FIA summons Alonso to appear before the World Council
McLaren
FIA summons Alonso to appear before the World Council
Posted By: James Allen  |  20 Sep 2009   |  12:11 am GMT  |  115 comments

Fernando Alonso, the driver who benefitted most from Nelson Piquet’s deliberate accident in Singapore last year, has been summoned by the FIA to give evidence to the World Council on Monday.

Alono autog
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, former team principal Flavio Briatore has also been summoned, but not Pat Symonds, whom the FIA investigators found to be centrally involved in the conspiracy. Symonds is believed to be on holiday in Spain.

Both men have left the team and Briatore is thus under no compulsion to attend and is unlikely to do so. Whether he does or he doesn’t there is a feeling that he is likely to be banned from attending the pits and paddock at motor races in the future, which would make his life difficult in terms of the driver management company he runs and with GP2, of which he is one of the main architects.

A ban from the FIA might also disqualify him from holding on to the chairmanship of Queens Park Rangers under Football League rules.

As it seeks to get to the bottom of how this situation was allowed to develop, it’s likely that the FIA will look into whether a team principal should be allowed also to be a driver manager, especially of drivers in his team. They may find that the compromising position this put his driver Nelson Piquet Jr in was a contributing factor to the accident plot happening.

Although he delegates much of the responsibility for looking after Mark Webber, Heikki Kovalainen and others, Briatore has a big hand in advising his drivers and a very good eye for a move.

Alonso has no choice but to attend the hearing as the holder of an FIA superlicence. Although the FIA investigators drew the conclusion that he had no knowledge of the plot, the World Council will ask him about it, but Gazzetta suggests that the risk for him is that he will be under pressure to answer questions relating to this and possibly other incidents in the past with the aim of condemning Briatore.

Ferrari has a seat on the World Council and has apparently decided not to attend. It’s a delicate situation for the team, as Luca di Montezemolo would not want to be put in the position of being part of the firing squad against his staunch FOTA ally Briatore.

Meanwhile Spanish motorsport figurehead Carlos Gracia has said that the FIA was wrong to offer Piquet immunity from prosecution, something which the majority of readers of this blog seem to believe,

“This kid, if it was up to me, wouldn’t be allowed to walk blind people on the sidewalk,” Gracia said on Spanish radio. “It’s such yobbish behaviour from which he has also benefited, because, like he says in his sworn statement, he did it so he would get a contract renewal for 2009, and he will be paid until the end of the year. In that case this is a person should not only be sanctioned by the Council and the FIA, but he should also be prosecuted in an ordinary court.

“I found out through the press that Mr Nelsinho was going to get immunity. It would be a total shamelessness if this happened in the FIA.”

Gracia is part of Jean Todt’s ticket for FIA president, he was announced recently as a Vice president for sport.

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1

Sorry, Alonso was in on this and there is photographic proof that he knew. Look at the picture accompanying this posting and you can Fernando being shown a map of the circuit…

2

Glad you saw the joke JR. I guess I should really put a little smiley thing on there.

For the record, I think Fernando knew nothing as Renault are known for their funky strategies on occasion when they have nothing to lose so he probably thought nothing of it before the race. I bet after the event he had his suspicions. If Felipe was charging down the pitlane afterwards, you can bet Fernando smelled a rat as well. However, he had just won the race and every driver on the grid is single-minded so of course he would keep his suspicions to himself.

Anyway, all a moot point now after the WMSC judgement.

3

100% agree. Sure he smelled something out there. I consider him as a clever guy and when you are inside he only had to add 1+1….

Anyhow time has proven this was a really dumb move by whoever was the mastermind of all of this, and I don´t see him involved in planning such a joke ….

Regarding strategies I can easily recall some other similar strange ones at other events in the past, and even this year.

4

A map of Catalunya and in this year’s team gear..? 😉

5

That´s a good try, but that it Barcelona´s circuit map!

I had a good laugh at your post anyhow….

6

What if he voluntarily decided to appear before the Council in order to defend Renault?

(Source: El Mundo)

I don´t see the point on cheating in order to win a race if he just wanted to leave Renault to Ferrari….. moreover, not winning could be even better for him to break his contract with Renault at the end of last year.

Honestly, do you really see a pilot who already won it all, risking to spoil its whole career at F1 just to win a single race (And taking also into account that its move to Ferrari was a closed deal)? Just too twisty, isn´t it?

7

If they can prove alonso knew and went for it, he should be penalized. And i would stop watching the races after 30 years, and concentrate on moto gp. Hamilton would be world champ without competition.

If briatore and simons were able to do this in singapur, it is very likely they use traccion control in the 1994 season. They do not have any credibility after this.

8

wouldn’t it be great to find Alonso “in on it”

who would want him then???

9

I can’t imagine Alonso being involved but at the same time I cant imagine Alonso not working this out for himself. He is a smart driver and if others in the paddock were talking then he would have been at least thinking too.

Hope the FIA dont take him down HAM VS ALO in silver and red cars is what F1 really needs right now.

PS great blog James, keep up the good work.

10

Ferrari not attending … because of Briatore or not to be seen to interfere with Alonso?

11

The FIA have already declared Alonso as innocent. This seems another ploy to ensure Briatore never returns to the paddoc. Of course this will not go down well with the millios of English [mod] who dislike Alonso because he retired Schumacher despite driving a slower car in 2006

12

James,

From reading all the hundreds of post over the last few days, I tend to think you feel Piquet Jnr was the major culprit, and should have not got immunity.

Fair enough…. but even if this is not your view, could you comment on how you feel the comparison between him crashing and the Senna,Prost, Schumacher, crashes ( equally dangerous) compare. It seems none of them have been vilified in the same way, despite them all being world champions with experience.

I just cannot see why he is getting so much flack?

13

I read the leaked FIA report and I just don’t get it. Who stood to gain most from the crash? Alonso? Nope, no chance of winning the championship. Renault? Nope, again no chance of any championship and no great benefit to constructors standings and hence cut for the following year. Piquet? mmmm? If Renault agreed to the deliberate crash but had no significant upside, then why bargain with Piquet and renew the contract? BUT, if Renault didn’t know then the Piquets did it on their own. Now, with a bit of blackmail, there is leverage to continue at Renault and/or force the release of Nelsinho from his management contract and we all know how much the Piquets LOVE Briatore!

So, why the silence from Symonds and the confusion from Briatore when answering FIA questions? And why the sudden resignations of Symonds and Briatore? Well, I guess that if the blackmail is true and Briatore continues with his court case, then anything the FIA uncover would jeapordise that case. By resigning, neither Symonds nor Briatore have to attend any further FIA hearings and would minimise the risk of compromising the bigger case.

Just a thought!

14

Renault as a company didn’t have much to gain, but the F1 team did. Renault were, if I remember correctly, considering pulling the F1 team out at the time…

15

Alonso summoned to hearing, eh…

I think it will be a pointless exercise of ‘I had no idea’, ‘I didn’t know’ and ‘I don’t remember’.

16

I agree.

Unless there is some new evidence on Alonso, he can just deny it for ever and ever.

17

Take a perfectly fresh apple, then leave it on your window sill for several months, preferably those of summer.

The resultant sludge will serve as an adequate indication of how rotten the FIA is.

FOTA should have pushed for the breakaway when it was in their grasp, for nothing has changed. Notwithstanding Mosley’s eventual departure, at the moment we have the same divide & conquer attitudes, personal biases, vendetta-driven crusades, and questionable logic we ever did. I say again; had Mateschitz been in Briatore’s position there is no WAY this would have turned out the same.

Rotten to the core.

18

So Mr Gracia has said that the FIA was wrong to offer Piquet immunity from prosecution…

Hmmm….

Does this mean he would have preferred this to have remained hidden as this would have been the certain result…

And one cannot help but ponder whether he would have felt this way if a certain Spanish driver’s reputation had not been implicated….

And I would have been very surprised if Alonso hadn’t been summoned… he was, after all, one of the main beneficiaries….

Looking at the plan and the result …it was all done to advantage him…as well as Renault…

19

So,one minute the FIA claim Alonso has no involvement and in the next they summon him to the hearing? Hate to be the prophet of doom but i think Mr Alonso could well be without a job by Monday evening.

I doubt the FIA have summoned him just say “hello, how are you?”. As an Alonso fan since his Minardi days i for one am dreading tomorrow now 🙁 Would be a shame if he’s been fingered as being involved in the plot, was looking forward to him being in a championship winning car again grrr.

Nice site Mr Allen, F1 2009 sure is/has kept you busy with all the dirty deeds that’s been going on 😀

20

I woudn’t worry too much, Agent 47. Nothing that’s come out so far has implicated Alonso at all, and the FIA have a history of not punishing drivers very harshly.

If Alonso has lied to the investigators by denying knowledge of the plan (and I don’t think he has), then the FIA cam hardly punish him more severely than they punished Hamilton ealier this year for the same offence.

21

It is important that Alonso be questioned under oath. As for Carlos Gracia, he sounds like the kind of over officious nut case that Formula One needs to avoid, although I did learn a new word, “yobbish.” Thank you, Gracia.

22

” …Luca di Montezemolo would not want to be put in the position of being part of the firing squad against his staunch FOTA ally Briatore.”

James, another way of looking at Ferrari’s absence, if that’s what happens, is, “Why are they not there to support their staunch ally Briatore?”

Sitting on the fence or what?

23

I can’t help thinking back to a post someone from Singapore made a few days ago – is it possible that local race-fixing laws can come to play in all this?

24

They should summon Charlie withing as well, since he knew that the crash was deliberate already on November.

25

James,

I seem to remember last year that Alonso had a rumoured performance clause in his contract that for Renault to keep him for 2009 he had to reach a certain number of points. Is this true?

If so it could support the idea that Alonso is innocent in all of this, and point the finger at Renault which would be desperate to hold on to their result achieving superstar driver and all the sponsership he brings with him.

26

All drivers have performance clauses, the thing is the timing of the deadlines by which time results need to have been achieved. Alonso had a great second half to the season generally after a slow start with a poor car. Singapore and Japan were quite late. Anyway Alonso was talking to other teams, especially Honda, so he must have been free.

27

He might have been free, but you’ll agree that Renault’s late form must have had an influence on his decisions about where to drive in 2009.

28

Renault were allowed to work on their engine, contrary to the original 2008 rules. The rather confusing reasoning was lost on me. The way I read it the other engine manufacturers/suppliers were also allowed to modify their engines but to a more restricted degree.

I read on another F1 site (sorry to be disloyal James) that the Renault unit was regarded as the most powerful on the grid in the latter half of the season. It was one of the main factors in giving us such an exciting finish. It shook up the results. Brilliant!

The assumption was that Piquet would have done very well in Singapore had it not been for his problems in qually. Would possibly have won. Indeed a friend on mine, an Alonso fan, had put money on him (but not much: he might be an Alonso fan, but he’s not totally without discretion) at pretty good odds. He wouldn’t shut up about it. He’ll suffer now, I can tell you.

29

Hi James,

For the past 3 days, I find myself unable to post comments on the blog. At first, I thought it could be a technical glitch with regard to my email address. However, I now find myself unable to post comments with my alternate email address as well.

Is this is a “polite” way of saying I am not going display your comments as a contributor on the blog and your views are not welcome? I know it seems strange but there is no other explanation that seems to justify these events.

Quite honestly, I am avid reader and admirer of this blog and of the intellect of the contributors but if this is really the case and is true, then it is quite sad for someone in your position to do such a thing without even explaining as to why you are doing it. But I really do hope this is not the case.

I am looking forward to a revert from you.

Regards.

30

They have been coming through and have been approved, so no problem this end

31

The biggest risk in this whole event was expecting NPjr to make it past Teflonso’s stop before crashing.

He very nearly didn’t make the start!

32

Looking retrospectively, the spin on the parade lap might have been a “general rehearsal” 🙂

…but than again, as Flav said, he crashed countless times and very often he did it in that fashion of making the rear overtake the front end.

33

This is a complete farce. From the evidence I’ve read (official evidence that is), Symonds is far more central to this thank Briatore who came across as more of a deluded fanboy during the race.

If they ban Briatore and leave Symonds scot-free this will definitely be labelled one of Mosley’s witch-hunts!

Yes the issue of driver management and team management is one that needs to be addressed, but this race fix went beyond that overlap of responsibility.

I also agree that given the evidence, Piquet should also not have been given immunity as his Dad has made clear that his confession would not have been made otherwise, and rightly so from their perspective as Piquet Jnr consented to the race fix and indeed was the central key to it all happening!!

34

Who was the most benefitted driver? I think it was LH, of course unintentionally.

FIA says now is to late to change the results, but what would have happened if they had changed Singapure results at Brazil GP? Massa must feel very uncomfortable.

Piquet Sr. says he told C. Withing at Brazil.

I think the FIA didn’t want to do anything then, it could have had really bad consequences for F1. Much better to wait till now. I think this is liegate. Everybody is lying, even FIA. Of course Alonso did suspect, but what would you have done in his position?

F1 is loosing its credibility. 🙁

35

I am already getting the feeling that this hearing is going to be a complete sham and a waste of everybody’s time.

The vested interests of those sitting on the board are going to ensure that Renault don’t receive an appropriate punishment. A significant conspirator is not in attendance, and the other is also likely not to attend.

On Monday, we are going to be presented with the results of a behind-closed-doors attempt to please 1) Renault 2) The viewing public *in that order*.

This will likely translate into a fine that will shock the public, but not hurt Renault, and probably some sort of suspended race ban, or at worst – a ban for the remaining few races of the season.

On the other hand, if Renault are already planning to leave F1 as is widely mooted, the FIA might throw the book at them, which should miss Renault as they close the door behind them.

There needs to be serious reorganisation of the WMC and the FIA if us fans are to accept and enjoy the results at the end of a race. It brings to mind the intensely frustrating liberal application of fines and penalties to Mclaren last year – and the lack of elation fans felt when they won a race, only to lose it in the Stewards’ Office weeks later.

I’d just like to quickly echo AmandaG’s comments – you are sorely missed in commentary, James. Particularly… how can I say this delicately… “your insight, observation and enthusiasm”?

😉

36

Cabby, surely Symonds has not been summoned as he no longer works in FIA-sanctioned motorsport and therefore the FIA have no compulsion over his attendance.

On the other hand, Briatore is still subject to the FIAs beck and call through his involvement in GP2.

37

Briatore … his staunch FOTA ally?! What the hell? Briatore & Renault DID rob Ferrari & Massa from a drivers world championship! I admire Ferrari’s serenity about this.

I strongly disagree that Nelsinho should be punished as well. He was emotionally & mentally drained by his manager. He was Briatore’s & Pat’s puppet.

By punishing Nelsinho, you are giving the wrong signal to future whistleblowers!

38

Finally, someone said it. Amen brother!

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