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Formula 1 - Countdown to Race 14 Singapore, Singapore

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Like Mike

September 26th 2009 - Well it turns out that Renault did in fact conspire with their driver Nelson Piquet Jr to make him crash thus allowing his team mate Fernando Alonso to go on and win the race. Of course anything of this nature is a huge breach of the International Sporting Code and F1 Sporting Regulations so a huge penalty was expected.

During the meeting the team admitted to the facts below about the incident:

- it had accepted, at the earliest practicable opportunity, that it committed the offences with which it was charged and cooperated fully with the FIA’s investigation;
- it had confirmed that Mr Briatore and Mr Symonds were involved in the conspiracy and ensured that they left the team;
- it apologised unreservedly to the FIA and to the sport for the harm caused by its actions;
- it committed to paying the costs incurred by the FIA in its investigation; and
- Renault (the parent company, as opposed to Renault F1) committed to making a significant contribution to FIA safety-related projects.

The actual findings from the FIA are as below:

“The World Motor Sport Council finds that Renault F1 team members Flavio Briatore, Pat Symonds and Nelson Piquet Jr. conspired to cause a deliberate crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. The World Motor Sport Council therefore finds Renault F1, which, under article 123 of the International Sporting Code, is responsible for the actions of its employees, in breach of Articles 151(c) and point 2(c) of Chapter IV of Appendix L of the Code, and Articles 3.2, 30.3 and/or 39.1 of the Formula One Sporting Regulations.

The World Motor Sport Council considers Renault F1’s breaches relating to the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix to be of unparalleled severity. Renault F1’s breaches not only compromised the integrity of the sport but also endangered the lives of spectators, officials, other competitors and Nelson Piquet Jr. himself. The World Motor Sport Council considers that offences of this severity merit permanent disqualification from the FIA Formula One World Championship. However, having regard to the points in mitigation mentioned above and in particular the steps taken by Renault F1 to identify and address the failings within its team and condemn the actions of the individuals involved, the WMSC has decided to suspend Renault F1’s disqualification until the end of the 2011 season. The World Motor Sport Council will only activate this disqualification if Renault F1 is found guilty of a comparable breach during that time.”

So the punishment should fit the crime but with it being a suspended sentence some people are crying foul.  However, with so many twists and turns already this season with the FIA and the teams, the last thing the sport needs is a top team being kicked out.  At the end of the day the big losers are Flavio Briatore, who has been banned for life, and Pat Symonds, who was given a 5 year ban.  Piquet himself had his sentence quashed due to giving evidence during the investigation but it’s likely he will never drive in F1 again.

So the season really has continued to be an amazing one and not even Hollywood could have written a script as crazy as this.  With four more races to go, what on earth could there still be to happen to this sport?  Watch this space .....

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