The “crashgate” hearing – Someone lied but it does not matter

Yesterday FIA published the complete dossier of evidence, the official decision and surprisingly even posted the audio recording of the hearing (and the decision). You can download the documents and listen to the audio here.

We have all known the decisions of the World Motor Sport Council since Monday. Now we also know how and why the council made those decisions.

Perhaps the only secret not leaked out before the hearing was the Witness X – an unidentified Renault employee who testified in very much the same fashion as Pat Symonds. This whistle-blower provided the key evidence that there had been conspiracy and named Flavio Briatore, Pat Symonds and Nelson Piquet as the conspirators. Witness X was present at the Singapore race day meeting but played no part in the conspiracy.

Now, here is what I do not understand. Both Pat Symonds and Witness X said in their testimonies that the idea to crash came from Nelson Piquet jr. :

This is Pat Symonds' version

This is Pat Symonds' version

Version of Witness X

Version of Witness X

Nelson Piquet's version

Nelson Piquet's version

So either both Symonds and the Witness X lied or Nelson Piquet lied.

This is what Max Mosley said during the Nelson Piquet “decision” speech:

We said at the beginning that we would offer him the immunity if he told the truth. We think he has told the truth therefore we will apply no sanctions in this case.

So, the FIA decided Nelson Piquet said the truth.

This is part of Mosley’s speech pointing out why the sanctions applied to Mr. Symonds are not as harsh as those applied to Mr. Briatore:

… but in Mr. Symonds’ case, in recognition of the fact that he has not lied either to us either to the stewards or to the world at large unlike Mr. Briatore, he has written a letter of apology, he is obviously very upset about what he’s done, and unlike Mr. Briatore he has been completely open, and that have been the case we intend to apply those sanctions to Mr. Symonds for period of 5 years …

So, the FIA says that Mr. Symonds has not lied either.

However the stories presented by Mr. Piquet and Mr. Symonds (and Witness X) do not match … At least one of the true statements is laced with some lies …

Graham Stoker questioned Mr. Piquet about this “discrepancy” during the hearing (about 19min25sec mark of the recording). Nelson Piquet replied in line with his previous statements and then Mr. Philips, his lawyer, came to Piquet’s defense ridiculing the possibility that 20 something guy, a junior driver in a team could have come up with such strategy. And that was it, no more questions on this topic.

Well, the question is not about who came up with the strategy. We know the strategy came from Mr. Symonds, nobody seems to dispute that. The question is, who came up with the idea to deliberately crash the car. Both Symonds and Piquet were praised by FIA for their cooperation and truthfulness, both were to certain extent rewarded for it. One of them however lied and FIA does not seem to care, it is immaterial:

FIA view

2013 Teams and Drivers

Red Bull
1. Sebastian VETTEL
3. Fernando ALONSO
4. Felipe MASSA
5. Jenson BUTTON
6. Sergio PEREZ
8. Romain GROSJEAN
10. Lewis HAMILTON
12. Esteban GUTIEREZ
Force India
14. Paul di RESTA
15. Adrian SUTIL
16. Pastor MALDONADO
17. Valtteri BOTTAS
Toro Rosso
18. Daniel RICCIARDO
19. Jean Eric VERGNE
20. Charles PIC
21. Giedo van der GARDE
24. Jules BIANCHI

2013 F1 Calendar

15-17 March - Australia
22-24 March - Malaysia
12-14 April - China
19-21 April - Bahrain
10-12 May - Spain
23-26 May - Monaco
07-09 June - Canada
28-30 June - Great Britain
5-7 July - Germany
26-28 July - Hungary
23-25 August - Belgium
06-08 September - Italy
20-22 September - Singapore
04-06 October - Korea
11-13 October - Japan
25-27 October - India
01-03 November - Abu Dhabi
15-17 November - USA
22-24 November - Brazil


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