Renault, race fixing and a great big mess

It’s a Formula One day today mom. Sorry.

So as I am sure you know, Nelson Piquet Joonyer has come forward and said that he was told to spin and crash on purpose in the Singapore Grand Prix last year so Alonso could win.  He claims he did this so he would retain his seat with the team in 2009.  And it apparently came to light now in a fit of rage after Renault fired him earlier this year.

In the interest of full disclosure here, let me say up front that I have never had much use for Nelson Joonyer.  I don’t like him.  He’s cocky, he’s obnoxious and it turns out his mouth was writing a lot of checks his ass couldn’t cash. In other words, he could talk the talk but he couldn’t walk the walk.

Anyway, Nelson alleges that he had a conversation with Team Principal Flavio Briatore and the Executive Director of Engineering, Pat Symonds before the race, and that he was told when and where to crash after Alonso’s early pit stop so Fernando could maximize his chances of winning.  And Alonso did, in fact, win the race.

Flavio has denied everything.  Symonds meanwhile admits having “a conversation” with Joonyer about crashing deliberately but he claims Nelson brought it up.

All in all, it looks bad for the good guys.  The one small piece of positive news in this is that the investigators have apparently come to the conclusion that Alonso didn’t know anything about any of this, so he’s in the clear.  Of course that won’t mean much if his team gets banned and he doesn’t have a car for the rest of the season.

The latest twist to all this came to light today when the Renault team revealed they are bringing the Piquets (both Nelson Sr. and Nelson Jr.) before a criminal court on charges of blackmail and defamation of character.  I guess the best defense is a good offense.  I say this latest salvo is a good thing.   I hope this whole mess turns out to be a big pile of BS from an irate spoiled brat who finally had the rug yanked out from under him.  And I hope the Piquets wind up in court.  I hope this ruins them.  I hope when all this is over Nelson Sr. doesn’t have enough money to buy his son a cheeseburger, much less set him up with his very own Formula 1 team.  (I’m angry, can you tell?)

There is a lot of good information about this on real F1 sites.  Try GP Update, Allen on F1 and Paddock Talk.

I don’t want to believe this is possible, but from where I am sitting things do not look good.  And I have a few questions:

  • Even though Nelson has been given immunity by the FIA (the sport’s governing body) if it is determined that he DID spin on purpose to throw the race, won’t he still be subject to the laws of Singapore and possibly the EEC regarding such behavior?
  • Is Pat Symonds being set up as the “fall guy” at Renault?
  • If this is true, what the hell were they thinking?

And finally,

  • What will happen to Alonso?

There will be a hearing before the WMSC (World Motor Sport Council) on September 21.  The suspense is already killing me.

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4 thoughts on “Renault, race fixing and a great big mess

  1. Nice thoughts. I have more or less the same questions and I reckon time will reveal their answers.

    I hope that, despite the outcome of this on the Renaults, that the Piquets receive an axe on their heads. And that the FIA be more reasonable in the future with their investigations to penalize all responsible personnel, including the guy who technically ‘performed’ the accident. There is no justification on earth for that!! A real racer will refuse to take part on such activities and will show his hands by proper racing, and I think it is real racers that will return this to the amazing sport we all loved ..

    Thanks and well done on your blog :-)

    • Thank you.

      I agree that if this turns out to be true, Nelson has to be held accountable. At the end of the day, he is the one who spun the car. Nobody was in the car with him holding a gun to his head.

  2. Pingback: The Singapore Grand Prix Report « My Little Bit of Everything Blog

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