Renault accept Piquet allegations; Briatore and Symonds leave the team.
Renault have announced that team boss Flavio Briatore and engineering chief Pat Symonds will be leaving the F1 team. Renault have also confirmed that they will not be disputing the allegations by Nelson Piquet Jr that the team ordered him to crash when they appear before the World Motor Sport Council next week.
Nelson Piquet had recently announced that he had been asked by Renault to crash during 2008 s Singapore Grand Prix to bring out a Safety Car as it would work to his team-mate Fernando Alonso s advantage. Piquet s crash during the Singapore Grand Prix subsequently did cause a Safety Car to be deployed and his team-mate Alonso went on to win the race, Renault s first race win of the season.
A statement by Renault reads, “The ING Renault F1 Team will not dispute the recent allegations made by the FIA concerning the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.
“It also wishes to state that its managing director, Flavio Briatore and its executive director of engineering, Pat Symonds, have left the team.
“Before attending the hearing before the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on 21 September 2009, the team will not make any further comment.”
By issuing the statement Renault have effectively accepted the allegations that they ordered Piquet to crash his car to help Fernando Alonso win the Singapore Grand Prix.
Some commentators have suggested that the decision to come clean and remove Briatore and Symonds is a strategy to minimise the size of the penalty from the FIA.
The FIA have already interviewed Briatore, Symonds and other Renault F1 team members over the allegations. A World Motor Sport Council hearing in Paris on 21 September will officially investigate the matter. Much evidence has already been collected including a statement from Piquet, telemetry from his car, and radio transmissions from the team.