Rigging a race, be it whispered, is not an altogether palatable thing to do, particularly in the light of Renault’s admission today that it will not be contesting accusations that it encouraged Nelson Piquet junior to crash deliberately in last year’s Singapore grand prix in order to help team leader Fernando Alonso win the inaugural night race on the Marina Bay street circuit.
However, whether or not you believe that it is a hanging offence depends what you think about FIA presidential candidate Jean Todt’s decision – in his previous incarnation as Ferrari team principal - to to order Rubens Barrichello to hand victory to Michael Schumacher in the 2002 Austrian GP. Or the couple of occasions McLaren told David Coulthard to defer to Mika Hakkinen.
Rigging the race? Or just applying a bit of team strategy? The dividing line between the two is precariously slim.
Clearly, the Renault top brass decided to capitulate ahead of the flood of volcanic lava which threatened to overwhelm it. Renault has confirmed that Flavio Briatore, the high profile managing director, and Pat Symonds, the executive director of engineering, have left the team ahead of next Monday’s meeting of the FIA world motor sport council which will convene in Paris to discuss what penalties should be imposed on Renault going forwards.