F1 'Crashgate'

Renault will not dispute the charge that Nelson Piquet Jnr was asked to crash to benefit team-mate Fernando Alonso

Allegations of race fixing by the Renault F1 team have already been dubbed ‘crashgate’ – and now managing director Flavio Briatore and engineering executive director Pay Symonds have left the company. It immediately follows news that the team will not dispute the charge that Nelson Piquet Jnr was ordered to crash his car at last year’s Singapore Grand Prix – which aided team-mate Fernando Alonso. Picquet Jnr crashed his car just two laps after Alonso’s early routine stop. All the other front runners made pit stops while under the safety car; Alonso was therefore able to capitalise on the situation and went on to win the race. It was his first victory in two years. At the time, Piquet Jnr blamed the collision on driver error. His allegations only went public after he was dropped from the team after the race in Hungary in July of this year. Renault reacted by accusing Piquet Jnr and his famous father of blackmail, even saying it would begin legal action against them. The departure of Briatore and Symonds may reduce any expected penalty but the FIA could still impose sanctions. Renault confirmed the news that they have left the team but will make no further comment until after the FIA hearing.

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