Monday, 21 September 2009

F1 Singapore Race Fix - FIA cop out let's Renault off the hook

Bye bye Flav - don't come back too soon! (picture by Nicogenin)

The FIA World Motor Sports Council held it's must anticipated extraordinary meeting in Paris today to decide the fate of the Renault F1 team following their investigation into the Singapore race fix scandal.

The FIA have decided to slap Renault with a two year suspended ban from Formula 1 following their admission of race fixing at last year's Singapore Grand Prix.

The perma tanned lothario Briatore has been given an indefinite ban from all things F1 including driver management, which would appear to leave Alonso, Grosjean, Kovalainen and Webber on the lookout for a new representation.

Fellow conspirator Pat Symonds has received a lesser five year ban due to his co-operation with the FIA investigation.

Both Symonds and Briatore were sacked by Renault earlier this week in advance of the WMSC hearing.

According to the World Motor Sport Council, Renault’s plot to cause a deliberate crash was "an offence of unparalleled severity which warranted permanent disqualification from the sport"

Despite this, it decided to suspend the sentence for two years after taking into account Renault’s unreserved apology and swift action in parting with Briatore and Symonds.

The disqualification will only be activated if Renault is found guilty of a “comparable breach” between now and the end of the 2011 season.

What an absolute cop out!

Members of the Renault F1 team conspired to cause a deliberate accident which could easily have resulted in serious injury (or even worse) to Piquet, other drivers, the marshalls or spectators.

The punishment - if you can call it that - effectively amounts to no more than a slap on the wrist.

No points deduction. No race ban. Not even a reversal of last year's Singapore race result.

Contrast that with the way that McLaren was dealt with after the Ferrari "spygate" incident or Lewis Hamilton after the Australian Grand Prix.

There is simply no consistancy in the way FIA punishments are meted out. The plain truth is, the FIA were scared another manufacturer would leave F1.

Mosley will of course have the satisfaction of knowing that his arch rival and constant critic Briatore is permanently out of the picture before he hangs up his boots at the FIA.

On the other hand, Nelson Piquet Jr's fledgling F1 career now lies in tatters despite being granted immunity from the FIA for giving evidence against Renault.

He has apologised profusely for his part in events and stated that he wants a second chance to show his true potential in the future.

Somehow I don't see that there will be a queue of teams falling over themselves to take him on next year!

This is a shame because I believe away from Briatore's dictatatorial regime he may just have had a chance to blossom (look at the difference in Jenson Button since moving away from Renault).

I saw Piquet race at the innaugral A1 GP at Brands Hatch a few years back and he wiped the floor with everyone there including several former F1 drivers.

The only way I believe Piquet will be reappearing in a F1 car in the near future is if he, or more likely his father, is able to bankroll a drive with one of the new teams joining in 2010.

Renault claim that they conducted a thorough internal investigation into the race fix allegations and in line with the FIA's own investigation (what a surprise) found that “Flavio Briatore, Pat Symonds and Nelson Piquet Jr had conspired to cause the crash” and that “no other team member was involved in the conspiracy”.

To be honest this sounds to me like yet another load of old tosh.

Fernando Alonso has therefore been absolved both by Renault and the FIA from taking any part in what happened in Singapore.

I find it very hard indeed to believe that a very experienced driver like Alonso (lynch pin of the Renault Team) when asked to make a stop on lap thirteen of the race would not question this strategy.....

It would not surprise me if more revelations come to light over the next few weeks and months.

Do you agree with me, or do you have your own views on this post?

If so, why not leave a comment now?

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