every baseless rumour that comes their way, in this instance there was something worth looking at.

  40. Sander says:

    This is the realy sad thing about the cheating in Singapore last year. Nobody know’s what would have happened if Piquet didn’t crash. With the one point diffrerence at the end between Massa and Hamilton maybe Massa was cheated of his first world championship.

  41. Leslie says:

    I don’t think Rosberg is world champion material.

    And NOBODY knows what would have happened…………

  42. Snowy says:

    A couple of points:

    In recent years we’ve seen Olympic gold medalists admit to cheating, which has led to the IOC stripping them of their medals and reallocating them to the rightful place-getters, in some cases almost a decade after the event. I understand the need to draw a line under appealing the outcome of races at some point but surely in the event of proven outright cheating the FIA can take extraordinary steps to reward the ‘rightful’ place-getters. If not I’d suggest they need to rewrite the rules covering this situation.

    Interstingly, in the event that the results from Singapore 2008 were ‘put right’ it would have very little effect on the final standings in the WDC. The first four drivers would stay in the same positions although with Hamilton two points ahead of Massa rather than one, Heidfeld and Kovalainen would each gain a place (5th & 6th respectively) and Alonso would fall two spots to 7th. Rosberg would gain one place to 12th overall. In the teams’ championship there’d be no change apart from Williams gaining one spot and overtaking Red Bull for 7th place.

    Seems to be no reason to strip Renault of their ill-gotten gains……

  43. Darron says:

    The whole things a complete mess really, you could say Rosberg with hindered and helped by the safety car period.

    If I remember, the stewards took the same time – very long – to announce the penalties for both Rosberg and Kubica, as they were busy investigating the Ferrari pit-slop…..

    Rosberg benefited out of this as he was in the lead, with Fisichella second. Kubica was down the field somewhere.

    Rosberg was able to pull out a good lead before serving his penalty, as Fisichella was being a great mobile chicane. I think Rosberg rejoined after his penalty 2nd, Kubica last but one I think.

    Another strange bit to this is Patrick Head said he was told about the possibility of the race being fixed a couple of days after, so why didn’t he say something to the FIA?

    I’m unsure of what I would want to see, as much as I’m hurting to see Williams win again, I don’t think it would taste well if they were declared the winners of the race.

  44. Jos The Boss says:

    Without Piquet’s Crash Rosberg would have been looking at a couple of points at best, so he should be thankful for the plot, as he would never have had a sniff of the podium without it. On a seperate note, it would be a tragedy if Rubens lost his seat at Brawn, apart from a German passport I don’t see what Nico has that Rubens doesn’t. Rubens is every bit as quick as Nico, and as Jenson himself admits, Rubens is a master at set-up. Rosberg is good, but it’s hard to tell how good as he’s had crap team-mates in every season but his first. THat year, Webber made him look ragged.

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