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Piquet Senior lobs another hand-grenade into Renault situation
Piquet Senior lobs another hand-grenade into Renault situation
Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Sep 2009   |  5:24 pm GMT  |  168 comments

Nelson Piquet Senior has said that he informed the FIA late last season, that there was something fishy about his son’s crash in Singapore. He alleges that he told FIA race director Charlie Whiting about it a few weeks later at the season finale Brazilian Grand Prix.

Whiting (left) with another ex Brabham man, Herbie Blash (Photo Darren Heath)

Whiting (left) with another ex Brabham man, Herbie Blash (Photo Darren Heath)

According to a leaked transcript of the interview done by a Quest investigator on behalf of the FIA, the three times world champion says that he first learned of the plot,
“I think the next day or maybe two days after the race… I was glad that he didn’t hurt himself..but in the race in Brazil I called Charlie and I told the whole story to Charlie. I got him and said: ‘Look, what could happen to Nelson if I bring this up?’ and I was afraid to screw up the career of Nelson. At the race in Brazil, I called Charlie and I told the whole story to Charlie.”

This does not tally with the version of events I understand from the FIA. They contend that, although there were rumours and insinuations about the incident at the end of last season, they only got involved when Piquet came to them on 26th July 2009 with the information and FIA president Max Mosley asked him to get his son to make a sworn statement, on the basis of which they would launch an enquiry.

This latest development is not helpful from an FIA point of view because it begs the question, if what Piquet says is true, why did they not launch the enquiry last November? And, as with the double diffuser row early this season, it puts Charlie Whiting in an awkward position.

Piquet and Whiting go back a long way, to the Brabham team in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The team was then run by Bernie Ecclestone and Piquet was the driver and Whiting a senior mechanic.

Piquet also alleged that Fernando Alonso was in on the plot, something which Alonso himself denies and for which the FIA investigators can find no evidence.

“Look, if, if you wanna ask me if Alonso knew what was gonna happen, of course he knew. Of course he knew.”

What’s interesting about this is that in their summing up of the case against Renault, leaked yesterday, the FIA stewards conclude that Alonso was not involved. To reach that conclusion they must be discounting Piquet’s suggestion that he was. Piquet has no evidence to back up his claims.

Incidentally, Spanish colleagues I spoke to today say that they put Piquet’s comments to Alonso and he said, “No, I knew nothing of that.”

Alonso has said to investigators that he knew nothing of the alleged plan and has said publicly that he will speak about it only after the world council hearing.

Other drivers I have spoken to lately find it hard to believe that he knew nothing of this and wasn’t at least more inquisitive about why he was being put on such an aggressive strategy with little hope of gain from it.

Other teams I have spoken to say that the whole way the crash plot was originated and executed, with only one person in on it from the strategy/engineering side, would be impossible in their teams. Other operational and race engineers would have to know because the system for evolving strategy is more collective.

In other words, the set up at Renault, with Pat Symonds in a position to decide strategy in advance and dictate operations with no recourse to other junior engineers, was possibly unique in F1, creating the circumstances for something like this to happen.

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I find it hard to believe that, at the very least, Alonso wasn't suspicious of the strategy...I mean, it's not as if he's a novice in F1...however, without evidence to prove he knew there's nothing that can be done.


I have to say that when Alonso was interviewed by he BBC at Monza about his potential involvement his answers were very evasive, almost Symondsesque.


I agree. I think he was "in the loop." Not involved with the planning of it, just knew what was going on. I wouldn't even be surprised if Bernie knew afterwards. If he didn't know, he's not paying attention.


To me the whole thing started off as half truth and innuendo.but the longer it went on it became apparent that Renault( at least the people that matter on the pitwall) were deeply mired in it.

Although Piquet Jnr was accused of all sorts at least his testimony has been consistent.

Dear JA in future lets be contolled in passing judgement while accepting we all human after all.


Everyone keeps referring to Flavio & Pat as being the the "two" bad guys in this whole saga. Let's not forget that there was at least three bad guys involved in this. Nelson is in my opinion, more guilty than the other two. He is the one that actually caused the crash. He is the one who put all those lives at risk. He should NOT have been granted immunity. He should have stood up to "them" at the time, like a man!

The whole business reflects badly on him and will be a blight on his charachter for ever. Having his father fight his battles is just compounding it. I hope for the sake of F1 and all its empoyees & fans that the matter's put to bed on Monday.


But at Bernie so eloquently said, if I told you to rob a bank and you got caught, it would be no defence to say 'Bernie told me to do it'.


All 3 are culpable (who knows if more are!?).

Nelson Jnr should have said 'no'; he didn't. However as a young employee, he follows the lead of his seniors in the team... plus Flavio was his manager; a conflict of interests perhaps?

Besides, if Jnr suggested it, Pat (or even Flav) could have said 'no' too! Surely?

I was taken on by a company as a graduate straight from Uni (admittedly many moons ago now); I was told this and that by my then boss, to sweeten my arrival; none of it happened. Yet, I had to trust (at the time) in those above me and what I was being told. It was a good, yet painful lesson, for me.

Someone (above) refers to young soldiers - which is a very valid point - yet, they have CO's and people above them directing them. They don't go off on some solo berserker run. The forces are held together by the chain of command; it cannot operate any other way.

My feelings are that, many along the paddock could believe this of Flavio. Whereas with Pat I imagine there's a huge amount of disbelief that someone so "respected", could go to such lengths to grab a win. [I always saw Flav as "bad cop"; Pat as "good cop" ;-)]

Nelson Jnr was wrong; we all know that. No-one is letting him off lightly because he's come clean... are they? I hope not... I can't see him driving anywhere else in other series, can you?

This whole incident is a big mess, because it's become a mud-slinging match... he said this; he knew that etc, etc.

I can't forgive any of them, but I can understand how Nelson may have made his decision or been pushed into it. I can even understand how Pat n Flav came to their decisions too... it still doesn't make it right; it's still an utter disgrace!!!

johnpierrer rivera

thank you paul, finally someone is getting to the real point here. why is no one blaming the person that drove the car into the wall. this is disgraceful and he should have his super licence revoked. as far as alonso knowing or being suspicious, even if he did suspect, what is he to do? goto the fia and then it is his word against 3 others. as of today even if he would have done that the fia apparently would have not acted on it. b/c that is exactly what transpired after piquet sr. had his meeting with the fia.


The fact is that if nelson's allegations are true that he together with flav and pat had an agreement for nelson to crash his car, when nelson agreed and proceeded to execute the crash he was a person of sound mind.

He knowingly and willfully agreed with flav and pat to crash his car for motivated by his own selfish reason of wanting to keep his renault drive.

He knows that he is not as good as the other drivers, otherwise he would have said "no" as he will be confident that he could find a drive somewhere else.

He was afraid that if he does not crash his car his seat would be given to someone else, so he needed that ace up his sleeve. By virtue of that ace, he got a new contract. He then was really not up to par that renault had to fire him.

The only conclusion we can draw from nelsons action is that he is a self-serving cheater, who is willing to do anything just to keep his F1 drive even though he is not good enough. he wanted to keep his drive not through merit, but through blackmail.

The FIA really screwed up this one by giving nelson immunity. He should be banned from participating any FIA sanctioned event, even karting.

His career has to end because he is a dangerous person, as he is willing to do anything under the sun to succeed even if he does not have what it takes to succeed.

No top driver would do what nelson did.

desperation is not a valid excuse to cheat and risk lives.


Crimes occur through desperation, greed, stupidity or combinations thereof.


N.P's not a Man. They bring this up after one year, when Jr. was fired. Up to this date it was good, after - you know.


What is this guy 5 years old? He is old enough to know right from wrong.

Hamilton went along with his team too but he had the guts to make a public apology. When did Nelson apologize? His dad has done all the talking. IF he is old enough to drive a car 300 km/hour for a race, then he is old enough to know when it is wrong lie.

The one thing I don't think is in dispute from Flavio's word, is it's pretty clear Nelson Jr. is just a spoiled fragile brat.


Here's the thing....he is just a young boy. A boy who deperately wanted to keep his F1 ride. The pressure on him must have been intense. I'm not making excuses for what he did but you must realize the pressure this young man must have been under. he will most likely never drive an F1 car again. Isn't that punishment enough?


Young boy? I'm 20 and I know when to say no. He's 24 - 23 when the incident occurred - he should've known better than that.

Flavio Briatore can be a nasty piece of work and the way he allegedly treated Nelson (threatening to sack him with 15 mins until the race etc) was quite disgusting but I can't for one minute believe that this guy had no option but to say yes.

Opposite Lock (Ken)

Nelson's excuse is that he was emotionally fragile at the time. Funny, we put weapons in the hands of 18 year-olds and expect them to act responsibly in far more stressful situations and hold them accountable if they don't. It doesn't wash that we should let Jr. off the hook because he was young and under a lot of stress.


That is a very valid point, thanks for that


@ Janet

"he will most likely never drive an F1 car again. Isn’t that punishment enough?"

Theres a homicide...Killer goes to police and tells, I can tell you who ordered it and gets immunity for that. Then police asks questions from person who ordered the murder, but they think it's not he who they are after but his boss, so he also gets immunity. At the end of the day we have a killer and a person who ordered the murder walking free with their immunities and the boss, who's involvement in this case we don't even know. The killer will most likely never kill again. Isn't that punishment enough?

That's no punishment - it's reality. Even without this incident, who would actually take him next year? Most probably nobody. He's not a material of F1, now we also got a proof of it.


ok fair enough...but I would not necessarily compare it to murder!

Point taken...I guess he (NPJ) should know better, I just can't help feeling sorry for him. After all, his manager was supposed to have his best interest at heart, but obviously that was not the case.

But I can appreciate your and others view on this!


Driving in F1, son of..., and can't handle pressure? This young man is trained for years, to be the best and to beat the best. If a driver can't handle huge pressure he/she doesnt belong in F!!


The FIA looking more and more incompetent by the minute. If they had investigated last year, then the race result and the championships might have been different. Was it convenient for the FIA to turn a bind eye a the time?

If drivers and teams have been "cheated" of points and prize money by the FIA's incompetence/lack of prudent action, can they make a claim against the FIA?

I would love to see Max and his cronies personally hit with a $100 million fine. They really are the biggest problem in all of the various F1 shenanigans.

Renault faked a crash.

Did the FIA fake a whole season?

Did they let a driver who had admitted to dangerous driving continue to race ... with the potential that he might cause another accident at any moment?

Did the FIA, in doing nothing to check the allegations, put other drivers at continual risk from Piquet and Renault?

Utterly shameful.

The FIA should be thrown out of F1.



Had the FIA removed Renault from the results at Singapore Hamilton would have got two more points, moving up from thrid to second.

This means that he wouldn't have needed to make his last corner pass at Interlagos, thus depriving us of perhaps the greatest ever finish to an F1 season.

Massa at Singapore, if you recall, drove down the pitlane with his fuel hose attached, was given a drive through for unsafe release and spun on the track (taking out a Force India). I do not think one can argue therefore that it affected his Championship. In fact he gained two points from Renault's cheating! (The two points that Hamilton lost).


The FIA MIGHT (quite reasonably for the sake of all the drivers) have decided to "stop" the race at the point at which it was fixed and awarded half points.

That would have changed the WDC.


The results of the World Championship is frozen at the end of November each year and cannot be changed. This is the FIA's own rule.

Nothing that happens today will affect last year's Championship. Nor should it.


The FIA knew about this last year, as did FOM. They chose to sweep it all under the carpet.

But this all occurred back when Flavio still had the protection of the FIA/FOM commercial establishment.

They were all banking on young Piquet to keep schtum, calculating that he would not sacrifice any hope of a top-level racing career. I guess they misread precisely how much resentment can acrete after two years of Flav bullying.

Ironically the original FIA/Whiting conclusion was probably correct, without a smoking gun, even with Nelson singing his head-off, the case was always going to struggle.

Hence the necessity to find Renault guilty in the court of public opinion, a relentless and unprecedented campaign of leaks, with immunities being handed-out like toffees. Drive home a "no-contest" before any of this sees the inside of a court.

Just saying, the contrast is interesting, nothing changed in Piquet's telling of the story from Brazil to Hungary, but the reaction, to go from ignoring it, to throwing due-process out the window, quite an illuminating turn-around.

The only thing that surprises me is that anyone would expect it to operate any differently.

The administration is concerned about sporting integrity and concepts like fairplay only, only when it collides with self-serving political advantage and commercial gain. That has surely been clear for years.

Bear that in mind as they start to lay it on heavy in their Press Releases next week.

Ari needs to clean shop - which I guess is exactly the reason why he'll struggle to find the votes ... the accusation was that the FIA was bent, not stupid.


I will be the first to admit that the FIA is not perfect, far from it, but I am always surprised why everyone is so eager to blame and accuse the FIA of being incompetent and conspiring to control events. I think we need to take a balanced opinion here.

Although it is clear the FIA 'knew' of this last year, we have to take into account how this knowledge was acquired. As far as we can tell it was not an official notification to the FIA of wrong doing, it appears to be NP Snr having an informal chat with an old 'buddy', Charlie Whiting. Putting yourself into Snr's shoes, he has found out what has happened and is outraged and being protective of his son (what Dad wouldn't be?) and wanted to find out 'off the record' what would happen to Jr if he said anything.

Therefore, the FIA did not officially know about it but Charlie advised Snr (I think he may have had a chat to Max about it first) that without someone coming forward and giving evidence, e.g Jr making a statement, nothing could be done. All the FIA had was Snr's unofficial comment, which is a third hand and emotional account of what happened. The FIA can't be expected to investigate every rumour or negative comment they receive, that would be ridiculous,

As for the leaks, people are just speculating these came from the FIA and could have come from quite a large number of other sources: the Piquets, FIA Advisors, investigation agency Quest and even, although unlikely, Renault. What real advantage does the FIA get from leaking the documents? Renault already had all the evidence sent to them by the FIA and would have asked Briatore and Symonds to leave anyway I am sure, rather than contest the charges.

Also, what political advantage does the FIA get here? Max is already on his way out. What commercial gain does the FOM get from the punishment of Renault?

The whole affair is damaging to the sport and I am sure the FIA and FOM would rather it never happened. However, once they were officially and formally notified of the incident, they acted in a proper and responsible way. Note: I am giving them the benefit of the doubt on the leaks here.


"The administration is concerned about sporting integrity and concepts like fair play only, only when it collides with self-serving political advantage and commercial gain."

Applause! Author! Surgical strike to the heart of F1's governance and motivation since ... before Bernie? Ari, here is your speechwriter. I shall quote you, Pay The Piper, with credit, from this day forward.

Opposite Lock (Ken)



Say on brother!


This is a very interesting evolution. What Piquet is stating lately can completely change the way people see the sport. Top Management from CVC Capital is interested in money from F1 - they just need to see whether people would still be interested to pay for the sport that they cannot trust.

If Charlie knew and did not say anything, than people might start thinking about DDs and many other things.


Nelson Sr must have known his car was using illegal fuel back in 1983... and his Brabham colleagues too. They were not punished.

Who is he to point the finger at Fernando with no proof ?


Good point about Snr's own 'cheating'.

Many people commenting on this blog have also pointed the finger at Alonso with no proof.


No proof YET Jake, it's hardly surprising that folks are suspicios of Alonso's knowledge/lack of knowledge of this scheme.

FIA say there is no evidence that Alonso had any knowledge, but have the FIA released all of Quest's findings? Do they have to release all of Quest's findings at any stage? Who pays Quest?

And please don't accuse me of being paranoid about the FIA. It's clear that plenty of folks are highly suspicious of the FIA's methods and motives, and it's not difficult to see why, especially now we hear that Whiting heard about this scheme last year.

Has Whiting confirmed/denied this yet?

Have Quest asked him?


I too am suspicious of Alonso and now that he has been called before the World Council, I will very be interested to hear what his testimony reveals. I wonder if he will be given immunity too like Piquet Jr and like when he got it during the McLaren spygate saga.

As Quest are paid by the FIA I doubt they would reveal any incompetence by their employers as firstly it would not be part of their brief and they would likely not get any further contracts from the FIA. This, however, does not mean the FIA were incompetent here, just that their brief is to gather evidence on whether Renault deliberately planned and carried out the deliberate crash. Whether Piquet Sr told the FIA last year or this year will be irrelevant to them.

I really hope we do get to see all the evidence as it will help end all our endless speculation.

I won't say you are being paranoid 🙂 However, I know I am in the minority of people who read this blog and do not believe the FIA is as corrupt and poorly run as others. I am always a bit suspicious of comments posted that lead so quickly into the FIA is rubbish.

In this instance I believe, given the facts we know at the moment, FIA have acted in a proper and responsible way. I think we need to focus more on Renault, Briatore, Symonds, Piquet Jr and possibly more who have most definitely conspired together to cheat in a way that endangered lives and has damaged the integrity of the sport.




Good one, Dan!


Just a point to note when speaking about alonso and why he agreed on such strategy.

The race strategy is set after the qualifiers (I dont know exactly but I think the teams have to decide upon the fuel load in about 3 hours after the end of the qualifiers)

so the aggressive strategy was set before the crash plot was decided. May be it evolved later.


It doesn't make sense. The crash strategy did not come to their minds just 5 min before the race and it should have involved many people to execute it with such perfection.


What is Piquet Sr. trying to do, get everyone thrown out? Enough already, damage is done. Get over the fact that Piquet Jr. is not any good. He had to crash his car to get an extension, embarrassing. The more Piquet Sr. talks the more pathetic he looks.


I completely agree!

Crid [CridComment @ gmail]

> "Look, if, if you wanna ask me if Alonso

> knew what was gonna happen, of course

> he knew. Of course he knew."

That a perfect, polished pearl of the stupidity people are bringing to Formula One in this crisis. 'The reason I think it's true is that I think it's true.' Yeah, but why? 'Because I think it's true!'

It shows how all the stuffy righteousness about integrity and sportsmanship is so misplaced. This is a business. One that side of the pitwall it's about contracts and the trust these businessmen have in each other. On this side of the pitwall it's about spectacle and handsome young men in loud, luridly-painted cars. This is not about some clean administrative process from law or medicine or science.

If Nelsonho sat on secret knowledge of a plan to deliberately crash for even 20 minutes, he deserves the full punishment the sport can bring to him... And maybe jail.

Imagine if a Massa-sized part had flown off his car, over the barrier, and hit a schoolteacher on the forehead. He we wasn't going as fast as Massa, either, but neither were the fans in the stands wearing $10,000 helmets.

You want justice? Allright, then, let's DO this.


handsome young men? Are you sure? 😉

Crid [CridComment @ gmail]

Thanks Finn, I've enjoyed your comments as well. Write to me and let me know when and where you post things.


> That a perfect, polished pearl of

> the stupidity people are bringing

> to Formula One in this crisis.

> ‘The reason I think it’s true is

> that I think it’s true.’ Yeah, but

> why? ‘Because I think it’s true!’

Mathematicians call this "proof by assumption". It is - sadly - very, very common in society as a whole, nowadays at least.


There's no single part on an F1 car as big as Massa.


Apart from Massa himself ...


maybe he meant Nelson hes about the same size


What gets me is imagine how guilty you would feel if you plotted this and a marshal died trying to recover the car??

I cant believe they did it.

Crid [CridComment @ gmail]

As for you, Mr. Smartypants Hughes, why don't you go build an http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hughes_H-4_Hercules" rel="nofollow">airplane out of wood or something?


Been there, done that.


*Stands up and applauds*


So Piquet père wasn't at the race in Singapore. (Is that in fact correct James ?) He learnt about it a day or two after the race, presumably from Junior. And suddenly he knew all about it and could tell Charlie "the whole story". Hmmm.


James you should copy the whole interview,he was glad his son was not injured but he was NOT glad at all with what he did.

Also he said that if a driver carries fuel for only 12 laps he would ask questions to find out why the team decided to run that strategy(which makes sense) specially if the driver is a smart one like Alonso.

I said it before,if Nelson Sr opens his mouth it will be nasty,let's see how far this will go.


Just ask Roseanne Mansell!



Yesterday I was reading the radio transcript on Autosport's site and their strategy programme was down and Symonds was the only one to manage their strategy during the race. Could it explain why he was able to get away with cheating without alerting the rest of the team?

Opposite Lock (Ken)

Pat Symonds is/was notorious and highly regarded for throwing the dice and trying very different, out-of-sync refueling strategies. It is quite conceivable that the team and Alonso thought he was going for something different because of the low grid position. In this case, I give Alonso and the rest of the team the benefit of a doubt. It was most likely kept between the three conspirators.


Unless, of course, you're suggesting that Symonds deliberately sabotaged the strategy system (the transcripts suggest it is a client-server system more than a single thing)? That way he would be free to control things as he wished.


Yeah, I thought about that. But damn, I always thought Symonds was one of the good guys.


Piquet Snr was a spiteful, unpleasant person (publicly at least!) for much of his F1 career, and surely there is little he says now, on the record, that can be taken as 100% truth, especially when he attacks another driver. In a case like this, where it is always going to be someone’s word against someone else’s, he can basically come up with whatever he like. He's going to milk this as much as he can, get all his sound-bites in the media, because after Monday 21st the chances of the Piquet name appearing in top-level motorsport ever again must be close to zero.

I was just reading through Piquet Jnr’s “You Ask the Questions” interview in F1 Racing magazine from April of this year - it’s clear he has issues with Alonso and the team in general – then towards the end there is an interesting question sent in by a reader:

Q. People say you crashed deliberately in Singapore. Was it team strategy?

A. (Laughs) Yeah, I wanted to try and kill myself to help Fernando get a podium. I was pushing hard and I spun. The team called Fernando in at the right moment. Shit happens for me and he gets lucky. (…)

Not that you would have expected him to say anything else, but it was interesting to see that none the less.

Point being, they obviously have issues with the way Alonso was (quite rightly) treated by the team, and while the full truth behind this incident will probably never come out, it is safe to say that anything the Piquets have to say regarding what Fernando knew or didn't know isn't really worth listening to.

Roger Carballo AKA Architrion

What it seems right now is that there is a campaign to make Alonso the bud guy in this film, while we keep the true villains as some kind of tibethan monks. I think there's one thing clear here. Nelson Piquet jr did what he did because it was good for him. He didn't do it to help Alonso, nor the team, Symonds or Briatore. Don't matter if it was his idea or Renault's. Although he could choose, he made it happen. So, he is the bud guy, nor Alonso.

And now, Nelson Piquet senior was last season side by side with his son, every race. If I have to imagine theories.... I could be 100% sure that he knew what his son was going to do. And, maybe with a little effort, knowing how maquiavelic the guy was when he was riding the Brabhams and the Williams, there could be a 95% that, at the end, all this stuff have come from his twisted mind. Nelson Piquet senior has all what it takes to make it happen. Don't you believe?


I don't think Snr was there much of 2008, but has been a lot since Singapore last year. Now we know why.


No he wasn't there much, actually. And maybe that was part of the problem

Roger Carballo AKA Architrion

I've read that he wasn't there this year, but last season he was on every race....

Roger Carballo AKA Architrion

Or was the opposite?


How can Piquet Snr know whether Alonso was in on the scam if he himself wasn't aware of it until 2 days after it happened???

As for Symmonds managing the situation without anyone else in the team realising - I understand their strategy simulator was broken during the GP, could this not have helped Symonds dictate strategy? Of course that would suggest he also sabotaged their own computers too!

Crid [CridComment @ gmail]

Good Point, Mr Cameron—

> How can Piquet Snr know whether Alonso

> was in on the scam if he himself wasn’t

> aware of it until 2 days after

> it happened???

But remember Nelson Snr's reasoning, his delicate application of logic, his insistent tick-tock of cause-and-effect in a chain of evidence: "...of course he knew. Of course he knew."


The FIA is looking worse and worse. The driver's father tells you that his son crashed his car on purpose and is worried about the repercussions on the kid's driving career and that WAS NOT ENOUGH to go on and investigate???? I mean McLaren did not make a sworn statement of guilt before Spygate and they wre investigated heavily. WHAT BS!!

James, what is the really story with this investigation? Did they not proceed with an investigation last year because Mosley was trying to ram his new rules down everyone's throat and didn't want the controversary to get in the way? and now that he is not running for President anymore he does not care about how this will affect the public's view of the sport and just wants to get back at Briatore?


I think the notification to Charlie Whiting last year was not an official one and more off the record. I don't think that was enough for them to act upon and gave Snr the advice of what he or Jr should do if they did want to make it official. I don't see anything wrong in that.


Jake, this 'on the record'/'off the record' stuff stinks. Whiting either knew about the crash plan last year or he didn't.

When are we going to be told what Whiting knew and when? When are Quest going to ask him?

It's not good enough to claim that Whiting and Piquet snr are old friends from the Brabham days.

Piquet snr might be outside the FIA's jurisdiction, Whiting isn't.


I'm not sure. It certainly puts them on the spot; did Charlie Whiting know about it in November? Or is Piquet making mischief? Remember that he is not subject to their jurisdiction, they have no hold over him as he's outside the sport


But, James, Piquet Snr is still involved with GP2, isn't he? In fact, he recently changed his team's name to "Piquet GP", suggesting he might have loftier ambitions.

In any case, although GP2 is not an FIA-run championship, it runs at the F1 meetings and so on. AFAIUI, the FIA can take action under the F1 code against anybody it likes; it is merely limited in its application of sanctions, if you see what I mean. The FIA could, I suspect, take action against Piquet Snr, and make it effectively impossible for him to operate in GP2.

Whether they want to go there is another matter...


I am positive that within a year or two Piquet GP will be in F1.

They may even have a deal in place that contributed to NPJ's decision to spill the beans.

Why else would he have 'cut off his nose to spite his face?'


Dear James,

Another thinking out of the box...

Max Mosley have been saying all year that some manufacturers may still go from F1 at years end or maybe earlier and most pundits saw this from the recesion point of view. Now that Piquet senior is saying he talked about the crash fraud with CW, it is possible that Mr. Mosley know this situation since last year and he waited until now to play his cards get rid of Briatore even if that means Renault walking out of the sport?

I know it´s a bit of extreme, but F1 is F1 and anything is possible...


Thank you James. As always great editorials! I still think Alonso knew, maybe not initially but he would have suspected. However, in his defense what could he have done? Blow the whistle on his team and his manager? I would imagine that he would have been stuck between a rock and a hard place.


I agree on both your comment and James's editorials! It is easy to suspect Alonso would know something was up, but I don't think you could expect him to do something about it.

However, him being associated with this and being definitely aware of the Ferrari info whilst at McLaren (where he got immunity, like Jr) does not help his reputation.


I wouldn't be surprised if Alonso was involved, all the great champions of F1 do whatever it takes to win, just look at Senna, Prost, and Schumacher


Dear Steve,

Your comment is like Piquet Sr. saying:

> “Look, if, if you wanna ask me if Alonso

> knew what was gonna happen, of course

> he knew. Of course he knew.”


Oh dear oh dear. It looks like this is running deeper than anyone thought if it turns out Charlie Whiting knew about it and kept quiet!

This certainly isn't some orchistrated WWE match, this is turning into a proper 24 style cliff hanger, and I for one can't wait to hear what happens in the next episode!!!!


french magazine Auto Hebdo (AH) ran a similar story this week. They further refer to talks piquet senior had with Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone during the Brazilian GP. According to AH Mosley said that the FIA coule not do anything as long as no one was willing to give an official testimony. Ecclestone advised Piquet senior to keep quiet but to use the situation to 'screw' Flavio. Ecclestone denies having said that. If right, what do you make of Mosely's and Ecclestone's réaction?


Excellent as always James.

This guy is digging quite the hole for himself. Apparantly according to NP, everybody and their grandmother knew about this "plot." and it seems everybody is to blame except his underperforming son. . How far can this go? Isn't NP just as liable for withholding information?

Incidentally Alonso was half delirious after the race after his water bottle failed and was clearly surprised to win by the safety car before heading to the podium.

Again it seems this is everybody's fault except for poor helpless Nelson jr.


Unless an insider pops up and drops Alonso in it (unlikely), I cannot see how it can ever be proved that he was privy to the crash plan before the event, despite the fact that he was to be its biggest beneficiary! On the other hand it is absolutely inconceivable that an ex double world champion like him, on the top of his game, did not immediately realise afterwards what had been engineered on his behalf.

Alonso is renowned as one of the best in the business when it comes to tweaking F1 cars, so he surely would have spotted immediately he saw Piquet's telemetry what had been done. Or did he purposely refrain from looking at the telemetry at the time I wonder?

And of course Alonso has said he knew nothing of the nefarious scheme they concocted for him to win the race, and we must believe him, but as Mandy Rice-Davis once said: “He would, wouldn't he?”

Case not proven.


Agreed. Case is definitely not proven and I doubt Alonso or other drivers would look at their teammates' telemetry when they crash. Unless it was a car failure, of course.


The part in all of this that I am really starting to be annoyed by, is the fact it is clearly killing off the sport I love so much. F1 now has zero credibility in the eyes of the public. And that's a shame. I also blame the piquet's as much as the Renault team for all of this... surly they know how much damage it is causing constantly dragging the sport through the mud in public? Although, all these leaks of FIA documents are just as bad. Shocking shocking state of affairs.

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

Perhaps Alonso did not know beforehand, but am man of his intelligence would undoubtedly have questioned PS, FB or NPJ afterwards as to what the hell happened.


I'm not convinced that only FB, PS and NP were the only ones in on the plot. It seems highly unlikely that Renault operate a totaly different stategy system to the other teams. Regarding James comment:

“Other teams I have spoken to say that the whole way the crash plot was originated and executed, with only one person in on it from the strategy/engineering side, would be impossible in their teams. Other operational and race engineers would have to know because the system for evolving strategy is more collective”.

Reading the radio transmision dialogue, I would have to say that it seems suspicious that an (apparent)major system failure occured just ahead of the crash.

00.50.07 [Engineer] Still don’t have, I don’t have any laps or gaps in position, Nothing

Pat Symonds Absolutely. Um we’ve got a little strategy programme problem but as soon as I’ve got it back I’m gonna be looking for a gap to put him in.

[Engineer] It’s started but there’s no film feed yet.

[Engineer] How about that [Engineer], try that, anything?

[Engineer] Okay, [Engineer] it says lapdate has been reset for unknown session so it looks like…it doesn’t recognise this as a as a race if you like.

Question: Does that sound like a pre-planned failure or just co-incidental?


I don't think other engineers would have necessarily known and I don't buy that Symonds sabotaged the strategy computer. This failure did not make his job easier and, in fact, made it a lot more difficult as they would still need to work on strategy for both cars. If a safety car came out earlier or Alonso retired early he would need to abort Jr's plan and maximise his race finish.

My reading of the transcripts is that a few engineers did ask or question Pat Symonds about the strategy, but he shot them down and said this is what we are going to do and they went along. The transcripts show all engineers are very busy and have to rely on the others to do their job and cannot stop to assess the situation. They seemed to rely on Symonds for having the overview and masterminding the strategy.


Cmon guys!

I know F1 is matter of passion, but let just think about it. Alonso MAY know the thing from start. cant he? It's not proven, so hes nothing is happening.

But doesnt it sound fishy? The whole plot was made to make his victory there!

And it's the second season he's being into something fishy that gave him advantage. Its just reasonable to have this kind of ideas.


There is no concrete circumstantial evidence against Alonso, as regards his knowledge of the event and its plans is concerned. NPJ in his statement has not once mentioned Alonso's name to suggest the above-mentioned. So the only way Alonso can suffer palable damage(of sanctions,disrepute etc.) is if any of the other key accused, Symonds and Briatore, come out against him; the chances of which are very very slim (considering Briatore's company holds the F1 racing broadcast). Even so, there has to be circumstantial evidence to back-it up.

Judging from the leaked evidence, I think the best thing Alonso did is that he came out clean, explained everything proplerly without trying to fool the stewards and protect the team.


If this is true, the FIA is in a huge spot of trouble. As James said, if they were tipped off that the Singapore accident may have been planned they should have investigated. If they didn't, why didn't they?

Of course, Piquet could be fabricating this new twist to the story. However, as much as I hate to, I think I have to give Piquet the benefit of the doubt at this point. Yes, he appears to be a mean, spiteful person, but so far the charges have been been proven true. The one thing I believe Piquet is wrong about is Alonso, which appears to be opinion-based rather than fact-based. I suspect Alonso may have been suspicious in hindsight, but I don't believe that he was aware of the planned accident before it happened.

At the very least, the FIA needs to investigate this latest statement by Piquet. The potential ramifications are mind boggling. If Piquet did, in fact, talk to Charlie Whiting, it seems highly unlikely that the flow of information stopped there. Not to over-react, but if the "accident" was brought to the FIA's attention and they did nothing, I think the scandal would be huge and potentially shake the FIA to its core.


Quite likely stories about all kinds of naughty illicit goings-on are whispered in the ears of officials from time to time which cannot be pursued until decisive proof becomes available.

In this case it's pretty obvious that, had the conspirators been confronted at the time, they would simply have closed ranks, clammed up, and concocted a cock-and-bull cover-up story. Piquet would no doubt have been provided with a sweetener sufficient to keep his big mouth shut. The only hard evidence against them was the telemetry and that was simply not enough to convict them. Highly suspicious for an expert used to reading tele data maybe, pure gobbledygook to anyone else. Not a smoking gun.

Come 2009 and the plot started to unravel when the gang of three fell out. Major miscalculation by Flav. Should have sweet-talked junior to keep him on-side. Instead he seems to have made a fetish of regularly kicking him in the teeth. Very bad idea in the circumstances.

Even then, although Piquet started to sing like a canary when it suited him, it initially looked as though it was two against one in Renault's favour. Still not enough.

The FIA only got the decisive break they needed when Symonds dropped the hint that he might squeal too if he received immunity as well. The rest is history, although the sordid details don't look like coming out ever. Possibly if the police take the case up we'll find out exactly who did what, probably not otherwise.

So, my mind is still signally failing to boggle in sympathy, I am afraid.


"In this case it’s pretty obvious that, had the conspirators been confronted at the time, they would simply have closed ranks, clammed up, and concocted a cock-and-bull cover-up story"

Probably true Martin but is this really a reason for not putting Quest on the case? They would have had Charlie's testimony to start with.

Then there's the telemetry.

"Highly suspicious for an expert used to reading tele data maybe, pure gobbledygook to anyone else."

Can't agree with you there, the telemetry traces comparing Piquet's and Alonso's throttle use and rear traction on 'that' corner has been published this week and I think it's possible to understand. In any event the FIA have got people who can understand it, surely they have haven't they?

"The FIA only got the decisive break they needed when Symonds dropped the hint that he might squeal too if he received immunity as well."

I don't remember Symonds dropping this hint, remind me because all I remember is that weird testimony where he wouldn't answer questions properly.

An unrelated question, what is Bernard Rey's role in the team. President isn't he? Is he supposed to control/supervise Briatore and others? Is he supposed to ensure the interests of the parent company? Is he just a figurehead?

James, anyone?


He is the president of Renault Sport, a division of Renault. He follows Patrick Faure and Christian Contzen in the role, both were big players in F1. rey will lead the Renault delegation on Monday


the number of leaks has been absolutely staggering.

James, all these leaks are coming from the FIA I assume? Do you think Max engineered the leaks, knowing that Briatore would have to fall on his sword??


Giving all parties the benefit of the doubt, the leaks could have come from: the FIA management, one of its members on the WMSC, the Piquets (also from Brazil Adam), FIA advisors, Quest and possibly even Renault. Renault had all the information and I think they would have acted the same, i.e. got Briatore and Symonds to leave, whether there had been leaks or not.


The World council Member from Brazil could have been the source of the leak of the main transcript.It was a Brazilian journalist who first broke the storey.

The Racefax website published it almost in full last week on the 12th Sept which suggests they were sent out from the FIA to the membership earlier in the week.


"This does not tally with the version of events I understand from the FIA."

Are you sure you are getting the FIA version correct? Where did they say that Whiting or Mosley didn't know earlier?

Ecclestone indicated he heard from Piquet about the incident during the Monaco GP:

“He said he was going to do it and I simply said, ‘There is no use you saying you are going to do something — either do it or stop talking about it.’ To be honest, I genuinely believed at that time that he would not do it.”

If Ecclestone knew and he didn't inform at least Mosley of this, I would suggest that Ecclestone receives some form of a hearing too ...


Nelson Jr is squarely the most guilty party of the trio here and no way was he, as he and Sr want us to believe, under pressure when he accepted (or suggested) to crash his car. He knew full well by accepting to do that (or suggesting it at the first place) instead of blowing the whistle that he could use that knowledge later to force Flavio to renew his contrqct to his advantage. He knew full well he would be in an ideal position to blackmail Fla and Pat after the race. We are not talking of a weak young guy who was pressured in doing a bad thing but of a calculating guy who did it in cold blood knowing very well which benefit he would gain from it.

He can maybe apply for a job as stuntman in Hollywood now.

As for Fernando I suspect he might have had a hunch something was wrong with what happen but I don't believe for a minute he knew of it beforehand.

I found the following piece on "the Independent" web site.

It talks about the Toyota rally team one year ban in 1995.

We might see a repeat of this on Monday. Pay attention to the quote from Max Mosley at the very end. He might say exactly the same thing about Renault next week. Ditto re: his quote about the drivers knowing what was going on.

"Toyota team pick up a one-year ban

Saturday, 4 November 1995

The Toyota team were yesterday banned from the World Championship for one year for using illegal turbo restrictors in the Catalonia Rally in Spain last month.

An extraordinary meeting of the sport's World Council in Paris stripped the Toyota team and their drivers of all points in this year's championship.

The International Automobile Federation president, Max Mosley, said the team's illegal turbo restrictor was "the most sophisticated device I've ever seen in 30 years of motor sports."

Toyota will not be able to compete in the World Championship until the RAC Rally next November, although team drivers, the reigning world champion Didier Auriol, of France, Juha Kankkunen, of Finland, and Germany's Armin Schwartz, could compete for other teams.

"There is no suggestion the drivers were aware of what was going on," Mosley said.

Auriol, who finished fourth in the Catalonia Rally before being disqualified, and Kankkunen had been in contention for this year's world title.

Mosley said Toyota had been represented at yesterday's hearing but had not contested the illegality of their action. "They said the decision had been made at a certain level of the team and that the management had not known about it," he said. "It's not up to us to accept that or not. The team has to take responsibility."


I think Alonso did not knew. If you remember his disappointment after Qualification (and whole season)... He could just say to Engineers - fill free to do all what you wish, race over for me... He is not dummy, and may be understood after the race everything, but not initially.


Someone should ask Piquet Sr why he did not keep escalating the issue at that time rather than now ..


I am not buying this at all. Cannot imagine Piquet Jnr not being on the phone to his father straight after the meeting with F.B. and P.S took place. Especially knowing how dependent on father's opinions he is.

On Alonso. No matter how rich his knowledge about the plot was (if any...) I feel his chances of getting Ferrari seat next year must be heavily questioned now, the more so, because whole plot distorted Singapore race results and unquestionably the Championship standings, which was vital for Hamilton vs Massa fight. I'm not saying, that only Massa was a victim that day, nor that he would've won the race. Actually there was more drivers caught wrong footed the moment of 'accident', Kubica for example as well as Hamilton himself. But knowing how close family member you become driving for Ferrari, they must definitely have doubts now if Massa, Alonso line-up next year will be a healthy idea.


Unless it can be proven that Alonso was in on Renault's race-rigging antics, he personally cannot be blamed in any way for causing Massa to the lose the World Championship, which he almost certainly did as a consequence of the fraud that was procured in Singapore.

I am certain there is no animosity to him on that score. If he was not complicit he was simply doing his job as a racing driver as best he could.

I am sure that in the present circumstances this business is no obstacle to him migrating to Maranello at sometime in the future. However, with the surfeit of top F1 jocks they seem to have, they may have to throw dice to decide who gets to sit in the hot seat every time.


"...causing Massa to the lose the World Championship, which he almost certainly did as a consequence of the fraud that was procured in Singapore."

Can't agree with this Martin, Massa had a bad result, 13th, in Singapore because firstly, Ferrari messed up his pit stop with their traffic lights, secondly, a drive through penalty.

As for losing the championship because of Singapore, you should also consider poor results in Australia - retired, Malaysia - spun off, Britain - 13th, Hungary - engine failure, Japan - 7th.


I agree, crashgate did not cost Massa the championship. If you remember he drove out of the pits with the fuel rig still attached ... I don't think he can blame Renault for this!



at autosport.com they write that even Max Mosley knew! check


Honestly, if that is true the look _really_ bad! They present now the data, to support the story of Piquet father and son, and thus not not have a situation of "two people vs one"...

Why they didn't use the data then to press on with the investigations??

this starts looking like a bloodbath...


My feeling about this has always been that the FIA had to wait for a decisive break before they could openly really pursue this case.

Almost certainly it would have seemed to the FIA that if they moved too quickly the conspirators would have closed ranks, dug in, become more firmly entrenched. Without the evidence of an insider they were firmly stuck. The investigation could have become derailed and even widely ridiculed. It’s perhaps difficult to remember now just how incredible, how fanciful, even risible, the very idea of crashing an F1 car to rig a race, and doing it successfully, appeared then. We now know differently, but with hindsight. The unbelievable has become almost commonplace. It’s incredible to me even now that they pulled it off though. So I have always thought that the FIA were probably better to play softly-softly-catchee-monkey.

However in the light of what has transpired since, an intriguing question arises. Mr Symonds is obviously a wee bit uncomfortable when it comes to telling bare-faced lies to the officials, unlike a certain other other participant in the mad whirl that is Formula One that I could name (I don’t need to of course). If Mr Symonds had been questioned way back, before Piquet squealed, which way would he have jumped? Would he have lied, decisively throwing his lot in with Flav? Would he have told the truth of his own accord? Or, was it only when Piquet queered the pitch for him, and things started to hot up, that he had a sudden attack of impending truthfulness? We’ll never know.


It doesn't say when Max knew, it could have been July. Mosley told Piquet Sr that he could only launch an enquiry if junior made a sworn statement. It can't see why he would not say that in November but would say it in July.


Yeah sure, Charlie Whiting is going to wait half a year before he tells Mosley.

From the article:

"Charlie has already informed me but we can't prove anything unless someone comes to tell me the facts."

I'm guessing Mosley is taking a rather loose meaning of the word rumours. Someone that close to the fact is hardly spreading a rumour.

I'll agree with Antonis that this is (or should be) incredibly damaging to FIA.

Imagine that in November they could actually still have influenced the outcome of the season.

And then Ecclestone also knew when in may 2009 he got fed up and dared Piquet to go to the officials if he felt he had a case.

Opposite Lock (Ken)

Other sports actively pursue rumors of doping and race fixing. It is inconceivable that the FIA can't look into rumors, in this case a disclosure by one of the conspirators. To claim that they could take no action until Nelson made a sword statement is the height of idiocy and if true means the whole FIA oversight group should be fired. Find some people willing to investigate and take the initiative to keep the clean.


“Charlie has already informed me but we can’t prove anything unless someone comes to tell me the facts.”

Why does Mosley think "... unless someone comes to tell me the facts.”

What's to stop him finding out for himself or getting Quest to do it for him?


The biggest loser here is Piquet. He should have kept quiet and salvaged his career. We have a situation where Flavio will waltz off and carry on in his other ventures, and Pat at 56 could well just take retirement up.

As for Piquet - he'll never drive in F! again and no other disciplines will touch him with a bargepole. No DTM or A1GP for Junior methinks. He'd better think of a different job to do now.


Unless the Piquet's have already struck a deal with the FIA for Piquet GP to enter F1?


perhaps a career in the ovals


Rumor has it that Piquet.Snr will also be running for FIA presidency this year.


I hope he's up against Nigel Mansell! Nige wiped the floor with him once already!


I am getting tired of this stuff. Let's have some decent racing, shall we?

Or this is just what we have to learn to live with. If you like F1 racing then brace yourself

for bucket loads of brown stuff flying around.

Or maybe it is true what Eddie Irvine said on BBC, that F1 is just a show and a boring one.

I would like to think his wrong.

One thing is for sure, F1 has reached the absolute bottom so from now on things can only get better. I have a feeling next season will be the best one ever.


I meant "I would like to think he's wrong"


Never rated Piquet senior as an outstanding example of human integrity and honesty. I smell old scores being settled and so much smoke and mirrors being generated by people with powerful reasomns to lie, and lie, and lie again.

Equally never believed Briatore was the most straightforward and rock-solid bloke to trust in a crisis.

The only person I really shake my head in dismay about is Pat Symonds. What the hell was he thinking of ? And now, with a first class career and plaudits from everyone in F1 just dumped in the wheely-bin like so much other crap, you really do have to shake your head in wonder.

What a blood mess !


Re Symonds. If you sup with the devil what do you expect.


According to one version at the time Mosley said they could do nothing without an official statement, only after Jr. lost his ride did he make such a statement.


I am going to miss the Piquets, they have been such a positive force for good in F1...

Anyone who thinks it is possible to retain youthful innocence when your Dad is a former world champ who wrings every last drop of 'me time' out of a limelight opportunity is living in a dream world.

At least the kid is a racer upstairs. He did what he did to keep his butt in a potentially competitive car - by hook or by crook. Worked too, for a while.


That's it, i've had enough. The sport is a complete joke. I've followed it for 20 years, but no more. It's far to expensive to be a fan, all the good races are being destroyed and the only excitement left is some b**hit politics.


I was curious to find Nigell Mansell's view on this affair. I found this


I guess he must find all this Piquet Family self inflicted own goal quite entertaining !


Haven't read it but I'd guess Nige must be laughing himself silly at the antics of the Piquet clan.


To be honest the FIA is now looking as credible as our current government (UK).

That's harsh I know, but they (The FIA) are lumbering from one leak to the next (In fact I hear that Max has bought a canoe) "Leak" is now the wrong word, it's a positive gusher! With the Piquets busily drilling holes in the dam, which may burst on Monday and sweep them and several others away.


"... FIA is now looking as credible as our current government (UK)."

It's tough to decide isn't it?


The guy is trying to blackmail the FIA now, it looks like something genetic!!


If a F1 was leaking as much as the FIA during a race no doubt Charlie Whiting would black flag it 🙂 Who will black flag the FIA ?

This guy should leave the FIA at the same time than Max as is behaviour in many instances has been questionable. This story is only the last example. He knew about crashgate months ago and did bugger all... Highly professional. Maybe it was because Nelson Sr was his old pal and that would be another blatant conflict of interest between his duty and friendship.

Whoever replaces Max in October should get rid of Charlie who can no longer be trusted.

JPM now enjoying life in Nascar must be so glad to be out of F1 now ! I would be curious to read his opinion on this too.

Good luck to JPM for the Chase.


Some McLaren staff pass Ferrari setup information around that may have benefited Alonso.

The Renault "strategy computers" mysteriously break down in Singapore in 2008 and Alonso wins the race from 15th.

The FIA timing screens mysteriously vanish right at the end of Q3 in Hungary in 2009 and Alonso gets pole.

I truly think he's innocent in all these cases - but wow what bad luck to be involved in so many crazy events!


Not to mention Kimi's many breakdowns in 2005


This guy Piquet Sr. is not leaving friends behind in F1. What is worse is that some of his accusation like mudding Alonso and Whiting without any evidence is totally shameful to say the list. What is up with this guy.


I'm hugely dubious of the FIA in their investigation of this scandal.

The interviews with Pat Symonds were - if we have been privvy to all of them - a joke.

1st Interview:

FIA Delegate: "Were you a naughty boy, Pat?"

Pat Symonds: "No."

FIA: "Promise?"

Pat: "I promise."

FIA: "But we have reason to believe you were a naughty boy."

Pat: "Okay. I probably wasn't."

FIA: "Well - I can't think what else to answer. Thanks for your time, Pat."

2nd Interview:

FIA: "Pat - are you sure you weren't a naughty boy?"

PAt: "No Comment."

FIA: "Well - thanks for coming again."

I hope the interviews were actually more thorough than what has been leaked so far. I doubt Alonso was involved at all, but judging from the FIA's investigative procedures... we will probably never know.


You're not even contemplating that Jnr is lying, that Renault is only trying to save face, that Max is a conspirator in the demise of his nemesis, Briatore, that Snr's spoilt kid just can't emulate his own success...

Interrogate the facts, please James. And - also - where you heard them first. If you're brave enough to risk your own press pass, perhaps you'd give us some truths.


I felt that Alonso's body language was quite revealing when Kravitz interviewed him last weekend. The half smiling, the awkwardness and all that while sporting dark sunglasses...I'd gladly play poker against someone like Alonso because his tell is so obvious.

Eddie Irvine made some good points albeit somewhat controversial that F1 has always been about 'cheating' since the earliest years and these days of political correctness just don't suit it. Well, that's an interesting observation, but we don't really want to watch a race that is not real so the political correctness is welcome in my opinion.


I agree about the Alonso interview. He looked so uncomfortable and evaded so many questions.


I hate political correctness with every ounce of my being, but I support anyone who tries to stop people cheating in Formula One one hundred per cent. Seems a bit like cleaning out the Augean stables, though. What would help would be getting the (very) big bucks out of it, by reducing the spend all round. Oh dear, we've been here before!

Big bucks seem to breed big cheating, because the stakes are so high.


Could this be another case of gamesmanship by "Mad Max Mosley" or the FIA? After all, most politicians carry "Political Poker Chips", where at the right time, they will cash-in that chip to their benefit.

Mosley is due to step down soon. Don't you find it ironic that his arch nemesis's (Dennis, Briatore, etc) are being shunted from F1?


Dear James,

A thought just crossed my mind - that it was indeed Piquet Jr (whom upon the sly scheming of his dad) who first placed the deliberate crash plans into the head of Pat Symmonds.

I believe since Pat refused to answer several questions,that he was at least telling the truth that Piquet Jr was the one to suggest the crash (cos there was no doubt jr was desperate to keep his seat and his dad may have instigated it as he is capable of sowing such well-planned thoughts).

The trouble is that Pat agreed to the idea and engineered the crash for Piquet to follow through...

Based on the transcripts, it seems that Flav did not know at the time - cos of the screaming and cursing that followed about how bad piquet was as a driver.

I do believe afterwards, Pat filled Flav in on the deets and they all decided to keep mum bcos Alonso did get to bag the points.

So the planned worked. Now Piquet Sr had gotten Piquet Jr a huge advantage by having done that little favor which since both parties were compliant, has meant that Piquet sr could now hold this damning piece of information over Flav for as long as he pleased. Well, that was the plan anyway...

But Flav just could not bear to see crash after crash. To have 17 crashes in one and a half seaasons tells alot about the quality of Piquet's driving skills.

and no doubt, if you have 'practiced' crashing as many as 17 times in the past 1.5 years, it would not be a stretch to pull one out of the bag that did the trick to propel the other driver to a step on the podium. I mean, I dun think there is anyone on here who would think twice or blink if Piquet crashed in any race.

after reading the new information that Piquet Sr has provided, as well as their desire to get out of Flav's grasp on Jr's future financial gains in motorsport, I have come to conclude that it was Piquet Sr all along who engineered the whole thing so that they coould either implicate Flav for not being compliant or enable to let Jr continue his dismal driving in F1, either way, the piquets win.

He was a seasoned competitor and today, he is a successful entreprenuer. You don't get to where you are without the insincts of a predator.

just my 2 cents.


if true, how does this not end the career of Charlie Whiting?

it's awkward to bring up, because he's well reputed and competent. but to know of a race fixing and not so much as hint to someone to investigate..

that a good friend was the source of the information or not..


This 'crash gate' is also being used to avoid Alonso going to Ferrari and start all over again another "Schumacher era".


So many people with deep Bernie ties are in positions of FIA power. I can't accuse Charlie Whiting of wrongdoing. But he is in an untenable position, because people will draw the obvious inference that he kept quiet in order to minimize damage to the commercial rights holder's much heralded new race.

Charlie Whiting should not have to be in that position.

He would not be, but for the incestuous nature of the FI = FIA power/administrative structure. Max Mosely down through Whiting and Blasch go back to Bernie through the FOCA/FISA war. For that matter, so did Ron Dennis. Luca di Montezemolo. And Flavio has been close to Bernie for nigh on 20 years, and helped him morph F3000 (itself created at Bernie's instigation, killing off F2, the traditional source of new teams and personalities coming into F1 and challenging the Old Guard; Cooper and Lotus to name the obvious examples -- or Toleman/Benneton/Renault -- in the process) into GP2: The "official" last step to F1, and a one-make/one engine formula. One that he just happens to have (certainly had) a financial and organizational interest in with the cars and engines, and one from which he's certainly culled drivers for his management contracts.

Simply put, too many conflicts of interest, real or apparent, have been built into the F1 structure post-FOCA/FISA/Concorde Agreement. (Bernie's bargain purchase of the commercial rights being the most eye watering example). This includes, lest we forget, the decades-long efforts to inoculate The Club against interlopers -- tactics like the $50 million dollar bond, the "arrangement" with CART to stay out of Europe, and driving out or marginalizing dissenters and troublemakers like Paul Stoddart, David Richards... and Ken Tyrell.

The mess we're seeing now was, therefore, inevitable and has been brewing for some time, as shown by the cascade of scandals and embarrassment among former allies over the past three years. The revolutionaries of the FOCA/FISA war have become the Old Guard, whether in the guise of the FIA, CVC or FOTA. The Pirana Club has taken to eating itself -- they don't have anything else to feed on, having devoured or driven off all other competitors and prey.

Let them feed. Let there be blood. Let the power fall.

Somewhere, Robespierre and Danton are nodding in recognition.


Charlie Whiting knew at the Brazil GP. He is a senior official of the FIA, so they were duty bound act upon it immediately. However that could have changed the WDC championship result. They knew that.. but they kept quiet about it.. and that is manipulating the results. Clear and simple. Did someone high in the FIA have a large bet on Hamilton to win the WDC?

Max states that it is too late to change anything now. Only because he says so.. but he makes the rules.

The Singapore race was a once in a lifetime event for myself and many other fans. With what we now know, it sickens me that I paid so much for that trip. It won't happen again.

This is all about race fixing and punishing the offenders. Who will punish those that suppressed it and capitalised on it for their own corrupt agenda? Someone mentioned 'rotten to the core' recently. I believe that is an understatement when applied to the FIA. Who can blame the players when the governing body sets such a good example?


Strip glamour boy of a title wrongfully bestowed? Change the carefully stage-managed script? Unthinkable!


James, I find the situation terrible. There isn't anyone that behaved w/exception of Charles Whiting that acted properly.

I excuse Whiting because what was told to him was probably in the confidence of a friend.

The whole lot: Briatore, Symonds, and the Piquets should be banned from the sport.

In closing I feel sorry for Renault who have to put up with this bs.


I wont comment more on alonso, people. please. If you REALLY want to think he didnt know, it's possible. of course it is. he has the benefit of doubt, and is more likely to dont get harmed by anything. But its too much naivette to think he didnt know...

James: The Brazilian journalist (Reginaldo Leme) is quite close to Piquet SR. He was the only journalist that Piquet talked after his indy accident for example. I guess that could be a good hint for the first source...


What hurts most for me is the fact that people I regarded as 'good blokes' have turned out to be anything but. I have no problems with feet of clay, none of us is perfect, but all we seem to be getting is a list of people for whom expediency is a guiding principle.

A few good men, eh?

Charlie Whiting, Pat Symonds: where will it end?

I agree with Opposite Lock. At Piquet jnr’s age most of us would have experienced a number of ‘tests’ as to one’s integrity. Fair enough, most of us would have failed a few. But as tests go, not crashing is, I would suggest, one of the easier ones that a GP driver will be faced with, fragile or not.

What is motivating Piquet senior? Personal animosity against Flav? If so then what more does he want? The bloke is out and will not return. His attitude will presumably ensure the same fate will befall his son.

So Whiting and Mosley were aware of the allegations yet chose to do nothing. The excuse of no statement is, I would suggest, weaker than that of being fragile. It is the function of the regulator to regulate.

A few years ago we had Norberto Fontana allege in a statement to an Argentinean reporter that he was threatened by Todt before the European GP in 1997 to facilitate Schuey overtaking him but to block Villeneuve. The implication being that the Petronas badges would be all alone at the back of the Saubers the following season. Certainly there is video evidence to back this up, as well as Brundle’s typically uncompromising contemporary commentary. And nothing was done.

In the end, of course, it had no effect on the outcome.

Fontana was very bitter as he seemed to suggest it was this that stopped him getting any further drives in F1. Mind you, as with Piquet jnr, I feel no sympathy for Fontana. He chose: he chose badly. At least he didn’t suggest fragility as an excuse.

Leaking material to the press was a very poor tactic. We now have every fan, participant, sponsor and hanger on with an opinion. And the only common one would appear to be that F1 is wallowing in corruption, with each headline reinforcing it. It seems that Todt and Ari are fighting over a vacancy for mortician.

The sport needs to rally, but around what or whom? It is an indictment of the sport that there are too few who seem to be trustworthy. The unblemished FW and PH of Williams are the best candidates I can think of but they have shown themselves in the past not to be willing to make a stand. It appears to have been expediency rather than principle that made them opt out of the FOTA stand against Mosley.

Who else? Exactly!

The scarcity of contenders makes you wonder if the sport is worth saving.


Piquet Sr talking to Whiting last year in an 'off the record' way is just hearsay. They must hear hundreds of all kinds of rumours throughout the year. They can't be expected to investigate them all. They are non-profit organisation and their income comes from FIA members and they have to justify their expenditure. If they got Quest involved for each informal rumour and accusation made, they would be bankrupt! (and yes, before someone else says it, I know quite a few people who read this blog would think the FIA going bankrupt would be a good thing)

In this instance, Piquet Sr spoke to Charlie Whiting last year and ultimately he was advised that for something to be done, if there was any truth to what Sr was saying, he would need Jr to come forward and present evidence or make a statement. I think this is perfectly reasonable.

If the FIA acted on all rumours then the teams would start making all sorts of claims all the time just to see if the FIA investigation uncovered some dirt or to damage the reputation or focus of the other teams. For the FIA to investigate it is only fair and proper that they have some solid circumstantial evidence to begin with first. Piquet's rather unofficial chat with Whiting last year does not constitute this.


Jake, this was a rumour about race-fixing, it's also about safety of marshals and other competitors, spectators in the worst instance.

The FIA have told us they view this as far more serious than the 2007 Stepney/Coughlan/McLaren/Ferrari/100 million dollars row.

Why didn't they act sooner?

Hearsay and off-record chats are meaningless in this context.

"For the FIA to investigate it is only fair and proper that they have some solid circumstantial evidence to begin with first".


The FIA should have gone looking for evidence, given the nature of the off-record chat between Piquet snr and Whiting. Renault's telemetry would have been a good place to start, easy and cheap too.


I think Harveyeight and Martin here have highlighted that the 'chat' Piquet Snr had with Charlie Whiting can be looked upon differently and in so doing, the consequences of the non-action afterwards can be differently interpreted.

I have speculated (as we don't know) that this was an off the record type chat and I don't think this is enough for the FIA to act upon. Piquet Snr, although a triple world champion, is, in this context to the FIA, just a Dad of a F1 driver and so they cannot take anything he says as just fact without further proof or statements from someone actually involved.

For example, pretend I am Jenson Button's best mate (I'm not ... not since the restraining order anyway) and I hear from him that Ross Brawn and Barrichello have been cheating in some way but Button doesn't want to say anything and get the team in trouble. If I go to Charlie and talk to him about it, should he launch some sort of investigation into Brawn just on what I've said?

Oh, and I was joking about the restraining order, just in case someone thought I was being serious! 🙂



Yes, I take your point. The bit:

"If the FIA acted on all rumours then the teams would start making all sorts of claims all the time . .” could be policed effectively although one would expect the ‘reasonable’ test to be used.

On the main point, this has been billed as the most (add your own suitable wild modifier here) case of cheating ever. I’m not sure that’s justifiable, whatever your choice, but it is, I would suggest, not to be ignored.

Piquet snr can’t approach an official of the FIA, the regulator, with a ‘what if’ scenario and suggest it is unofficial. Whiting and Mosley should have reacted. Perhaps they did, we don’t know. (What are the odds, eh? No leak on this bit.)

The circumstantial evidence, that of the telemetry, would have supported a suggestion of a deliberate crash without any requirement for the completely and utterly independent Quest to be brought in. The print was leaked and then declared to be the most damning evidence for the conspiracy. I know it is not but a deliberate crash is actionable.

Mind you, I do agree with your implication that the last thing we need is a whole series of minor transgression leading to uproar in the press.


"So Whiting and Mosley were aware of the allegations yet chose to do nothing."

Disgraceful, negligent, maybe fraudulent.

"The excuse of no statement is, I would suggest, weaker than that of being fragile."

Perfectly said.

" It is the function of the regulator to regulate."

If only!!!



Now would be a great time for the 2 candidates for the FIA presedency to stand up and be counted! Amidst all this chaos, this is a perfect time to show who is a leader.

The same way Obama got elected using the credit crisis in his electoral campaign.


I would also like to add that if NP Snr knew about it in Brazil and only confesses now, he then has admitted and is guilty of blackmail and extortion.



Do you think Ari is going to comment on this after Monday's findings are announced? He is, after all, running as a reform candidate and it now appears that the FIA isn't lily white in this whole matter either.

To me he can make a bunch of political hay about it. The FIA knew but willingly did not pursue the matter last year at Brazil. Why not have the Quest guys interrogate NP Jr. right away? You don't need him to be willing to sign any statement or "come forward". That is a lie. A BIG FAT LIE. Hostile witnesses are interviewed everyday in crime investigations.

It could be that Max and the FIA sat on this saving it for political capital to be used at a more opportune time or for personal retribution when the time was ripe.

It is also possible that FOM wanted it to go away for commercial reasons affecting the 2008 WDC nail biter and popular champion as well as further sullying the sport after the world economy crashed in Sept '08. Certainly BCE found out mere seconds after Whiting conferred with Max in Brazil. Perhaps FOM knew Honda was already on the ropes and leaving but they didn't want to shake things up and lose any more teams with a messy WDC title being settled in court.

And possibly the FIA wanted the whole matter to disappear for reasons of their own. Max was still suffering from his S&M-gate stature issues and if one remembers well it was the Brazilian federation who were among his strongest supporters going into his June "Extraordinary Meeting" concerning his fitness to continue as FIA President. Forcing NP Jr. to an interrogation which would certainly end his career is no way to repay the Brazilian federation for their support during the S&M-gate scandal. Also they couldn't offer giving Massa the WDC title in court to pacify the Brazilian federation because he wold have been one more point behind LH if the results were recalculated. And even I think that the FIA wouldn't stoop to this level of ugliness.

All this points to even the FIA being dragged kicking and screaming to the table. One could be excused for suspecting that NP Sr. called Max and Charlie this July and said the FIA needs to give NP Jr. immunity and take a statement from him or the Piquets were going to go public with it.

Either way, the FIA compromised itself by not unilaterally pursuing the matter as soon as they got wind of it. Such may or may not be the price Max had to repay them for past political favors but in any event it is certainly no way to run an organization with integrity.

I want to repeat, why not have the Quest guys interrogate NP Jr. right away? Any assertion that the FIA needs NP Jr. to be willing to sign any statement or "come forward" is a BIG FAT LIE. Put him on the record right away. It is a serious allegation and it demands serious pursuit. Hostile witnesses are interviewed everyday in crime investigations.

Ari already is challenging the status quo solely by his candidacy and he will certainly feel the wrath of the entrenched corrupted parties just for that. It isn't easy to be a reform candidate. The daggers are going to come out no matter what you do. I think he needs to make the cover-up/non-investigation matter an issue and as another reason why a massive turnover in people is needed. He should assert that only his reform candidacy can provide the kind of fresh new leadership that is needed. What other secrets could the FIA be sitting on?

Opposite Lock (Ken)

At the very least, the FIA should have immediately interviewed to determine if Nelson's allegations were credible. Was there anything to his story. To call the revelation of one of the three conspirators a "rumor" is to distort the meaning of the word and to cast the FIA's integrity, one again, into a harsh and unfavorable light. FIA's lack of action makes their oversight to seem more a tool of vengeance and retaliation rather than objective enforcement.


Nelson himself should be banned from all forms of racing for life. This is inexcusable. Had he not lost his ride with Renault he was not going to come forward with this?

What does this say about him, his ability in F1 that he had to do such an act to gain another contract because he could not simply do it on merit. That is what I read into the situation. He was not good enough for the sport and so had to resort to other means to get a new contract. He should have rather won a contract by demonstrating his ability in the sport and being competitive but instead he was weak and too slow.

I think F1 and Renault are bigger than him and the FIA will find Renault innocent of the charges so as to not damage global reputation, and chase them out of F1. Even if evidence points to guilt there will have to be politics involved in Renault's favor. After BMW announced they are pulling out, the sport cannot afford a big hitter like Renault to leave and the sport is bigger than Nelson.


I've seen every race since 1991 and even practice and qualifying when it started to be shown. So all the scandals over the last couple of years have not changed my love of F1. It still was sport enough and of course I love the technology and speed and it's become a habit to get up at 8am for every race. I look forward to it. Hoping that this was a crazy plot by two or three guys, I was still hanging on. But now I am starting to realize as well that more people must have know. I'm just been following along fat, dumb, and happy all this time when the sport is just full of the same corporate greed that plagues the rest of the world. Maybe I should just find something else to do during the races because it's all getting out of hand.


I do not believe that Alonso knew of the plan for a crash. I suspect though after the race he had a few private thoughts on the matter..

I also think james is a little askew with his analysis of Alonso's strategy going nowhere.

The reason I think Alonso knew nothing was that he would have stopped it if he had known. A double world champion who was looking to go to Ferrari, what had he to gain from one more grand prix win on his record against the risk of putting his reputation through the wringer? (especially after the McLaren fiasco). If it was to stop Reanult pulling out of F1, then as far as alonso was concerned he had other real options at Red Bull and Honda/BrawnGP, both of which ironically would have put him in a position of having a shot at the 2009 title.

Alonso's strategy actually was quite clever when you look at the factors. They qualified bottom of the midfield due to unreliability with a car that had the pace to be at the front of the midfield.

If he started 15th with the same strategy as thise ahead of him he would have gone nowhere.. Instead, try an early stop and drop to the back but crucially, then run in clear air with afaster car than the midfield runners ahead of him. We all know how important clear air is to lap times so it would have been possible for him to haul himself up if possible by gaining track position on some of the midfield runners ahead.

I thought it was worth a try and his pace in the race suggested he would have done it because after the second sarefty car in clear air he destroyed Rosberg and Hamilton behind him in a matter of laps.

So, James, why can't you see how his strategy would have worked..?

I do believe Alonso knew nothing at outset but probably was suspicious after the race but what could he do then..?

Remember, the rest of the team also knew nothing and there were plenty of engineers in that team that didn't run to the FIA to suggest foul play..

No, I think Alonso was no in on the plan but like many others strtaed to wonder about the crash after the rcae had finished as it all looked so suspicious....


Why ppl keep blaming Nelson sr? What do you expect him to do? He told someone important last year and was turned down,he is not his son's manager to push him to tell the truth and he was not the one that started everything a month ago,it was his son who decided to get a vendetta.I think Nelson sr here is behaving like every father would.

People dislike him,true,but they speak like he was always a cheat and is not the case,as a driver he was AWESOME,and the two times he was into an accident with his main rival while fighting for a title was not his fault:Jones took him out of the track at Canada 80 because the australian knew Nelson was much faster that weekend and in Zandvoort 83 Prost did it.

He was not a cheat guys.


To add to that, a brazilian journalist have just posted in his blog that, according to very good sources, Piquet SR and JR fought when SR knew about it and they spent 3 months not speaking with each other. (for portuguese speakers:http://blogs.band.com.br/barbaragancia/index.php/2009/09/20/e-agora-dona-fia/)

I can see why Piquet is so furious with briatore now. He not only dismissed his son, he also helped the same son to make one of the biggest mistakes in his life. For a father, that's probably one of the hardest things to cope with.


What are you saying.... No top driver would do that? Try Senna, Prost, Schumacher... Do you not follow F1?


How is that a valid point? You assume that soldiers always DO act responsibly and handle the pressure. Clearly if you read only a fraction of the news you know that is not always the case. Plus I should imagine every soldier in battle is scared stiff, despite their training. Besides, many soldiers follow orders and do things they may not agree with, so by that logic NPJ was actually being very 'professional'. Your point proves nothing.

Opposite Lock (Ken)


Correct me if I am wrong, but several years ago didn't the FIA investigate rumors that drugs were being smuggled in team shipping containers? I seem to recall they issued a statement saying there was no truth to the matter. Doesn't that put the lie to Max's statement about not being able to investigate a rumor until someone makes a statement of accusation?


Jake, with regard to post 7, started by Dan.

Re your first para, "I too am suspicious of Alonso....etc". Yes indeed, we would all like to know what Alonso's position in this is/was.

End of your second para, "Whether Piquet Sr told the FIA last year or this year will be irrelevant to them."

It seems to me, and a lot of other participants in this blog, highly relevant whether the FIA knew last year or this. If it was indeed last year, as alleged by Piquet snr, why didn't the FIA act sooner?

1) Has Whiting confirmed/denied Piquet snr's claim about last year yet?

2) Have Quest asked him?

1) and 2) are still relevant questions. 3) might be, if Quest haven't asked the question of Whiting yet, when are they, or someone at/on behalf of the FIA, going to do so?

Your 3rd para,"I really hope we do get to see all the evidence as it will help end all our endless speculation. A big YES to that.


Re: Piquet Snr's comment about Alonso - and Piquet Jnr's excuse for his behaviour (that he was young, effectively):

I think it is important to place Piquet Snr's comment about Alonso in context and understand the clear spirit in which it was made. He made it clear that it was an 'opinion' he was giving on Alonso rather than a fact as such; having dealt with the 'facts' which are those relating to the things to do with Briatore, symonds and his son. After all, Piquet Snr said 'Look, if you ask me, he knew.' - the spirit is that he was giving an 'opinion' at this point, not that he was stating a 'fact' when it came to Alonso.

Therefore, it is incorrect to interpret this bit of what Piquet Snr has said in the way james has done here - which is a way a few others have also done. There is no 'reversal' in Piquet Snr's position in respect of Alonso - he has only given his 'opinion' about whether Alonso would have known about the 'plot' scenario or not; and his opinion is that he most likely would have known, or to put it another way, as Piquet Snr has now clarified, he (Piquet Snr) with his experience of F1, finds it hard to imagine Alonso could not have known.

People should take more care when reading someone's comments.

We should also be grateful for Piquet Snr bringing this stuff out in to the open - we can see that obviously this has taken some b-lls on his part to do this, he has been strong and direct in his actions.

Re: Piquet Jnr and whether he should 'suffer' as one or two have said...I agree it is very

much a case of him being young and this beign the reason for what he did. - I think we need to remember that it was not just a case of something wrong being suggested to him (so he could calmly stand back and say no...), it was something wrong being suggested to him by two of the most powerful men in f1, who he worked with on a daily basis. They were no doubt making out it could easily be done and without consequences. They were manipulating a young mind. That makes it understandable to me - it is certainly going too far to suggest Piquet should be punished as well. For me also, a key thing is I think not that he was 'seeking to gain an extended contract' from this action; I suspect that is twisting the reality of it a lot. I think if his employers were suggesting he should do this thing, it was more the case that they, in their position of power and manipulation, were suggesting that otherwise Piquet Jnr would not be fitting in with *them*. So it is not the case that Piquet was seeking to get them to do something by his actions; he was not in a powerful position, he was made to feel he needed to go along with them in order to keep them happy. If you see what I mean. He is being made out to be a cynical person trying to leverage his contractual position in the team through his action (the crash). I suspect he was probably a weak pawn in the scenario, who was effectively being blackmailed into trying to keep in with these people or he would be out of favour. I can imagine a young person being manipulated by very powerful people into doing something stupid that he regrets afterwards, in a high pressure scenario, in this way; it adds up to me. What Piquet jnr did is not defensible but i think it is understandable - and that when he talks about it more later, we will see more of how this is the case.

re: Piquet Snr 'dropping hand grenades' - there is a cynical aspect to describing him in this way. We really should be grateful to him for being so upfront and honest about what is going on, which would not have been an easy thing to do (after all, you get lawsuits thrown at you for this kind of thing - as initially happened!!). In a short space of time, Piquet Snr has done the right thing on various fronts. It is not his problem that the F1 board did not act on earlier information from him - far from it. If there are issues to be answered by the FI bosses regarding why this stuff was not acted on earlier, that is for them to deal with.

James would do well to remove his rosy spectacles on a lot of things - it is in F1's interest to face up to the s--t it has been dealing in, on all fronts (from the sports' 'management' or regulators, to the team managements, to the drivers) in order to remove such stuff and then the sport can be in a position to thrive in future. hundreds of millions of fans and spectators are being continually let down by all this cr-p - and put off - and casual attempts to pretend people are not so bad as they get proved to be do not help the situation.


Oh wake up! Of COURSE Alonso knew. It's ALONSO for heaven's sake. Do you think he wouldn't know EVERYTHING that was happening in that team?

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