Renault, race fixing and judgement day

The World Motor Sport Council met today to decide the fate of the Renault Formula 1 team in the whole Crashgate race fixing scandal.

And the result was a two year suspended race ban.  This is essentially double secret probation.  So they have been suspended, but the suspension has been suspended.  Understand?  Good.  If they keep their noses clean until the end of the 2011 season the whole thing goes away.

The WMSC determined that the Renault team did in fact collude to fix the race, but also concluded that only three people were involved in the scheme.  Those three people were:

  1. Flavio Braitore – Team principal.  He has been handed a lifetime ban from Formula One and all other FIA sanctioned sports.
  2. Pat Symonds – Head Engineer.  He has been handed a five-year ban from the sport, and we can assume he won’t be back.
  3. Nelson Piquet Junior – the driver who spun the car.  He gets away scott free because he was granted immunity by the FIA in exchange for his statement.  This doesn’t exactly sit well with me, but I was not consulted.  And, at the end of the day, I don’t think we will be seeing him in a Formula One car again ever.  That is probably punishment enough.

You will all be happy to know that the council decreed that Alonso didn’t know anything about this.  I know I was.

The sentence seems pretty light to me.   I mean, they fixed a race for crying out loud.  By crashing a car!  People could have been hurt.  I am just disgusted that they would put their own driver at risk like that.  Not to mention all the other drivers, the race marshals, and the spectators.  It makes me sick.  And I am left asking once again what were they thinking?

I was expecting a massive fine along the lines of the $100-million dollar fine McLaren got hit with in 2007.  I was also expecting them to take the win away from Alonso.  But apparently they can’t do that because after November of each race season the results are set in stone and you can’t change them.  Who knew?

Consistency is not the FIA’s strong point.  But what seems to surface at every one of these extraordinary meetings is that it really frosts the FIA if you lie to them.  In 2007 McLaren got caught cheating, and then got caught lying, hence the monster fine.  The same things happened to them after the Australian Grand Prix this year.  They lied to the FIA about what happened during the race and they were punished accordingly.  Renault fixes a race, admits it and apologizes and nothing happens.

So the moral of the story seems to be cheat like crazy, but own up to it if you get caught.  Is it fair?  Probably not.  But this is what happens when you let one man (Max Mosely) run the show.  He more or less gets to pick and choose how to enforce the rules.

For real information look to GP Update, Allen on F1, or Paddock Talk.  There are also plenty of other sites, but those are my favorites.

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