The FIA are to launch an investigation into the result of the first ever night race, the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix after new evidence came to their attention. The body is cagey about the nature of the new evidence but it is thought to refer to Nelson Piquet’s accident, which brought the Safety Car out at an extremely convenient time for his team-mate Fernando Alonso, who went on to win the race.
Piquet told reporters at the time that the accident had been nothing but a mistake on his part, on a circuit that demands driving on the ragged edge very close to concrete walls. But its effect was that the Safety Car was brought out, closing the field up and allowing recently refuelled Alonso to jump right up the pack. It is not clear where the new evidence comes from, but the FIA acknowledged yesterday afternoon that it was beginning an investigation.
“The FIA can confirm that an investigation is underway regarding alleged events at a previous world championship race,” said a spokesperson.
Rumours abound that the new evidence has come from Piquet himself, who was sacked by the team after last month’s Hungarian Grand Prix. Piquet endured a torrid last months with the team and an acrimonious divorce, during which he directed angry invective at his “executioner”, team principal Flavio Briatore.
If so, Piquet would have followed in the steps of his erstwhile team-mate Fernando Alonso, who held his McLaren team to ransom in 2007 when he discovered they had been spying on Ferrari.
If found guilty by the World Motor Sport Council, it is thought probable that Renault will be fined or banned for future races. The result of the Singapore race is relatively unlikely to be retrospectively altered, but if it is, it would promote Nico Rosberg to race winner, and further increase Lewis Hamilton’s margin of world championship victory.