Renault In The Dock (Again)

by James Broomhead

Renault has been called before an extraordinary meeting of the World Motorsport Council (WMSC) after the “conspired” with Nelson Piquet Jr. to cause a crash during last year's Singapore Grand Prix.

Despite the FIA's official press release, which explained that “representatives of ING Renault F1” have been called to the 21 September meeting, being a short thing there are several interesting things to come out of it.

Firstly, there is no explicit mention of any sanctions against Nelson Piquet Jr. himself.

There are no mentions of 'representatives of Mr. Piquet', and given his split from the team earlier this season it is doubtful he is included as part of the team.

So, has he got away with it, given he was the man behind the wheel when the car crashed?

Possibly; The fact that he hasn't been explicitly called before the WMSC may show that the FIA are primarily targeting Renault, where the order to crash originated and the party still involved in F1, before later turning to punish Piquet.

On the other hand Piquet may be handed a free pass by the FIA, as it is largely his tip-off that has brought this matter back into the public eye.

However, it is highly probable that the FIA have more evidence than the accusations of Piquet alone, remembering this is man who was clearly angry at the way he was treated by Renault and Flavio Briatore, who Piquet labelled his “executioner” at the time of his sacking. In other words any claim from him that paints Renault in a bad light should be taken with a large pinch of salt.

So, what exactly is this other evidence?

Surely it cannot be radio communications during the race, as these are all made available to, at least, FOM if not the FIA, and so anything suspicious would likely have been spotted closer to the time of the race.

Has someone else at Renault come forward?

Have the FIA found a paper trail relating to the plan?

Or, have the FIA spotted an opportunity to punish Renault as they managed to overturn the penalty for the loose wheel at the Hungaroring?

Photo: Nelson Piquet Jr with the engineers on the grid. Charles Coates/LAT Photographic

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