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FIA to probe claims against Renault’s Singapore victory
FIA to probe claims against Renault’s Singapore victory
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Aug 2009   |  9:56 pm GMT  |  103 comments

Today we got word that the FIA is going to open an enquiry into the events of the Singapore Grand Prix last season, when Nelson Piquet crashed, bringing out a safety car at precisely the right moment for his team mate Fernando Alonso to take advantage and go on to win the race.

The implication is that Piquet’s accident was deliberately caused in order to affect the result, which would be a contravention of the team orders rule as well as of several sporting and safety rules.

Renault are feeling the long arm of the law in the shape of another FIA disciplinary hearing coming soon after the appeal into their one race ban for allowing an unsafe car to leave the pits in Hungary.

The Singapore enquiry has echoes of the current scandal in the rugby world, where a player was encouraged to feign a blood injury using stage blood in order to leave the pitch and allow a specialist kicker on at a critical point at the end of the match. If the accusation is proven then it could have similar consequences with a possible ban and/or some forced resignations, as happened this year with McLaren after the Melbourne stewards scandal.

After that race in Singapore I remember that the conspiracy theorists, of whom there are many in F1, were straight onto it. It was just too much of a co-incidence to be believable, they said. And then when Nelson Piquet was given a new contract for 2009, when his performances all season had not appeared to deserve it, having been patchy at best, the whole thing seemed to make sense in conspiracy world.

I shall be absolutely fascinated to see what the outcome of this will be and it has potentially huge implications.

The FIA has access to all of the radio traffic, so if a verbal signal was given to Piquet, they would surely have noticed it at the time.

The enquiry has been triggered by “new information” which has recently come to light. The claims were apparently made on Brazilian TV network, Globo. It is not yet known whether Piquet, who described Renault boss Flavio Briatore as his ‘executioner’ following his sacking, has any involvement in the story breaking.

Whether Piquet has felt moved to go to the FIA, in the same way as Alonso and de la Rosa did over the Ferrari spying scandal, time will tell.

There is no doubt however that should there be any proof, this situation offers the opportunity for outgoing FIA president Max Mosley to settle a few scores with Briatore before he leaves office in two months time. Briatore has been in Mosley’s cross-hairs for many years, since writing an open letter of no confidence in the FIA president in 1994.

His role in the recent FOTA breakaway series is also believed to have been a source of irritation.

This weekend has been a difficult one for the Renault team. Alonso had a shot at a podium but lost it after contact at the start damaged a wheel cover which malfunctioned at the pit stop.

And the team dropped to eighth in the constructors’ championship, as BMW moved up ahead of them.

Renault may well be completely blameless in this case, but if they do find themselves on the wrong side of it, they may point to the penalty awarded to Michael Schumacher at Monaco in 2006 when he deliberately blocked the track in order to prevent others from taking away his pole position.

His penalty was nothing more severe than being moved to the back of the grid.

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Word has it Massa complained to Briatore after the race that it was staged and he apparently has some weight behind these allegations which by the way have been raging under the radar since last year.


What interests me is what would happen to Nelson if it was proved, life ban? Points deduction? If they change results retrospectively they logicaly ought to look at 1990 & 1994 (senna & Shumi) cannot see them giving Prost & Hill titles now.


They don't have to change results retrospectively. In 1997 (when Shumi rammed Villeneuve), they simply let all the race results stand and stripped Schumacher of his points. Completely useless penalty of course, but still.


I don't imagine Nelson would get punished, if indeed it was him that went to the FIA.

If this is true, what may well happen in my eyes is similar to what happened with Spygate in 2007, he gets immunity as a result of telling the FIA.

If punishments are forthcoming, I think it will be Renault as a team, and like JA has alluded to, heads could roll like Australia and liegate with Lewis.

James, were there any threats of a suspended sentence when Renault were accused of design swiping in 2007? If so, what is it, and could this trigger it?


Infact it was very obvious. I am a big fan of Alonso but even if the investigations,cleared Renualt, I will still have a strong believe that it is was planned. As it was strange that Alonso starting from 15th with such very low fuel load, It was a losing strategy until Piquet collided just after Alonso pitted.


But then at the same time, Renault were known for daring strategies last year, i.e. filling Piquet until the closing stages of the German GP at Hockenheim. They expected points from that, but not a podium place (just missing out on first).


This is going to be fascinating to watch unfold, if again not the kind of thing that F1 should be in the news for.

The timing of this enquiry after Piquet's resignation is as big a coincidence as the incident itself!

I disagree that the Schumacher/Monaco incident is directly comparable. In that case I believe at worst Michael made a mistake and then took the opportunity to do what he did. It was not a pre-planned tactic from before qualifying.

If guilty, Renault's transgression is far more serious as it would have to be planned before the race. Going into the race with a clear plan to cheat to get the victory makes it a whole different level, and the punishment should fit that difference.


I remember at the time thinking that it was a big coincidence. Again Alonso at the centre of another scandal. I'm sure he'll fit in well at Ferrari!


It's a shame Renault dropped Piquet as he seemed to be doing a reasonable job. Conspiracys will always arise after a sacking, but if Renault are found guilty then a suitable punishment should be sought. But then again do the FIA want to risk them quitting F1 in retaliation?


Heres some footage for those of you with bad memories. I find it hard to believe someone would take 2 corners off a motor in such a dangerous fashion at the behest of the team. I understand the consipiracy theories but if I was Nelson I wouldn't have dropped it like that. Although he wasn't great at going round in circles so whats to say he wasn't equally poor at crashing on purpose. I hope this one isn't true because it would really dirty up the Renault mark and it wouldn't do any good for their chances of making the grid next year.



The danger involved in such a shunt gives new meaning to the quote "Flavio Briatore was my executioner"


It's not really much of a shunt - pretty low speed, just looks a lot worse than it is cos of the concrete walls, similar to Frentzen's low-speed shunt on the opening lap of Monaco '03 that destroyed most of the car but was probably at no more than 60mph. If they did stage it, well done to them, they were clearly looking out for the fans. If thyy hadn't we were headed for Valencia #2.


Looked like a fairly minor crash to me. 🙂


What you have to remember is that if he had just 'parked' it, there may have been no requirement for a safety car. The marshals may have been able to crane it off, or wheel it, under double waved yellows, such as they've done for years when a car stops in Monaco. By crashing like that, the car wasn't so easily retrievable, but also, there was debris all over the track, virtually forcing the need for the safety car.


Hard to imagine that someone would deliberately risk their legs or life for team orders. That was a tremendous shunt. He could have achieved the same thing by just stuffing it into a corner ala Schumi. I hope it is found that this wasn't foul play. If so, good bye Renault and one more lost manufacturer from F1


If Renault is on the wrong side of this, I don't believe they can point to Schumi-gate '06. That was a choice by a lone driver in the heat of the moment. This incident, if it was indeed a conspiracy to win, would have been a premeditated and coordinated abuse of the rules by both drivers and the team managers.


I don't really see the connection between this case and the Schumacher at Monaco ... both bad, but the Renault scenario is surely much worse, with many different implications ... most importantly, asking a driver to risk his life for the sake of a win. It's such an odd situation, but I hope for the sake of the sport that Renault did nothing of the sort. Perhaps, as you say, it is another Mosely witch hunt, with a disgruntled ex-Renault driver there to back him up.


Well, it looked fishy at the time it happened, it cannot be another coincidence that new evidence appears after NPJr has to leave the team, especially after he publicly admitted how bitter he feels about it, so expect Max Mosley at his best at killing off another constructer of high performance engines in style.


I think if proven it will end up with Renault taken out of this years construction championship and being given a big fine ala McLaren in 2007. I suspect this is Piquet Jnr or Snr conspiring together to get their own back on Flav sacking the younger one for his poor performance etc.

I wonder if it will bring a new face to contract negotiations in future and if it will be a cautionary note about sacking a driver mid season etc....

F1 free of in fighting... I doubt it... another chapter in a sorry saga. Who loses out most... the fans of course.


James id disagree its comparable with Schumacher in Monaco '06. I'd argue it lies somewhere beyond that.

If this incident is shown to be staged as alleged then the Renault team were deliberately and callously willing to put their own inexperienced driver at risk in order to win a grand prix.

Even a 'controlled crash' in f1 can't be said to be a 'safe' option. There would be no way for them to assess what kind of risk Piquet was facing as the 'accident' couldn't be practised in advance. If - god forbid - he'd died; it would clearly have been a manslaughter investigation.

Thats without even mentioning the lives of the marshalls cleaning the track or the other drivers who may have run into the wreckage.

In my opinion its essentially equal to a team cutting corners on safety in order to get performance. So for example a team not including seatbelts or ignoring the crashtesting.

I can't claim to know more about F1 than you, but my gut reaction is the allegation is far far more serious than Monaco '06.

Anyway, i enjoy the blog as always!


Actually, Piquet made the same spin during the formation lap.

So in fact he did "practise" the crash.


If this is proved to be true, and that if word is really important to keep in mind, this could be a really big deal for all involved.

This wasn’t just a driver acting on the spur of the moment. This decision would have had to be hatched and agreed to by the whole strategy/engineering team of both drivers.

Just what F1 needs as this championship year heads to an exciting climax…not!


Well they might as well use him for what he's good at...

Opposite Lock (Ken)

The most idiotic thing I have ever heard. Really makes the FIA look stupid to even consider such a thing. I seriously doubt that Nelsinho would be dumb enough to deliberately crash his car to "take one for the team" and allow Alonso to win. There simply are no guarantees that Piquet would walk away unscathed. Opposite Lock, Canton, Ohio, USA


Who in their right mind would agree to crash their own car in to a wall for their team mate? James do you really think teams have this discussion and would have a code word for second drivers!? Seems insane.

Why would a driver risk his own safety, possibly his life, just to help a team mate.

This sounds to me as though somebody in Brazil, possibly claiming to be Piquet, has given this info to the FIA.

If it does however turn out to be real this has serious ramifications. Surely you'd outright ban any team that had that kind of crazy policy?

This new evidence sounds suspect to me rather than the original incident.


So, another conspiracy. Try this: Briatore leaked it so that Renault would depart and he could buy the team for a song. LOL.


Could an FIA investigation into Renault be deemed as sufficient breach of Alonso's contract (agreement not to bring his name into disrepute) to prompt his move to Ferrari for Monza!

Flav's latest comments were a to strong a denial to think it's not happening for me!!


And what about Allen Donnely and Ferrari and THAT cheating?


Just what F1 needs, more dirty washing, dirty politics and dirty headlines. F1 has had a good day today, a real race on a great track with no unnecessary stewards' interventions. Can't have that, so it's the good old FIA to the rescue.

The most likely conspiracy, I suspect, is of a beaten, pretty much discredited and known-to be-vindictive FIA president looking to get even with one of his leading critics and opponents. In doing so, he could also influence a Renault team withdrawal, conveniently following on from Honda and BMW and, he is probably hoping, Toyota, that in turn could lead to not only to fewer teams but a critical lack of engines. The manufacturers, you see, are just so fickle it's a really good job Mosley lined up Cosworth and all those teams nobody in the general media has ever heard of. Job done, he can then self-nominate for beattification (probably in German) and make a fortune renting out his ego as a wind tunnel.

As James has said, the radio traffic should already have been checked but what if the supposed allegations are determined by the FIA to be founded? Sure, the penalty would need to be severe (in the unlikely event of irrefutable evidence, the managers responsible should somehow be banned for life) but what of the 2008 Singapore GP itself? Should the results stand as the season is closed? If not, is Alonso disqualified and Nico Rosberg declared the winner? Or is the event declared null and void on the basis virtually everybody's race was affected by the safety car - in which case Felipe Massa is world champion?

I was in such a good mood until I read this.


I wouldn't put it past Briatore to do something like that. He seems sleezey.

Look at the spying scandal that was swept under the rug after McClaren got busted hugely.

I just don't think he plays by the rules, and in my opinion , the sooner Alonso is away from him the better. I don't think Fernando would like having his name drug through the mire after his bout with McClaren.

And speaking of McClaren, I'd love it if they brought back Kimi. After all that he went through their, I think he is deserving of another crack at the title with them, but only as an equal to Louis. Besides, I'd like to see Louis learn how to party with someone other than puff diddy or what ever he's calling himself this year. Besides, seems like McClaren needs to learn how to have a little fun along with their racing.


If, if, there was a fixed result, it had nothing to do with gambling. No doubt the rags will link this with 'far east betting syndigates' as they doo. Believe me, this was no betting scam...just a crap driver crashing.


Is there any chance of Renault pulling out of F1 if a guilty verdict, along with a probable heavy punishment, is handed down?


I don’t see the point in this conspiracy at all, would they be saying this if Piquet was still Fernando Alonsos team mate? i don’t think so, its generally a load of rubbish and strictly a conspiracy, what can they do though? The safety car changed everything, Alonso won the Race, and of course the Ferrari Pit Blunder which cost Massa the championship. These theories are now being given credence by Brazilian F1 journalist Reginaldo Leme, Leme is very close to Piquet. So I’m pretty sure the Piquets are his sources. In my opinion it’s not true. Renault would simply not allow such a potentially lethal and plain idiotic plan to happen. Not just Renault – any sane individual. enault and Fernando Alonso were well out of the constructors and drivers championship, they had absolutely nothing critical to gain by co-ordinating such a bizarre, homicidal plan at that particular moment, on that particular circuit. Also in these economic times, Manufacturers can't be putting cars in the walls just for the sake of strategy, I wonder how much the damage for Piquets car cost. Utter rubbish in my opinion but hey, Formula 1 Loves a good conspiracy!


I would not put it past Falvio and Alonso at all..... Flav is all about a good show and Alonso is ultra competative.... Renault most likely desperate to keep Alonso went over board....

nothing would change the title but Alonso should lose the win


ps Could this also be a way for Alonso to get out of his Renault deal early? He got nasty with McLaren when he wanted out and cost them a boat load of money when he turned them into the FIA. Can you imagine if he lays waste to Renault as well to get where he wants? This guy is fairly ruthless... as John Lennon says he has "learned to smile as he kills"


Do you think they'd overturn the result or would any potential penalty likely apply to them presently?


Evidence? Short of actual radio records there is nothing that could change the results. Not even a disgruntled engineer agreeing with Piquet Jr. on every word.

Moreover, can you crash a car in a way that is certain to bring out the SC? The SC comes out in about 10% of the crashes, and an even lower percentage if it is a single car crash.

Shame on the FIA for letting this get public. Can't they be discrete in anything? Bring on Ari now!


This has got me thinking, could Renault be getting kicked out of F1. Why have the F.I.A opened up two places on the grid to replace BMW.


Find it strange that you compare this incident to schumacher's monaco incident. Monaco was a case of a individual driver deciding by himself to do something to impede other drivers. Although i agree the punishment should have been more severe! But this seems to be a case of conspiracy /race fixing by the team (also may be due to pressure from Alonso to win races) and a driver cooperating to it!


I really can't see this being deliberate. From what I recall, the car was quite heavily damaged. Surely, had he been requested to 'crash', even Nelsinho could have gently glanced the wall in a slow corner, just bending a steering arm or something?


if this is true then this is a disgusting underhanded tactic from Renualt. I am surprised if someone like Pat Symonds (spl) would have a hand in something a disruputable as this. I am shocked in fact. Flabio is a different animal altogether.

Bending the rules is one thing, being a little sneaky is another... but this kind of thing stinks!

I hope its not true for the sport and if it is, I hope they get nailed!


This is the most detailed insight on this issue anywhere on the Web.

Although I am a big Alonso fan, at end of all of this if Renault are found guilty , I am afraid his reputation as a sportperson will take a very serious beating. He already has a tarnished reputation of seeking favouritism at McLaren and this doesn't help him at all.

And if Piquet really executed the crash at the behest of the team, then he deservedly got the treatment of a second rate at Renault(by his own admission in the CV he publicised after being fired). I don't think he has any future left in the sport until he brings a few million pounds' backing from sponsors to get him a seat in one of the new set-ups.


Please...wouldn't you have to demonstrate that, first, the conspiracy existed and, second, that Alonso was involved in it?....why the first is necessarily linked to Alonso being guilty?...I can see a few Alonso haters salivating with this allegedly conspiracy... and his reputation was not tarnished at Mclaren...he is still considered by many experts and fans as the best f1 driver out there and with a huge fan base...


And I am part of that fan base of Alonso.

I have already mentioned in my comment that this investigation will affect Alonso only if Renault are found guilty of orchestrating the accident which led to the safety car and the consequent victory for Alonso. How will it affect Alonso ? Becuase when strategies are designed, the drivers are part of the process. So , again, if this was really orchestrated, then Alonso would have known about it. Alonso would have known that his team-mate would crash the 2nd car to benefit his (Alonso

)strategy for the race. Crashing Piquet's car alone didn't win Alonso the race, he still drove a magnificent race. But the incident swung the race in Alonso's favour decisively. And this is not sportsmanship. That is unwarranted desire to win at any cost. This will also suggest that Renault have always favoured Alonso, which is still more painful because a driver of Alonso's class doesn't need any help or favouring.

In 2007, Alonso had been targeted by the media as someone who hasn't been able handle the pressure of being at equal status with a rookie and being beaten by him. This was seemingly ratified by uncharacteristic errors he made during the course of the chamionship (starts of Spain and Canada are most fresh in my mind). It was Alonso who, before the Chinese grand prix that year, launched an extraordinarily scathing attack at McLaren for not extending to him the treatment and status he deserved. 2007 saw many insunations against Alonso as someone who was in possesion of confidential data of a rival team and then using it to goad his team pricipal to favour him in the championship race. At times, it is hard to separate facts from fabrications. But reputation encompasses both these aspects. Too many fabrications can force a particular perception to be formed.

His talent and brilliance as a driver are unquestionable. And that is the reason why he is still in demand by top teams, barring one.


James, if it was planned, why would Piquet have had such a big accident? He could have lost it on an easier part of the track and stalled the car, claiming that the anti-stall failed to work. It's one thing to make things look authentic, but the impact was very heavy, and if i'm correct the car caught fire. The FIA have to look at the allegations seriously, but they are going to need a lot more than earsay to prove ths one! As for the comments about it being a 'losing strategy' Renault had to try something different, given the problems of Saturday Qualifying, they simply had nothing to lose.


Could this give the Renault board another reason to withdraw from F1?


If it is true, which I'm not exactly inclined to believe just yet, I doubt Renault would have been so obvious as to tell Piquet over team radio, even perhaps in code form. They would surely have just discussed when to do it in the motorhome on raceday morning.


"they may point to the penalty awarded to Michael Schumacher at Monaco in 2006 when he deliberately blocked the track in order to prevent others from taking away his pole position.

His penalty was nothing more severe than being moved to the back of the grid."

What Michael achieved with that "illegal" move in Monaco 2006 was the pole position. It was taken away from him. What Renault achieved in 2008 Singapore with this move was a victory. So if they point at MS in Monaco 2006, then they should be stripped of the Singapore 2008 win.

IF it gets proven, of course.


if this indeed the case and renault did stage this incident would this have left Massa having more points at the end of the season and perhaps the world chapion



The answer to your question is No. Lewis Hamilton would have won the WDC by 3 points (assuming he had been promoted to 2nd place). Massa finished 13th on the day.


Actually, if there was no accident, Massa most probably would have been first and LH second. Therefore, Massa would have had more points at the end of the season assuming the results for all other races were unchanged. But, if the points results were different in every race following Singapore, i'm sure the strategies would also be different. So, the real answer is WE DON"T KNOW!!!


Peter, You want to tell me that Massa's first pitstop would have ended up the exact same way if there was no crash, Massa and Sutil (i may be mistaken here, but i remember it being Sutil) would have come out at exactly the same position as Massa in the secound stops?? If yes, then I agree with you. But the fact that we are arguing about if's means that WE DONT KNOW!!!!


Safest option would be to scrap the results completely from that race making massa world champion . Simple . And at least all you Hamilton lovers can watch a true champion this year with Button.


Dude Ferrari destroyed Massa's race in the pits with that inherently unsafe release system. AND Massa was penalised for the SECOND unsafe release of the season! There is no way Massa would have won no matter WHAT crash did or did not take place!


No, Hamilton would have increased the points gap.He finished third in Singapore.


Hi James,

All I have to say on this is what complete and utter tosh!

The FIA have the radio traffic, and I doubt anyone would be stupid enough to say over an open channel to deliberately crash to help your team mate.

And who's to say that Piquet would do that anyway, he's a driver of limited talent, who only got one decent result (4th in Japan last year, can't seriously take his 2nd place as anything but a fluke!), and the rumours are that he deliberatly spun into a wall and made it look convincing just don't wash!

It seems to me that Max is trying to take out any one that opposed him over the years, just look at Ron Dennis, and now its Flavio's turn!

It would be interesting to hear other peoples views..


James, do you think that strory can have an effect on Alonso's reputation , again, and his way to Ferrari?


If this is true Alonso will have laid waste to a team again... He left Macca with a HUGE fine as he walked away early and got what he wanted.... Now he could leave Renault for ruin or perhaps out of the sport completely as he moves to Ferrari... There is competative and there is nasty sportsmanship... I think Alonso and Flav are leaning towrds the second


Really Red Kimi? you mean alonso by himself copied Ferrari´s dossier and sunk Mclaren? as to the case with Renault, before we pass judgement, let us see what comes out of it, personally I think it will be nothing, as to stage a crash, specially one potentially life threating to the driver (even one as bad and crash prone as Nelshino) is no small matter.


False information on McLaren spycate and negative attitude towards Alonso comes mostly from British press. In a time when Alonso and Hamilton were not the best buddies. I think same thing was going on in Spanish press and with Hamilton. Times have changed but some peoples attitudes not. I'm an Estonian by the way, so people won't get wrong idea.

You kinda describe Alonso as an massmurderer in this thread with 2 postings, but at the same time not saying anything what has he done wrong.

How can you accuse him for McLaren getting fined? It was McLaren doing wrong using Ferrari car data. So McLaren should be punished as they did, what has Alonso have to do any of this? Should he have lied infront of FIA? Well, McLaren tried that too in Australia this year with Hamilton, didn't work either 🙂 At the end Hamilton also told the truth, it's the right way, the only way.

About current Reno case, I don't believe it, no team boss would order 1 car to crash just to get better result for the second car. Not even Briatore. And no driver would do something like this, crashing heavily into the wall, there's million better ways to make it happen. I would be really really surprised if there's any truth in this story.


Alonso was seemingly perfectly happy to keep a lid on McLaren's use of Ferrari's IP provided Ron could persuade Lewis to slow down a bit.

You could argue that he's both a cheat AND a blackmailer. Damn fine driver, mind.


I can't believe any driver would 'crash' on the say so of the team when there are NO guarantees the other driver would win..... or that they wouldn't injury themselves.... Additionally Piquet was crap and always crashed... sounds like the a bitter father son duo trying to get some sort of revenge... or at least I hope that's what it is.....


I was literally 50 meters away from NP after his crash and he looked very comfortable as if he had done a fine job and he was waving the crowd.

It wasn't that he wasn't fighting for the position or anything so normally you would be embarrassed and worried about losing your seat, wouldn't you?

It appears that he was practicing in this video.


Then he executed it in this video.



Piquet Jr spun during the warm up lap as well.

There's a video of it in Youtube - as well as of his real crash during the race.

I suggest you to look at both of the videos and draw your own conclusions.

My view? They do bear some resemblance both being rear-to-front spins, I'm not ruling out accidentality but 2 similar spins during one race in dry is quite odd, especially as the first one was during the warm up lap.


So what if they did plan it? It transformed what had been up to that point an absolute yawnfest into a thrilling contest. I can guarantee anyone who watched last year's Singapore GP was delighted when the safety car came out as it foreced everyone into the pits and really shook up the order, thus forcing the quickest guys to the back of the field which led to overtaking, which we would have never have got had Piquet not hit the wall. He did the sport, Bernie and most of all the organisers of the Singapore GP a massive favour by shunting. Had he not then it would have been viewed as a massive white elephant, just like Valencia, whereas it is now viewed as a great event. I was praying during the tepid European GP a couple of weeks back that someone would crash and thus bring out the safety car, so fair play to Renault if they did this last year, they were the only ones who thought out of the box in terms of race strategy. Some may aruge it's not in the spirit of the regulations, but F1 is a show first and foremost and a sport second. Would you rather watch a dull processional race such as Valencia '08 (no safety car) or a thrilling, tense, topsy-turvy race, such as the one Nelsinho gave us in Singapore?

James, surely you were glad to see the Safety car come out in Singapore last year after what had been a very dull race up to that point?


"So what if they did plan it?"

How about because it's premeditated cheating of the worst kind, as well as being extremely dangerous?

"Some may argue it’s not in the spirit of the regulations."

It's much more than against the "spirit" of the rules. It's a direct contravention of article 151c of the sporting code:

"the following offence...shall be deemed to be a breach of these rules:

Any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally."


Well I'd hardly say it was extremely dangerous, it was a low-speed shunt off the racing line. What Schummel Schumi did at Austria '00 and Monaco '05 was far more dangerous and dirty. Parking a staionary car on the racing line in the hope to get a race red flagged is much worse. All Renault were doing was invoking a strategy to shuffle the pack and turn a total yawnfest into a decent contest, and good on them for trying. Until we get reverse grids this is the only way to turn processional borefests into thrilling races without the help of rain.

I'd strongly argue that they didn't contavene the sporting code - their acts were anything but prejudicial to the interests of competition as they allowed the likes of Alonso, Rosberg and the red bulls to challenge for the win rather than what was set to be a dull ferrari 1-2. What happened was also massively in the interests of motor sport, as the Singapore GP was turning into a pathetic white elephant but is instead remembered as a great event thanks to the safety car jumbling the field up. If we don't get a safety car at this year's race, I guarantee we'll have a crap race akin to the pathetic 'races' we have seen at Valencia. Thanks Renault for entertaining the fans, who should be the most important people in F1 and are poorly catered for at the moment.


So James G, are you saying you wish Nelson Piquet hadn't hit the wall and we'd have been subjected to a continuation of the putrid yawnfest that was the first 13 laps of a pathetic race? Are you even able to think for yourself or do you just spend your time quoting the FIA? I was saying it wasn't prejudical to the sport as it gave us a great race, which is the most important thing. I couldn't give a toss about the sporting code of F1, it's about entertainment. If the rules have to be stretched to provide great racing then so be it.


You said, "I’d strongly argue that they didn’t contavene the sporting code."

And according to the FIA statement: "The team representatives have been called to answer charges, including a breach of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code".

I'm afraid you fail.


I believe this is normally called banger racing.


Alonso didn't go to the FIA with spy details at McLaren did he? He threatened Ron Dennis that he was prepared to go to the FIA after his Hamilton blocking incident at Hungary in 2007. Surely Alonso doesn't have the right for immunity then?

If found guilty I believe that would be the end of Renualt in f1. With potential withdrawal still hanging over them in the recent recession, this might make a withdrawal certain. Briatore would be given a life ban and Alonso's reputation absolutely shattered.


Why Alonso? Do you think he is given an order to Nelsinho to crash?


There are a few facts that everyone should already be aware of, and they are as follows.

1. Alonso is a bad sportsman.

2. Flavo is a snake.

3. Even though I love formula 1 more than anyone, it is impossible to accept that in this day and age when everything is about money that F1 is the only sport that does not have fixed results. It happens in nearly every other sport and with F1 being the money making giant that it is, why should it be any different.


The betting industry is very sophisticated these days, and any betting scam would be picked up very quickly, especially in a low volume betting market such as F1.

To suggest that Renault would go to such lengths, take such great risks, to win what would only be a modest amount of money, makes no sense. How much would have had to make from betting just to cover the cost of repairs to the car? Hundreds of thousands of dollars probably.

A bet to win that kind of money in F1 would set alarm bells ringing, even if it was a well organised coup by professional gamblers. Believe me, I have worked in the field of F1 gambling for years and struggle to get a bet of a few hundred pounds on! Flavio, Alonso, whomever at Renault, simply won't have the nouce to pull it off even if they wanted to.

Sure some insiders have bets on their team or drivers, and why not,it's betting against their drivers which would be a worry.

Just discount betting from this conspiracy, there was not even a hint of betting irregularities regarding this race.


Hi James,

What you say is true, however, I was not really talking about the Renault situation but rather F1 as a whole.

I would (as a massive fan) like to think that fixing results in whatever manner to be impossible. However, to some degree it surely is done.

The FIA know this and that is why "team orders" were outlawed.

However, I believe it does go a little deeper.


It seems a bit far fetched, but conspiracy theories are great aren't they, we had loads at Spa.

However it is Briatore, and would you buy a used car from him? No me neither. As the chairman of Commercial Development for the FOTA teams, it doesn't shine a positive light on FOTA either.


Difficult one. Mad Max would make the most of this to get at Flav, but the likely consequence is unless this is nailed within days it will send Renault out of F1 - they're in it to get good publicity and sell cars not win races per se, and no way will they stay around if this will drag on for some time. But would the FIA/Bernie run with it unless there was some real evidence, it's not in either of their interests?

IF it's true, as others have said, it's nothing like what MS did - this must have been premeditated, was in the middle of a race, and other drivers/marshals could have been killed. Those responsible should have no role in F1 again, and that includes Alonso if he was part of it.


Apparently, Piquet also put chewing gum in Massa's fuel rig in Singy.

This is so Doh.


Woah, woah, woah, do you you want to have another crack at this paragraph:

"Whether Piquet has felt moved to go to the FIA, in the same way as Alonso and de la Rosa did over the Ferrari spying scandal, time will tell".

I appreciate post-modern historiography now tends to the revisionist, but let's not go over the score, eh? Let's be clear on the basics at least; Ron Dennis went to the FIA, Alonso and PDLR just got sweetheart immunity deals to sing.

Be real interesting if Piquet in team-meetings had a Costanza-style tape recorder in his briefcase, but either way Ghosn just got his out. Ferrari beware, you could be third team in a row to have the roof dropped in on you by the bold Alonso and his obvious distaste for team mate equality.


I have to agree, Alonso was actually very actively involved in the use of the data with Pedro and they actually did NOT blow the whistle. The only reason why they co-operated with the FIA was because their careers were on the line. It's such a shame that even with all that extra advantage giving information, Alonso just barely managed to match a mere rookie in the final analysis. Lewis Hamilton was more of a seasoned and skilled driver through and through in his rookie year alone, than Alonso will ever be his entire life.


Shame if the accident was staged, however, this is a salient part of the sport. Remember in the early nineties when pit crew and mechanics were caught taking photos (after breaking into garage at night) of rival cars a la Nixongate!

If true then Renault should be punished heavily/fined and reprimanded/placed on probation etc. A totally sanitised motor sport F1 may not be achievable unless one wants to elude themselves about eclectic paradigms etc in sport.

Cheating should not be condoned but as seasoned viewers of F1, these things will always happen followed by apprporiate punishment/censorship etc.

Alonso is known for his shenanigans and is a racer to the core. He will find "advantage" where it does not exist and will at times manufacture "advantage" to his benefit. As for Briatore.... enough said. It will be an interesting few weeks.


F1 requires UK health and Safety regulations. The cars go round too fast! They should slow down the cars to 90m p/h! that will eliminate cheating.


Sounds and looks very convincing that it was planned. It also could be coincidental as Piquet Jr. is not an excellent F1 driver with so many mistakes made in the season. If true, Renault will leave and Alonso will never recover after the Mclaren spygate and now this. Alonso haters will certainly want him to be executed and out of F1, cause if he's in Ferrari......wonder if Max is part of this, he's been too quiet for too long, never can trust him, can we???


For sure it seemed even back then, rather dubious; but one quickly pushes such frustrations to the back of their minds and tries to enjoy the rest of the season and remember the great moments. It is such a shame that things like this happen but I strongly believe it has to do with the large amounts of money the circulate in the F1 business and greed soon has an influence in tactics employed by teams like Ferrari and Renault. After all, Briatore cannot deny having given Alonso preferential treatment in the team as he repeatedly claimed it was only right to do so while trying to get Alonso back from McLaren. Briatore and Luca I believe were quite enthusiastic about the F1 break away for a rather sinister reason too, I believe they were more interested in a possible position of power in the new structure and breaking away from the FIA would serve them well and to the detriment of other teams - power struggles and political infighting were inevitable. I hope this case is soon concluded and I am sure Renault have much to answer, I just hope the FIA does not prove to be toothless but can actually hand out a staggering, example making punishment. While I do not wish to see Renault banned, Flavio and Alonso are two individuals the sport will do better without.


i think it's possible that renault enjoyed pique's second place in germany that year so much that they wanted it to happen again so badly that someone came up with the idea and the rest of them thought of the consequences.

pique said flavio didn't know much about f1 and that all he is interested in is manking money and uses his friendship to bernie to help the team so how is it possible that renault would be severely punihsed if they were found guilty.

i don't think max is out to get them either. renault didn't get punished when they did with mclaren's data what mclaren did with ferrari's data so why will they be punished this time?


You have a point there...


Where's the evidence?


Let us just remember that so far there are only two facts: Piquet had a shunt that brought out the safety car (from which Renault ultimately benefited) and new evidence has come to light over this. Everything else, including the source of that evidence, never mind its persuasiveness, is speculative.


even calling it "evidence" is speculative if it only amounts to accusations... which is all we have for now.


as you mention, the consipacy theory is not do to with renaults conduct - it's more about max's mission against flav (it will be subtitled getting rid of F1 team owners i don't like pt.2 in max's autobiography)


like the 40 odd bloggers before me, i would like to offer my 2 cents.

F1, like all multi billion dollar "industries" is full of conspiracies and politics that actually runs the whole show. There are the king makers who set forth and decide the "rules" for all to follow.

Is it coincidental that for the previous 2 years in a row we had the championship so closely contested?

Now on to the matter at hand....

It is completely plausible that such a disgraceful act was perpetrated and executed. does anyone care to remember that Kubica escaped a shunt flying at over 200kmh practically unscathed? What more a mere 140kmh albeit even against concrete walls?

F1 is a sport of precision excellence and the competitive nature of those involved should not be underestimated. it is a game that by the very nature and definition defies all logical thought, a meeting of pushing the boundaries and limits.

The reality is that there is and never will be any equality between drivers much less teams. It is UCP that one driver will be given upgrades before another, to hedge the performance and points possibilities. NB: Alonso has always had preferential treatment even from his Minardi days when his car was far more superior to that of his then teammate Yoong.

Do NOT be misguided nor deluded into thinking otherwise.

As to the actual investigation and possible outcome, it MUST go beyond radio transcripts as anyone with half a brain can easily use innocuous codes.


Thearetically speaking... if you are Nelson and his Dad what would be a good way of getting back at Renault and Flav?

What about feeding a conspiracy theory that has already been voiced so as to spark a huge media interest since there is a bit of a void now Mclaren have stopped shooting themselves in the foot?

And how best to get it fast into the mainstream? Feed it to a journalist!

Sour grapes I think...


Sour grapes... very much likely actually. Who wouldn't want to hit back where it hurts when they have been hard done? To be honest Piquet Jr had too much pressure on his shoulders to produce stunning results in a mess of a car. I do not believe though that he was or is really that skilled as he seems to lack that 'killer instinct' that separates champions from grid place holders.



i don't see Flavio (or anyone) putting someone's life in danger for the sake of a win (drivers fighting on track not included).


True James, but you mustn't forget the almost shocking levels of safety in crash scenarios that those monococks ensure. A mere shunt between concrete barriers where you are more likely to slide along the barriers is quite easily a calculated risk. Not saying Flavio actually did intentionally put anyone's life at risk, I believe he would have been more interested and focused on results.


Motor racing is a very dangerous sport. I used to race myself in saloon cars and open wheel cars and crashes can be very unpredicable in their outcome. If Renault were complicit in asking or telling a driver to deliberately crash then the punishment should be unlimited. The sport is dangerous enough without increased danger. I think Renault should be told to withdraw from ALL motor sport world-wide if found guilty.


I cant help but agree that the punishment needs to be as stern as possible, but if this case proves true then I believe normal civil law should also be applicable by virtue of purposeful endangerment of lives. The Renault corporation should also be penalised but I would not like to see them banned from motorsport globally indefinately - perhaps for 7 years or so would suffice.


Whilst I am by no means a renualt fan ( I hate them with a passion ) I find it hard to believe that someone would crash a race car on purpose, Ive barrel rolled Go Karts so no what a crash feels like and i would like to meet anyone who can steer there car towards a concrete wall on purpose. Even if the team manager orders you to. Its just not mentally possible to do.


Well now that the FIA has officially made the case known and the Renault F1 team has been called to the 'hot seat'... things are about to get real interesting. Max, go get 'em boy!!!


piquet's crash on alonso's pit stop - a coincidence. just a mere coincidence. case closed.....then again,.......


Briatore and Symonds guilty! If they weren't they would have profusely contested their dismissal. Someone should check Alonso's pants - I'm pretty sure he is p**ng himself right because I am willing to bet he actually knew about the scheme even before it took place. Or else how would he have accepted going for such a strangely short first stint from near the back of the grid, under any tactical methods it still makes no sense when considering the gradual spreading of the field as the race progresses. He too should be question as he has time and time again proved how dishonest and spiteful he is. I am shocked that Ferrari even consider him at all - do they REALLY want someone who can ruin their reputation? Toss him out too! He's a sore loser [mod] - give someone more deserving a chance.


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