F1 team chiefs leave, Renault won't dispute race-fix allegations
16 September 2009

Renault team boss Flavio Briatore and engineering chief Pat Symonds have parted company with the team - and Renault has said it will "not dispute" the allegations of race-fixing when it appears before the World Motor Sport Council next week.

The team had been accused of asking driver Nelson Piquet to crash deliberately during last year's Singapore Grand Prix in order to cause a safety car period that would work to his team-mate Fernando Alonso's advantage. The Spaniard went on to win the race.

Alan Henry blog - Are team orders and race fixing the same thing?

"The ING Renault F1 Team will not dispute the recent allegations made by the FIA concerning the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix," said a statement from the team.

"It also wishes to state that its managing director, Flavio Briatore and its executive director of engineering, Pat Symonds, have left the team.

"Before attending the hearing before the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on 21 September 2009, the team will not make any further comment."

Shortly before losing his drive with Renault, Piquet approached the FIA with the allegation that Briatore and Symonds had asked him to cause a deliberate accident that would bring out the safety car in Singapore, and that his heavy crash on lap 14 of the race had therefore been pre-planned.

Alonso - who had been a contender for pole until a qualifying fuel pump failure left him only 15th on the grid - had made a very early pitstop just before the caution caused by Piquet's crash and duly vaulted to the front of the field, from where he delivered Renault's first victory of a difficult season.

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

FIA investigators quizzed Briatore, Symonds and other team members over the incident during the Belgian GP weekend, and subsequently announced that the team would face a World Motor Sport Council hearing in Paris on 21 September.

Evidence, including Piquet's statement, telemetry details and radio transmissions, was leaked to the media during last weekend's Monza event, which also saw Renault announce that it would take legal action against Piquet and his triple world champion father Nelson, accusing both of blackmail.

The saga then took another twist when it emerged that the FIA had offered Symonds immunity at the hearing in exchange for full disclosure of the facts surrounding the Singapore incident.

According to autosport.com, as the Renault team - rather than Briatore and Symonds themselves - has been charged over the allegations, today's announcement by the team is unlikely to have any bearing on next week's hearing.

Twitter - follow autocar.co.uk

Join the debate


16 September 2009

After the leaked transcript from the Pat Symonds interview, im not surprised they wont be disputing the charge.

This is an absolutely disgraceful episode and I trust that both the team and the indviduals involved will be heavily punished.

16 September 2009

I wonder what would become of Fernando Alonso......................................

16 September 2009

the individuals can not be punished by the FIA as all of them have left the sport, Reanault can be punished. But all of them can be arrested under criminal law possibly, most of all piquet as the pre planned crash could have injured innocent people.

16 September 2009

Oh My GOD! First McLaren then Renault caught cheating.....The common detominator?? Fernando.

I love F1 but am embarrassed to publicly say so - more so now!

if it's heavy, it ain't happenin' 

16 September 2009

[quote beachland2] the individuals can not be punished by the FIA as all of them have left the sport[/quote]

Presumably the FIA can however place a ban on them working within the sport for a defined period?

I would also expect Renault to consider an action against Flavio for any losses they suffer as a result.

16 September 2009

thats possible, could be some work place law that Renault may want to take against their employees. but it might be unwanted attention for them,

flavio wont be in f1 again, i doubt symonds will want to come back. piquet is unemployable in any form of sport.

16 September 2009

Briatore should be barred from ever holding a position in a Formula 1 team again and Renault should be banned for the remainder of the 2009 season and have their points erased. By not earning any points, they won't get a sizeable share of the television rights cash at the end of the season, which is a fitting punishment.

16 September 2009

So Briatore, the arsehole, wanted Piquet Sr. arrested and slung in prison for blackmail - until it was found out what Piquet said was true. Add conspiracy to the charge sheet for this superannuated lothario clown.

Briatore, Mosley the perv, Ecclestone the poison dwarf, Hamilton's mis-truths, McLaren's data stealing, on and on - F1 is a F*cking circus, so far removed from any notion of a real sport as to make Premier League football look corinthian. Money corrupts, power corrupts, absolutely. Why wasn't that jerk Ghosn and his lieutenants at Renault's HQ overseeing what Briatore was up to? I suppose like BMW, Honda and Toyota their participation in the Circus was a nice jolly for senior mgt. and massaged their egos whilst the times were good, in the days of plenty from 2001-8 but now like everything else, once the plug of eternal money, power and fawning from gullible fools is pulled they all look pretty sh*tty, two-bit hucksters, not the gods they claimed to be.

16 September 2009

Got to say, Briatore has never impressed me as a person or an F1 team manager. I always thought he was scum the way he treats people and this seems to confirm it.

Cheating to win a race, telling a driver if he wants to keep his place in the team he has to endanger his life and others, and then trying to get criminal proceedings against him when he speaks out.

Hardly a prince among men is he?

16 September 2009

That's a fair admission of guilt from Renault. The hearing should be briefer than Piquet junior's career.


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week