A meeting took place between Nelson Piquet, Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds few hours before the 2008 Singapore race. The tactics for the race was discussed. That is where the possibility of deliberate crash is said to have came up.
According to the Autosport article Piquet claims he was instructed to crash at Turn 17 on lap 13 or 14, after Alonso’s pit stop. Turn 17 was selected as there were no cranes around and any crash in that corner would result in safety car.
The reason why the matter is going to WMSC is the telemetry data that is said to reveal that Piquet kept accelerating at Turn 17 on the lap he crashed.
Both Briatore and Symonds confirm the meeting took place. But while Briatore is said to have claimed that “nothing like that was ever talked about”, Pat Symonds is reported saying that “during the Sunday meeting with Piquet the issue of deliberately causing a SC deployment came up, but it was proposed by Piquet himself. It was just a conversation.”
Here is the link to the Autosport article.
Looks like it may all come down to finding out who came up with the deliberate crash idea …
Nelson Piquet jr. provided his statement on the events to Singapore. Here is the excerpt:
5. I wish to bring the following facts to the FIA’s attention.
6. During the Formula One Grand Prix of Singapore, held on 28 September 2008 and counting towards the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship, I was asked by Mr. Flavio Briatore, who is both my manager and the Team Principal of the ING Renault F1 Team, and by Mr. Pat Symonds, the Technical Director of the Renault F1 Team, to deliberately crash my car in order to positively influence the performance of the ING Renault F1 Team at the event in question. I agreed to this proposal and caused my car to hit a wall and crash during lap thirteen/fourteen of the race.
7. The proposal to deliberately cause an accident was made to me shortly before the race took place, when I was summoned by Mr. Briatore and Mr. Symonds in Mr. Briatore’s office. Mr. Symonds, in the presence of Mr. Briatore, asked me if I would be willing to sacrifice my race for the team by “causing a safety car”. Every F1 race driver knows that the safety car is deployed on a track when there is an accident which leads to the track being blocked either by debris or a stationary car, and where it is difficult to recover a damaged car, as was the case here.