Renault Suspended from Formula 1 for Two Years
The World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) disqualified Renault from the Formula 1 World Championship and banned the team from competing in the sport for two years following finding Renault guilty of deliberately causing a crash in Singapore’s Grand Prix last year.
Allegations of Renault’s race-fixing began after Renault let driver Nelson Piquet Jr. go and Piquet announced that Renault team boss Flavio Briatore and engineering director Pat Symonds ordered him to crash his car to aid teammate Fernando Alonso. Only Briatore, Symonds, and Piquet were aware of the conspiracy.
The crash in question occurred on lap 14 of Singapore’s inaugural grand prix last year, right after Alonso made his first pit stop. The safety car period after the crash helped Alonso to win the race after starting from 15 on the grid.
The WMSC and Renault investigated the matter and found both Symonds and Briatore guilty of ordering the crash. Symonds and Briatore left the team shortly before the WMSC found them guilty.
In addition to banning Renault, Briatore can never be involved in any FIA-sanctioned motorsport and Symonds suffers a ban of only five years. Piquet was granted immunity by the WMSC for volunteering evidence in the case against Briatore and Symonds.
“We are very sad to find ourselves in front of the World Motor Sport Council today,” said Bernard Rey, Renault team president after the WMSC hearing in Paris. “By way of background, as a result of our own enquiries, we informed the FIA last week that we would not defend the charges and we accepted our responsibilities in relation to the incident in Singapore and we immediately took appropriate action inside the team.
“Today, we fully accept the decision of the Council. We apologize unreservedly to the F1 community in relation to this unacceptable behavior. We sincerely hope that we can soon put this matter behind us and focus constructively on the future. We will issue further information in the next few days.”
Source: Official Formula 1 Website