FIA to launch probe on '08 Singapore GP
The FIA is to launch an investigation into the events at last year's Singapore Grand Prix, where Renault's Fernando Alonso claimed victory on the back of a crash by his team-mate Nelson Piquet.
Alonso's success was sealed by the timing of a safety car in the early stages of the inaugural event - which had been called out when Piquet crashed into the wall shortly after his team-mate stopped for fuel.
The timing of Piquet's crash prompted wild conspiracy theories that the Brazilian had been ordered to deliberately spin to help Renault take its first victory of the year. Piquet himself insisted at the time that the accident had been caused by him simply trying too hard.
"It was my mistake," said Piquet. "We tried two extreme strategies with Fernando quite short and me quite long in the hope of getting a safety car. If I hadn't crashed I would have been lucky with the safety car later in the race because I was very happy.
"We're always scraping the walls, and once you've touched the wall a little too much and lose control that's it."
It is understood, however, that fresh evidence about the events that took place in the race have now come to light - which has prompted the FIA to step in.
Piquet was dropped by Renault after this year's Hungarian Grand Prix, and has been outspoken in his criticisms of the outfit - and in particular team principal Flavio Briatore. It is not clear if the Brazilian himself has been a catalyst for the investigation, or if the evidence has come from elsewhere.
The FIA has not elaborated on the details of its inquiry, but a spokesperson confirmed to AUTOSPORT that an investigation was under way.
"The FIA can confirm that an investigation is underway regarding alleged events at a previous world championship race," said the spokesperson.
Should the FIA investigation suggest there is any evidence of foul play involved, then the governing body could call a hearing of the World Motor Sport Council to discuss the matter.
This comes off the back of a recent Brazilian TV station's report that it had received information about the fixing of the race result. I foresee a massive ban for Renault in the coming season if they're found guilty. It may also precipitate Alonso's move to a new team for 2010.
Yeah, we can all see this one coming: "Oh, woe is me, I did so poorly in F1 because I was instructed to by Flavio".
Like father like son - champions of excuses.
And look how quickly it's spiralled out of control. 3 more days til the hearing and Flav and Symonds won't be there.
True to be told, Briatore's rep was already tarnished ages ago the scandals Benetton were involved in in 1994.
Originally posted by flapdoodle:
Renault, Briatore, Piquet and Symonds don't sound like Asian names.
Renault has been handed a two-year suspended ban for its involvement in fixing the result of last year's Singapore Grand Prix, with Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds receiving bans from motorsport.
Following a meeting of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Monday, the governing body ruled that the team was guilty of an offence of "unparalleled severity" after causing a deliberate crash in last year's Singapore event.
Although the FIA deemed that the offence was worthy of exclusion from the F1 world championship, it was decided to suspend the ban for two season because Renault admitted to its guilt - and took action against the men involved in the actions – former team principal Briatore and director of engineering Pat Symonds.
A statement from the FIA said that Renault "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."
Explaining the decision to impose a two-year suspended ban, the FIA said: "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."
The FIA has also taken tough action against Briatore and Symonds. It has been decided that for an 'unlimited period' the FIA will not sanction any event, championship, cup, trophy, challenge or series involving Briatore in any capacity – or grant any licence to a team or entity that is engaged with Briatore.
The statement added: "It also hereby instructs all officials present at FIA-sanctioned events not to permit Mr. Briatore access to any areas under the FIA's jurisdiction."
Briatore will also not be allowed to manage any drivers in F1, with the FIA stating that it will not renew any Superlicence granted to a driver who is associated with Briatore. At the moment Briatore manages Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Heikki Kovalainen, Romain Grosjean in F1.
"In determining that such instructions should be applicable for an unlimited period, the World Motor Sport Council has had regard not only to the severity of the breach in which Mr. Briatore was complicit but also to his actions in continuing to deny his participation in the breach despite all the evidence."
Symonds faces a similar ban for a period of five years – and will not be allowed at FIA-sanctioned events.
The statement added: "In determining that such instructions should be effective for a period of five years the World Motor Sport Council has had regard: (i) to Mr. Symonds' acceptance that he took part in the conspiracy; and (ii) to his communication to the meeting of the World Motor Sport Council that it was to his "eternal regret and shame" that he participated in the conspiracy."
Piquet himself apologised to the FIA for his involvement in the matter, and receives no punishment after being offered immunity in exchange for providing details about the matter.
The FIA also ruled that Alonso, who testified at the hearing, was not involved in the Renault race-fix matter.
It's probably also the end for Piquets in F1...not so much for his poor race performances or for hashing up the crash, but because no one would want to associate themselves with the histrionics of the father and son. In the end, they had nothing to gain from it and they dragged many names through mud without proof (Alonso and Whiting in particular)