Symonds exempt from FIA punishment
15 September 2009 – Formula One governing body the FIA has granted Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering at Renault, immunity in the controversial case surrounding race-fixing in last year's Singapore Grand Prix. Like driver Nelson Piquet, the Englishman will not receive a possible punishment of a lifetime ban from the sport providing that honest evidence is provided.
Piquet claims that both Symonds and Managing Director Flavio Briatore instructed the Brazilian to crash deliberately during the night race in order to encourage the deployment of the Safety Car in order to aid team-mate Fernando Alonso's race victory.
The Spaniard duly took the chequered flag and Renault's first win of the year although Renault will attend an FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) hearing on Monday 21 September.
Providing the FIA feels a full and sincere description of events is provided by Symonds, he will not be charged with a lifetime ban from Formula One. The Times reports on Tuesday that the Englishman refused to answer initial questioning from an FIA advisor, pointing out the following quote: "I have no intention of lying to you. I have not lied to you, but I have reserved my position just a little."
It is believed that the FIA-appointed stewards from this year's Belgian Grand Prix have analysed the telemetry information of Piquet's car during the race, claiming that - having viewed the data - Piquet's claims are 'reasonable' and 'on balance'.