Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Briatore out! Symonds out! Renault out?

Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds have parted company with Renault today ahead of the FIA World Motorsports Council hearing next Monday regarding the alledged race fixing at last years Singapore Grand Prix.

Sacked Renault driver Nelson Piquet Jr contacted the FIA to say that he had been instructed to deliberately crash his car during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix by Briatore and Symonds which allowed his then team mate Fernando Alonso to go on and win the race.

Alonso had taken a very early pit stop and Piquet's crash caused the safety car to be deployed ruining the race strategies of the other teams.

In a statement issued today, Renault said “The ING Renault F1 Team will not dispute the recent allegations made by the FIA concerning the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix”. They went on to make it clear that Briatore and Symonds had left the team.

Last Friday, Renault and Briatore launched criminal proceedings against Piquet Jr and Snr for making false allegations and blackmail.

Oh dear, oh dear. It looks like the perma tanned one has shot himself well and truly in the foot this time!

It would appear that Renault are holding their hands up to the crime which will leave Briatore hung out to dry. No doubt he will be sued by the Piquets and Renault, maybe even by their title sponsor ING and others.

If found guilty by the FIA, which on the face of it looks pretty clear cut, Renault have to be (at least) in line for disqualification from the 2009 Championship and a ban for next year, or possibly even longer.

Ecclestone has been shrewd as usual and has covered his bases well.

This week, Malaysian owned Lotus has been announced as the official thirteenth team on the 2010 grid and BMW Sauber, who announced their departure from F1 earlier this season but have now been bought by Swiss backers, are the first reserve team in case one of the other teams drops out.....

One consequence of a Renault ban would be engine supply to customer teams although that may be mitigated by the return of Cosworth who will be supplying engines for all the new teams including Lotus.

I personally will be glad to see the back of Briatore in F1.

He was nothing more than a bully, and as has now been shown, a cheat willing to put the lives of drivers, marshalls and spectators at risk for the sake of ten World Championship points.

Nelson Piquet Jr should have a smile of satisfaction on his face right now knowing he has had the last laugh overhis tormentor Briatore. The problem is this sorry episode has probably snuffed out his F1 career before it has had a chance to blossom.

The fact he went along with the race fix plan for whatever reason shows a serious lack of judgment in my opinion.

Pat Symonds should have known better too. His long career may now be in tatters although it is rumoured the FIA have offered him immunity from punishment if he gives evidence against the team.

The FIA, and Max Mosley in particular, would take great satisfaction in destroying Briatore once and for all.

How about Alonso? Was he in on the plan too? He will no doubt deny any knowledge of it but I find that hard to believe. Seeing the underhand way in which he conducted himself at McLaren, conspiring against Ron Dennis with the FIA, makes me extremely suspicious.

It will be very interesting to see what comes out at the FIA hearing next week.

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