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.

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Renault – The crashgate verdict

Renault F1

The World Motor Sport Council handed suspended lifetime F1 ban to Renault (suspended for 2 years), life time motor sport ban to Flavio Briatore (it appears to include driver management as well) and 5 years ban to Pat Symonds. The WMSC concluded that Fernando Alonso was not in any way involved in Renault F1’s breach of the regulations. Here is the full text of the verdict:

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Briatore and Symonds leave Renault

Flavio Briatore

Flavio Briatore

And here it comes. ING Renault F1 Team issued statement today informing that its managing director, Flavio Briatore and its executive director of engineering, Pat Symonds, have left the team. The team also announced that it will not dispute the allegations made by the FIA concerning the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. So, it took Piquets only about 6 weeks to get their revenge …

It will be interesting to see what effect will this have on the outcome of September 21 WMSC meeting….

The full text of the statement:

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Piquet asked to crash or was it his idea ? – Updated

More details on Singapore 2008 emerge

More details on Singapore 2008 emerge

Less than 2 weeks before the WMSC hearing Autosport came up with more details on the Singapore-Renault-Piquet-Alonso story. Here are the main points of the article:

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.

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Links: Renault has a date with WMSC

2008 Singapore GP - Safety Car

On Friday FIA announced that representatives of ING Renault F1 have been requested to appear before an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Monday, 21 September 2009.

The team representatives have been called to answer charges, including a breach of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code, that the team conspired with its driver, Nelson Piquet Jr, to cause a deliberate crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix with the aim of causing the deployment of the safety car to the advantage of its other driver, Fernando Alonso.

A lot has been written about this case in recent days, here are links to some interesting articles and blog posts on the Nelson Piquet’s 2008 Singapore GP crash topic:

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FIA investigates 2008 Singapore GP crash by Piquet

Was this all planned by Renault ?

Was this all carefully planned by Renault ?

Bizzare, bizzare … And I am not talking about the pole position or podium for Force India. FIA confirmed that an investigation is underway regarding the crash in Singapore last year by Nelson Piquet that resulted in above pictured safety car period that seriously contributed to the unexpected and lucky race win the Renault driver.

“The FIA can confirm that an investigation is underway regarding alleged events at a previous world championship race.”

I was there in Singapore watching the race from the grandstands with my friends. We joked about the conveniently timed crash by Renault driver that helped the other, we joked. Who would want to believe that someone can be mad enough to ask a driver to smash his car into the wall.

Now it looks like some fresh evidence has surfaced and FIA decided to step in. One can wonder if the sudden attention a  year old accident is getting may have anything to do with the recent unhappy departure of Nelson Piquet from Renault F1 team.

This is going to get interesting … I am also interested to see how will Renault the company react to this…

New on 2009 F1 grid – Badoer and Grosjean

Luca Badoer returns to F1 racing

Luca Badoer returns to F1 racing

Following Jaime Alguersuari’s debut in Hungary there will another two new names on 2009 F1 grid this weekend in Valencia. Luca Badoer will step in for injured Felipe Massa, Romain Grosjean will replace Nelson Piquet in Renault. Here are short introductions of both drivers:

Luca Badoer, Ferrari

Following his 1992 F3000 championship title Luca Badoer moved up to Formula One in 1993. He made his F1 debut with the Ferrari powered Lola BMS. His best F1 race finish to date came in the fourth race of that season – 7th place in the 1993 San Marino GP. Unfortunately for him those days only top 6 scored the points…

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Grosjean named as Piquet’s replacement

Romain Grosjean will make his F1 debut in Valencia

Romain Grosjean will make his F1 debut in Valencia

Renault today officially ended the period of guessing and speculations. As expected Romain Grosjean has been officially confirmed as Renault F1 driver replacing Nelson Piquet jr.

This season Romain has been the team’s third driver and has attended all races. In 2007 he was Formula 3 Euro Series champion and in 2008 he won the GP2 Asia Series. This season, Romain has been competing in the GP2 Series with Barwa Addax and has won 2 races.

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Renault fined but will race in Valencia

Fernando Alonso will race in Spain this weekend

Fernando Alonso will race in Spain this weekend

FIA Court of Appeal overturned Renault’s one-race suspension today. Instead the team was fined $50,000. This means that Fernando Alonso will be able to race in front of Spanish fans this weekend in Valencia.

Renault hasn’t officially confirmed yet who will be their second driver at the European GP. Romain Grosjean is expected to fill the vacancy created by Nelson Piquet’s exit.

Here is the FIA statement:

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2010 Formula 1 drivers – The first look

2010 F1 Drivers

Unlike last season this year we have already had some mid-season drivers changes. Jaime Alguersuari has replaced Sebastien Bourdais in Toro Rosso, Nelson Piquet was dropped by Renault and Luca Badoer is about to step in to Ferrari F60 for injured Felipe Massa. Unlike last year we can also expect some serious shuffle to come before the 2010 season begins. BMW is on their way out, 3 (or 4) new teams are on the way in, several contracts are up for renewal (or else). Let’s have a first look how the things are (or may be) shaping up:

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The best debut year of a Brazilian driver in F1 ?

Nelson Piquet and Nelson Piquet

There has been a lot of talk about Nelson Piquet’s statement and especially what he had to say about Flavio Briatore. This however is the part that caught my attention:

“In 2008 I scored 19 points, finished once on the podium in second place, having the best debut year of a Brazilian driver in F1.”

Whether he is right or not it depends on what one considers as having the best debut year. A comment from Carlos (under previous post) made me to look up statistics on other Brazilian drivers. I selected the most successful ones.

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Nelson Piquet confirms Renault exit

Nelson Piquet

Nelson Piquet

Nelson Piquet issued statement confirming his Renault exit. He is officially out. Judging from the contents of the statement one may think that he is actually glad his Renault nightmare is over:

“I feel a sense of relief for the end of the worst period of my career, and the possibility that I can now move on and put my career back on the right track and try to recover my reputation of a fast, winning driver.”

Piquet also included a piece of rather interesting and perhaps surprising statistics:

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2014 Teams and Drivers

Red Bull
Sebastian VETTEL
Daniel RICCIARDO
Ferrari
Fernando ALONSO
Kimi RAIKKONEN
McLaren
Jenson BUTTON
Kevin MAGNUSSEN
Lotus
Romain GROSJEAN
Pastor MALDONADO
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Nico ROSBERG
Lewis HAMILTON
Sauber
Adrian SUTIL
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Nico HULKENBERG
Sergio PEREZ
Williams
Felipe MASSA
Valtteri BOTTAS
Toro Rosso
Daniil KVYAT
Jean Eric VERGNE
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Marcus ERICSSON
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2014 F1 Calendar

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6-8 June - Canada
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25-27 July - Hungary
22-24 August - Belgium
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31 October-2 November - USA
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