ING Renault gets two-year suspended ban

Former team principal Flavio Briatore and chief engineer Pat Symonds get indefinite and five-year ban, respectively.
by Patrick Everett Tadeo | Sep 22, 2009

ING Renault F1 was handed a two-year suspended ban by the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) for the "crashgate" scandal at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

The Formula 1 governing body also penalized team principal Flavio Briatore and chief engineer Pat Symonds with an indefinite ban and a five-year ban, respectively.

It may be recalled that Renault driver Nelson Piquet Jr. crashed during the Singapore leg of the 2008 F1 season (see video from YouTube below). This placed the race under the safety car and eventually led to the victory of Fernando Alonso, also of the Renault team.

"The World Motor Sport Council considers Renault F1's breaches relating to the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix to be of unparalleled severity. Renault F1's breaches not only compromised the integrity of the sport but also endangered the lives of spectators, officials, other competitors and Nelson Piquet Jr. himself," the WMSC said in a statement.

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The staged accident would have been enough for the WMSC to permanently disqualify Renault but the council said it recognizes the steps the team has taken to "identify and address the failings within its team and condemn the actions of the individuals involved." With the WMSC's consideration, Renault received a suspended ban until the end of the 2011 season.

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"The World Motor Sport Council will only activate this disqualification if Renault F1 is found guilty of a comparable breach during that time," the council said.

Last week, Renault said it will not counter the allegations slapped on the team during the September 21 meeting with the WSMC.

"Today, we fully accept the decision of the Council. We apologize unreservedly to the F1 community in relation to this unacceptable behaviour. 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," Renault F1 Team president Bernard Rey said in a Sept. 21 statement.

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While Briatore and Symonds have to live with their respective bans from FIA-regulated motorsports, the WMSC granted Piquet "immunity from individual sanctions under the International Sporting Code in relation to this incident... in exchange for volunteering his evidence."

Meanwhile, the WMSC concluded that Alonso "was not in any way involved in Renault F1's breach of the regulations."



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