FIA Verdict: Renault handed suspended disqualification
21 September 2009 – Formula One governing body the FIA has handed the Renault team a suspended disqualification from the World Championship following Monday's World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) hearing in Paris. The punishment will be placed on hold until the end of the 2011 season and will only become active should a similar happening take place before then.
Monday's hearing in Paris signalled what should be the end of the 'Crashgate' scandal. The FIA believes that the team did indeed cause a deliberate crash in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix but, having taken into account an apology from the Enstone team plus the fact that former chiefs Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds left the outfit last Wednesday, Renault appears to have come off lightly.
An official FIA statement reads:
'At an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council held in Paris on 21 September 2009, the ING Renault F1 team ("Renault F1") admitted that the team had conspired with its driver Nelson Piquet Jr. to cause a deliberate crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, in breach of the International Sporting Code and F1 Sporting Regulations.
Renault F1 stated at the meeting that it had conducted a detailed internal investigation, which found that: (i) Flavio Briatore, Pat Symonds and Nelson Piquet Jr. had conspired to cause the crash; and (ii) no other team member was involved in the conspiracy.'
Having used information based on its own investigation of the incident in Marina Bay, the FIA listed the reasons why the penalty is suspended (and set to expire at the end of 2011) as opposed to an instant banishing from Formula One:
- Renault confessed as early as possible in the hearing
- Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds, two of the men responsible, are no longer part of the team
- Renault unreservedly apologised to the FIA
- Renault agreed to cover the FIA's costs for the investigation
- Renault (the manufacturer) agreed to commit itself to FIA-related safety projects
'Nelson Piquet Jr. also apologised unreservedly to the World Motor Sport Council for his part in the conspiracy.'
More on Renault's Monday WMSC hearing:
- Briatore banned permanently from F1
- Symonds suspended from F1 for 5 years
- No punishment for Piquet
- Alonso not involved in scandal
- Full apology from Renault
- 'Bitter regret' for Piquet