September 18, 2009

FIA knew of Renault's race fixing last year: Nelson Piquet (Snr, not Jnr) apparently went to the FIA last year during the Brazilian race weekend to tell them that Renault asked Nelson Jnr to crash deliberately. The response was that until the latter was prepared to make a statement, they couldn't do anything. It took being fired from the team for him to come forward. The meeting to decide Renault's future is on Monday.

posted by Drood to auto racing at 05:38 PM - 6 comments

Keeping editorial stuff out of the main post, I just wanted to state, in no uncertain terms, that Renault should be booted from the sport because of this. Yes, the instigators are gone, without having to admit their guilt, but these bloody manufacturers need to learn that you do not pull underhanded shit like this.

Marshalls were endangered, spectators endangered etc... Renault gained financially from the fixing due to Alonso's victory. Short of a driver deliberately killing another, I'm having a hard time coming up with anything worse than what Renault have done.

Honestly, in 22 years of watching this sport the closest I can think of to being as disgusted as I am with Renault is when Ferrari had Rubens move over in Austria to let Michael win. As I said the other day on here, at least Ferrari stab you in the chest in full view, not the back.

I am sickened by this story. I adore racing. Always have. This feels like such a betrayal, and I hope that the FIA make an example of Renault and throw them out. No appeal, no nothing. What they did is absolutely vile and reprehensible, and anything short of expulsion will be far too lenient.

The FIA need to send an extremely strong message to the teams that fixing the race will be dealt with in the harshest way possible and you will be gone if you do so.

Fernando Alonso saved F1 for me. During Schumacher's reign of terror I started deliberately missing races. Something I had never done before 2003. (I had seen every race since 1987.) Alonso came along and started winning and I loved his style, his modesty. Very much like Damon Hill (my favourite driver of the 22 years I've been watching) He was basically the anti-Schumacher.

Currently all the evidence indicates he knew nothing. I dearly hope it stays that way. If it comes out that Alonso, my favourite driver by far, is implicated in this and knew... I can't even begin to describe how disappointed I will be in him. When Damon retired, part of the problem with F1 was there was no driver I actually supported. I had likes and dislikes, but no actual driver I cheered for. Alonso changed that.

Anything less than expulsion for Renault will mean the FIA are capitulating to commercial pressures over actually governing the sport and be the final nail in Mosley's corrupt office. There are plenty of teams wanting into F1, and I doubt any other manufacturer will take Renault being booted as anything other than a positive.

Renault need to be shamed. Yes, those responsible (at least those we know of) are gone, but they were still put in place by Renault. They acted on behalf of Renault. They essentially WERE Renault.

With Mosley retiring, one has to wonder will he go out in a blaze of glory?

One final thing... Nelson Piquet Jnr should have done the decent thing from the start. Had he gone to the FIA immediately I think he'd be okay. After all, only a team that cheats would not want him. But to wait until the team he cheated for and helped sacks him, THEN report them is merely an act of revenge, not doing the right thing, and shows his lack of maturity and character.

Just wanted to vent all that out, and my wife is sick of me talking about it:)

It will be with some trepidation that I check Autosport on Monday.

posted by Drood at 06:02 PM on September 18, 2009

My goodness, F1 is currently the most compelling soap opera in sport, and for that, my heart genuinely goes out to Drood and all of its fans. I hope FIA gets this under control because they're starting to invite unpleasant comparisons to WWE.

(and I love me some WWE, just not the soap opera elements)

posted by Joey Michaels at 08:23 PM on September 18, 2009

I almost made the wrestling comparison, but there's a fair few idiots on here who think they're so clever when they mock it I refrained from it.

It's been like this for a while. There was the spying thing. Then the nonsense last year with Lewis being punished at Spa. Then this year we had Lewis lying to the stewards. Then we had the breakaway series thing and the head of the governing body, in all his professional wisdom, calling the team bosses "loonies". Now this.

Oh yes, and let's not forget Max and his Nazi whore fetish.

Just sickens me. Anything less than expulsion from the sport will be the typical ball-less FIA response. A lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Hoping Max chooses "blaze of glory" rather than "capitulating whore".

And fuck Nelson Piquet. The more I've thought about this, I hope Junior never races professionally again. At least senior had the decency to tell the FIA as soon as he knew. Now I HATED that man back in the day when he raced with Mansell, but I grew to respect him in the latter years of his F1 tenure. (Especially at Benetton.)

It's honestly so disappointing. I mean I'd have expected this from Ferrari. I'd be as equally disgusted, but there'd be no surprise involved. I think it's more that my man Alonso drives for them. Not sure what it'll do for his career, but Renault have to go.

posted by Drood at 02:14 AM on September 19, 2009

I wish I could say that this sort of stuff surprised me, but absolutely nothing in F1 surprises me anymore. (although the success of Brawn, RBR and Force India this year have all been pleasant surprises, for sure).

Of course, the FIA is as corrupt as any of its participating teams, having sat on this info for a year without a proper investigation. If Piquet Jr. doesn't come forward, at what point did they intend to pursue this? Ever? Although Renault the manufacturer is ultimately responsible for the team, it's doubtful the company knew of the decisions it's team managers were making at the time. If they did know, a lifetime ban is the only decision that can be made. My gut tells me Alonso did not know, the guy is a twice world champion and he would have come forward immediately had he been aware of any decision like that. I'm guessing that at the very minimum Renault will be excluded from the 2010 world championship. My other guess is that Renault will pull the plug on the program if they are excluded at all. I think they have already made that decision in the boardroom pending the outcome of Monday's hearing. Flavio and Symonds already knew what was coming. And now there is talk of criminal charges!! I think Renault F1 is finished, which will put a lot of good people out of a job. Maybe some jail time is justified.

Is Alonso-to-Ferrari a done deal or is he talking with other teams?

posted by eccsport78 at 07:45 AM on September 19, 2009

Drood, I feel for you. I have been equally upset with the "sport" of late. Surprised, hell no. Afterall it is the Max and Bernie show. What do you expect when the leaders of F1 are as corrupt as they are. I was really hoping the breakaway would happen to get away from Max and Bernie. Had they broken away CVC, whomever they are, would have sacked Bernie. Good analogy about Ferrari, stabbing you right in the chest.

I don't feel bad for Flavio, he has always been scum in my eyes. He is a team principle yet he represents drivers on other teams, a severe conflict of interest. I hope he gets a lifetime ban. Seems it must have been him who leaked the story of Max and the Nazi hookers and this is Max's revenge.

On the other hand I have always regarded Pat Symonds as a "good guy." I think he is falling on a sword to save the company. I think he participated at the request of Flavio or the orders thereof. I can see Flav saying if we don't get a win Renault are pulling the plug.

I think a lifetime ban for Renault is too harsh. I say that realizing that Renault are an engine supplier to a couple of teams and were going to expand supplying engines to more teams next year. Any penalties against them and I feel Mr. Ghosn will pull the plug at least on the team itself. That would lead to some issues for teams for next year if Renault would not be allowed to be an engine supplier. What the right penalty is I've no idea. Flavio banned for life would be a start. Those with complicit knowledge should be as well, that means Piquet, Jr. and unfortunately Pat Symonds. If they can prove that people inside Renault knew of it as well then they should get the ban as well.

On a positive note, Drood I've heard and read that Montreal have gotten the race back. I hope so, love the race there and also North America needs a race. Max is out and Bernie can't live forever so there is hope for F1.

eccsport- haven't seen it officially announced but I think it is a done deal with Alonso to Ferrari.

posted by soocher at 09:40 AM on September 19, 2009

Yes, Montreal is supposedly back. YAY!

Don't want a lifetime ban for Renault. I want them booted, yes, but not for all eternity. Or maybe boot the TEAM, but they can supply engines.

I don't know, it's all very complicated. I mean nothing like this has come out before so we're starting from base camp.

Piquet been given immunity! Of course I doubt ANYONE in F1 will touch him again. Yes he came forward, but he also took part in the fix AND kept quiet about it for almost a year.

And Alonso to Ferrari has rumoured for ages. A lot hinges on how Massa does, as to make room for Alonso, I believe the plan WAS to dump Kimi. But if Massa doesn't come back, we might get Alonso and Kimi.

Symonds... Not sure about him. There's always been something about I found irksome.

One thing is for sure. Flav is done in F1. Goodbye asshole. And I said in an earlier thread that Max said he knew who had set him up, and now right at the end of his presidency he gets Flav's head on a platter. Seems a little too perfect.

posted by Drood at 07:20 PM on September 19, 2009

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