Briatore: I was not involved in Crashgate
29 April 2013 – Ex-Formula 1 team boss Flavio Briatore still claims that he was not involved in the Singapore crash scandal of 2008, when Nelson Piquet Jr. intentionally hit the barriers in order to clear a path for then Renault team-mate Fernando Alonso to secure victory.
Briatore was suspended for life by governing body the FIA when Piquet Jr., who was fired by the Italian businessman the following year, issued a document detailing the pre-race plans to cause a Safety Car period, but the sentence was overturned by the French courts because he was no longer employed by Renault and therefore did not fall under FIA rules. Now the 63-year-old says he was not a part of the plot.
"The court in Paris was very clear; I was not involved at all," Briatore explained during an interview with F1 Racing magazine. "That is what the letter said. It's official. There was no proof that I was involved in Singapore. Which is the reason I won in court.
"If what people claimed about Singapore was true, then why did I fire Piquet in the middle of the next season? Why take that risk? Why not renew the contract because it would be 30 or 40 per cent less money and there would be no trouble if all this was true. I had Fernando back and, for me, the second driver was not important."
Briatore, who owns a popular restaurant in Monaco and is the man behind the Billionaire clothing brand, says he is unlikely to return to the sport despite the lifetime FIA ban being eradicated, with his focus on his family and business ventures.
"No, I don't think so," he said when asked if he would ever make a comeback. "Now I have a son, three years old; I'm working 20 hours a day for different businesses, different investments, different situations, both here and over in America; I'm very happy.I was in Formula 1 for 20 years, won seven championships with two different teams, discovered the two big stars after Ayrton Senna: Schumi and Fernando.
"I know everything that's going on and I know to have a team at this moment makes no sense financially. So, there is no reason for me to come back to F1."