FIA charges Renault with causing Piquet crash. Denied UPDATE #3 (GMM) In a letter by Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds, the heads of the Renault team have reportedly told F1's governing body that the charge of race-fixing in Singapore last year is not true.
According to the Spanish sports newspaper AS, it is alleged that team boss Briatore as well as Symonds, Renault's long time engineering director, instructed Nelson Piquet during a pre-race meeting to crash on purpose on a specific lap of the night race.
His promised reward was said to be the renewal of his contract for 2009.
Piquet, whose career is closely followed by his famous father, was furious when he was recently ousted by Briatore and in a media statement hinted that "strange situations" had occurred during his tenure.
Brazil's Globo TV, meanwhile, claims that Piquet's spin on the warm-up lap of the Singapore event was a practice for the similar-looking crash that brought out the safety car and boosted his teammate Fernando Alonso to the head of the field.
AS said it is clear that Renault will vigorously deny the claims at the extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris later this month. 09/05/09 Nelson Piquet Jr himself or those close to him are believed to the source behind the FIA's investigation into Renault's actions in Singapore last year.
Earlier this week the FIA announced that Renault would face an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council to answer charges under Article 151c of the International Sporting Code relating to last year's inaugural night race.
The FIA have accused Renault of having 'conspired with its driver, Nelson Piquet Jr, to cause a deliberate crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix with the aim of causing the deployment of the safety car to the advantage of its other driver, Fernando Alonso.'
The charges come also a full year after the grand prix took place, prompting some speculation as to why now.
And according to The Times, it all stems from Renault's recent sacking of Piquet Jr.
'It is believed the FIA was originally informed of allegations that the Renault team asked Piquet to crash in an attempt to help Alonso, who won the race, by sources close to Piquet, if not by Piquet himself, after his recent dismissal from the team,' the newspaper claims.
In the wake of the allegations, the FIA employed Quest to investigate with the private intelligence agency looking into the incident.
'Investigators have conducted extensive interviews with Renault team members - among them the team principal, Flavio Briatore, who has told friends he knew nothing of the alleged plans, Pat Symonds, the engineering director, and Alonso,' the newspaper continued
'Investigators have also looked at telemetry from Piquet's car and radio transmissions from the Renault pitwall to the Brazilian's car during the race up until the moment he crashed on lap 14. It is thought the radio recordings could be significant in the outcome of the case and may show that Piquet was regularly questioning his pitwall about which lap he was on immediately before the crash.'
Should Renault be found guilty the team could face exclusion and suspension, although many believe they could be banned from Formula One entirely. PlanetF1.com09/04/09 Renault released a statement regarding the matter on Friday evening:
'The ING Renault F1 Team acknowledges the FIA's request for representatives of the team to appear before the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on the 21st of September 2009. Before attending the hearing, the team will not make any further comment.'
09/04/09 (GMM) F1's governing body has charged Renault with conspiring with Nelson Piquet to crash deliberately at the 2008 Singapore grand prix.
Following a tip-off that came to light around the time of last weekend's Belgian GP, the FIA interviewed team members at Spa-Francorchamps and has been carrying out a further investigation in recent days.
Now, representatives of the Enstone based outfit "have been requested to appear before an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris" on 21 September, a statement on Friday confirmed.
The FIA accuses the French team of conspiring with Piquet, ousted by boss and manager Flavio Briatore recently, "to cause a deliberate crash ... with the aim of causing the deployment of the safety car to the advantage of its other driver, Fernando Alonso".
The World Council will decide whether Renault breached Article 151c of the International Sporting Code which relates to "fraudulent conduct" that is against "the interests of motor sport".
Penalties can range from fines to total expulsion from F1.