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Team charged with asking Piquet to deliberately crash in Singapore last year

Renault will appear before an extraordinary hearing of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council later this month to answer charges that it caused a deliberate crash in last year's Singapore GP.

The French team will have to defend itself against claims that it asked its driver, Nelson Piquet, to deliberately crash to bring out a safety car, which eventually helped team-mate Fernando Alonso take the victory.

Tthe FIA said: "Representatives of ING Renault F1 have been requested to appear before an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Monday 21 September 2009.

"The team representatives have been called to answer charges, including a breach of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code, that the team 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."

Article 151c is the standard disrepute charge, which can result in any severity of punishment, ranging from reprimands and fines through to race bans and exclusion from the world championship.

At the time of the event, Piquet was adamant that the crash had been caused simply by him pushing too hard.

"It was my mistake," said the Brazilian. "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."

In response to the charges, Renault said: "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."

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