Former F1 champion Nicki Lauda told Mail Online that crashgate is "the worst thing that has happened in Formula One.
"There is only one other incident that comes near – Michael Schumacher parking his Ferrari on the racing line at Monaco in 2006 to block Fernando Alonso's last qualifying lap."
"But, really, even that is not comparable.
"This time it was about manipulating a race. There was also the obvious danger to Piquet, other drivers and spectators.
"Why did Piquet do it?
"Remember, he was a young driver – more of a child than a man – and was put under pressure by the team who told him what he must do in order to get a new contract. When I drove we were men and would have said no.
"Yes, the McLaren spying scandal two years ago was extremely serious but mechanics have always discussed technical data among themselves.
"This, though, is new. The biggest damage ever. Now the FIA must punish Renault heavily to restore credibility in the sport."