This is the letter Renault director of engineering, Pat Symonds, wrote to the World Motor Sport Council.
It played a part in the decision to give him only a five year ban, rather than a life ban, because he admitted his part in it, unlike Flavio Briatore.
But two things stand out; he sticks to his line that the idea was Nelson Piquet’s originally and he does not implicate Briatore. He was offered immunity but did not take it, as this letter proves.
“In mitigation I would like to acknowledge my role in this incident. I was the one
who, when the idea was first suggested to me by Nelson Piquet Jr , should have
dismissed it immediately.
“It is to my eternal regret and shame that I did not do so.
“I can only say that I did it out of a misguided devotion to my team and not for any
personal gain whatsoever. I consider the role I have played in bringing the team
to where it is today to be my life’s work. I started the nucleus of the team 28
years ago with only 19 other people. Today it has grown to an organisation that
directly employs over 500 people and supports innumerable local and
“The last thing that I ever wanted to do was to jeopardise that team and the many people to whom I had an overwhelming responsibility. In a single action I have destroyed the high reputation I have built up during a 33 year career in motor sport. I am a competitive person who worked in a high pressure environment. This can, at times, cloud one’s judgement. I have always tried to be an honest person, a fact I hope you will give me credit for by witness of my statements to the stewards in Belgium. On that night in Singapore last year I made a mistake the consequences of which I could never have imagined at the time. For that mistake I can only offer all of you, and all those touched by the action I was involved in, my profound apology.”