Two-year suspended ban for team, Briatore and Symonds punished too
21 September 2009

Renault has been handed a two-year suspended ban for its involvement in fixing the result of last year's Singapore Grand Prix, while Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds have received 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.

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.

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Comments
23

21 September 2009

A cop out to keep Renault in the sport (and other lower formulae, etc). They've admitted cheating, but have confessed early so the punishment is of course reduced, but no mention on how large the donation to the FIA is. I think they got off lightly considering the type of offence and the potential dangers involved. It annoys me that Piquet Jnr got immunity, but probably the lesser of the evils on balance, and hopefully no one will let him near a racing car again.

Best thing is the punishment to the odious Briatore. Not able to have his contracted drivers get a Superlicense, effectively making his existing contracts null and void. His behaviour was pretty appalling towards fellow humans, and looking at the transcripts of the pitwall conversations the guy has nothing to contribute except cr*p anyway. Maybe he should have concentrated on marketing the image of F1 and stayed away on race days? These people normally land on their feet somewhere else, so let see...

21 September 2009

[quote Pauldalg]These people normally land on their feet somewhere else, so let see...[/quote]

From what I've seen of Briatore he'll probably land on his back, sunbathing on one of his yachts with some supermodel next to him (and yes, I am jealous).

A complete whitewash. Makes me wonder why they bothered with the hearing at all.

21 September 2009

Why doesn't an act of "unparalleled severity" warrant an unparalleled penalty, or are 100 million dollar fines not considered as severe as a suspended sentence? I'd like Ron Dennis' view on this.

 

21 September 2009

the whole Fia council needs replacing, it must be filled with something rotten to come up with this disgraceful result.

Renault should be banned as of 2008. If they still want a leg in F1 they could use Nissan which they have a 50% share of. I'd rather see Nissan in F1.

21 September 2009

Agree with most of the sentiment - it's a complete cop out and a disgrace. Can't help wondering what would have happened if it had been McLaren with Lewis Hamilton gaining the advantage. I can't believe that Alonso was oblivious and has remained oblivious up until the point Piquet blew the whistle. All that has been swept under the carpet and not even investigeted by the sound of it.

21 September 2009

Sorry but why is it a cop out, disgrace or whitewash? The people responsible lost their jobs and their potential to earn money ever again in the sport. Why should the remainder of the team who are no doubt decent people be punished by it any further? What exactly do you want to see?

This punishment is spot on. Just right.

21 September 2009

[quote MartyB59]I can't believe that Alonso was oblivious and has remained oblivious up until the point Piquet blew the whistle.[/quote]

Neither can I.

Two times World Cheat Alonso! First at McLaren, then Renault. How he managed to stay clean again I don't know.

Plus, if you consider that race fix directly affected the outcome of the world championship, that Massa should have got points from the race, what Renault got today was nothing. They should have been banned from the sport for at least one full season.

21 September 2009

Renault have got off very lightly indeed, compared to recent punishments, not just the McLaren situation, the Honda race bans for the fuel tank springs to mind. Renault, at least, should have been docked points (10 seems appropriate) from this season as well as a fine.

I can't help but wonder if a deal was stuck where Renault commit to stay in F1 for a lenient punishment...

...and I'm not normally one for conspiracies...

21 September 2009

[quote Steelydan]The people responsible lost their jobs and their potential to earn money ever again in the sport[/quote]

These people were employed directly by Renault so by association it is just as much their fault. They can't use the it wasn't use arguement, it doesn't wash.

If Virgin manage to crash one of their trains (which would presumably arrive late to the scene of the accident) the bosses can't say 'it was our drivers fault, nothing to do with me gov.' . The same applies here.

21 September 2009

[quote Symanski]

[quote MartyB59]I can't believe that Alonso was oblivious and has remained oblivious up until the point Piquet blew the whistle.[/quote]

Neither can I.

Two times World Cheat Alonso! First at McLaren, then Renault. How he managed to stay clean again I don't know..

[/quote]

How about the fact that there is no evidence against the guy? Or does that not count? The cheating at McLaren was committed by the team itself when it stole tenchnical data from another team, not Alonso.

Also, you might want to consider that the real beneficiary of Renault's cheating was not so much Alonso and his rather pointless win, but Lewis Hamilton and McLaren. In the race where Piquet crashed his car, Massa had qualified on pole and was leading the race when the crash happened. And essentially as a result of the crash, Massa ended up 13th while Hamilton ended up 3rd, giving him 6 points to Massa's zero, and as we all know, Hamilton won the championship by one point.

All that said, the punishment handed out to Renault does seem lenient.

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