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Renault managing director Flavio Briatore and executive director of engineering Pat Symonds have sensationally quit the team.
The news was announced as the team revealed that they would not be challenging recent allegations made against them that Nelson Piquet Jnr was ordered to crash his car at last year's Singapore Grand Prix.
Despite Briatore's assertion of no wrongdoing, the swift departure of he and Symonds appears to point to their guilt.
Piquet Jnr, who was recently sacked by Renault following a poor season, subsequently revealed he was told to crash into a wall in order to facilitate victory for team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Renault then launched criminal proceedings - including those relating to an alleged blackmail attempt - against Piquet Jnr and his three-times world champion father.
However, it was reported earlier this week that both Symonds and Piquet Jnr would be granted immunity from punishment by the FIA if they provided details of the alleged race-fixing.
An investigation into the incident is already under way, with FIA president Max Mosley revealing on Tuesday that there was evidence to support Piquet's claim.
Renault bosses had been called to appear at an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Monday, which will now go ahead without them.
The WMSC may still impose severe sanctions on the team now they have chosen not to launch a defence.
The FIA charged Renault with "conspiring with its driver, Nelson Piquet Jnr, 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".
Alonso went on to take the chequered flag at Formula One's first night race, his first victory for two years, and at a time when Renault were considering quitting the sport.
The French manufacturer will almost certainly plead for clemency from the FIA as they will claim the actions of two men should not affect the employment of nearly 700 other staff within the team.
The FIA have the power to exclude Renault from the championship, although it is anticipated such a strict penalty will not be administered.
F1 is a joke and this sorry episode confirms it.This must surely bring into question the result of the 2008 F1 championship. Massa was easily winning the Singapore race when the fake accident took place. He ended the race with no points. If you took out this race from the results Hamilton would lose 3rd place, hence Massa would be 2008 champion. But obviously you could decide on numerous different outcomes of the race, eg. award points at time of crash etc,etc. But in my opinion anything that took place in that race after Piquet crashed is meaningless.
Posted 15:46 16th September 2009
Whilst I am shocked at the resignation of Briatore and Symonds and if the allegations are true it is only right they should go and their actions are deplorable, what I find more outstanding in this matter is the fact that Piquet (a world class driver) deliberately crashed to help the whinge bag known as Alonso out.. I'm sorry but who in their right mind would deliberately crash?? No amount of money offered would make me crash. Ruining my chances of future drives and earnings alone would stop me but the thought that something could go wrong and I could end up dead would put me right off.. The guy must be some kind of muppet for ever agreeing to it.. And Renault should not be allowed to get away with it
Posted 15:41 16th September 2009
I find the whole idea of asking a driver to deliberately crash his car totally disgusting. Yes, cars are a lot safer now with crumple zones, HANS devices etc. but the life of a man is still being put on the line. I know Briatore and Symonds are guilty as hell in all of this BUT so is Nelson Piquet Jnr. He agreed to crash because he feared losing his drive and only blew the whistle when he lost his seat at Renault, If he had any true morals he would have quit Renault before the crash and blew the whistle then. If he had kept his seat then none of us would have been any the wiser to this dirty little secret.
Posted 15:36 16th September 2009
Well who would believe it.!!! An F1 team cheating.? What surprises me is that it has taken so long to find them out. Bennetton with Briatore cheated when they had Schumacher. The FIA have been cheating the public recently by "allowing" back of the pack teams to win, to jazz it up a bit, so that they can resume once again to let Ferrari be at the top, without losing the lucrative TV money. I only watch the start and finish now, as there is no element of sport attached to F1. Its all about the money.!!!!! David Ravey
Posted 15:13 16th September 2009
This is a dark day for formula one and renault. if this is true then renault should have any points won, taken from them and be excluded from the championship
Posted 14:59 16th September 2009
They just tried to kill a driver by the sounds of things and i think full punishment is what they need to get even if it means they get excluded from next year's races. Sad for F1 really. Why threaten Nelson even when they know that their car is not as fast as the Ferrari or McLaren.
Posted 14:15 16th September 2009
McLaren were fined ¿100 million in the spygate issue when they neither used or benefitted from the information, surely what Renault have done is far worse so if proved guilty are the FIA going to impose a far higher penalty either financial or even expulsion from the championship?? Fernando Alonso was involved in the spygate issue at Mclaren and lo and behold, who was the Renault driver benefitting from Piquet's crash, yes Fernando Alonso!
Posted 13:55 16th September 2009
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