Renault won’t fight crash allegations

Renault has announced it will “not dispute” the allegations of racefixing when it appears before the World Motor Sport Council next week

Renault has announced it will “not dispute” the allegations of race fixing when it appears before the World Motor Sport Council next week, and that team principal Flavio Briatore and director of engineering Pat Symonds have left the company.

The two men stand accused of conspiring with former driver Nelson Piquet Jr. to crash on purpose at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, prompting a safety car period that helped promote teammate Fernando Alonso to victory.

In August, angry at being fired from Renault, Piquet drew his actions in Singapore to the attention of the sport’s governing body, the FIA.

Renault threatened to sue Piquet and his family over “false allegations and a related attempt to blackmail the team” ahead of last week’s Italian Grand Prix, but after Pat Symonds stonewalled an FIA investigation, and his statement was leaked to the press, the manufacturer was backed into a corner. By plea bargaining, it is likely Renault will escape harsh sentencing despite the fact that the actions of three of its employees put lives at risk and has damaged the sport’s credibility.

Piquet has been offered immunity, but Briatore and Symonds — who is one of the most respected engineers in F1 — may face a lifetime ban from international motor sport.

In addition, Briatore, a colourful entrepreneur who has had relationships with Naomi Campbell and Heidi Klum, may face further humiliation. Briatore is part owner of football club Queens Park Rangers and may fall foul of the British Football League’s “Fit and Proper Person’s Test,” which rules no one can be a director of a club if they are “subject to a ban from a sport’s governing body.”

 
 
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