September 16, 2009

Renault throws Briatore under the bus

In an apparent deal between the FIA and Renault ahead of their world council meeting, Briatore and chief engineer Pay Symonds have ''left'' the team.

Statement from Renault:

"The ING Renault F1 Team will not dispute the recent allegations made by the FIA concerning the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

It also wishes to state that its managing director, Flavio Briatore and its executive director of engineering, Pat Symonds, have left the team.

Before attending the hearing before the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on 21 September 2009, the team will not make any further comment."

There better be crushing evidence beyond the inconclusive dossier "leaked" least week because this smells of political persecution.

The Axis view? Take a look at the difference between Lewis Hamilton's last good Lesmo and the lap where he crashed. Doesn't take much does it? If a World Champion can make a mistake what's more likely, that Nelson Piquet Jr. crashed the car or that he, as he did many times, just ran out of talent?

Renault was born out of Benetton which was born from Briatore. This is as big a deal as Ron Dennis leaving F1 and perhaps the latest scalp on Max Mosley's wall.

And Piquet? if this is all true, a driver who endangered other drivers, marshals and potentially spectators just because that was the only way he could secure a drive? A minimum of a lifetime ban from racing would be a mild punishment.

UPDATE!: Corriere Della Sera reports that taking over from Briatore at Renault will be Federic Vasseur, up to now team boss at GP2's ART. Anyone want to guess who else is a principal at ART?.... Let me help: Nicholas Todt, son of Mosley's own designated replacement in the upcoming FIA elections, Jean Todt. Pass the stinking bishop.

And here is the rest of it.


  1. man this JUST bites...........postlog.... all these new teams coming.......the fia have better mandated a No return clause for at least a year or the boys will be back on teh grid..........

  2. I agree with the "scalp on Mosley's wall" idea. By now everything sounds like that..

    I don't think that NPJ would have jeopardized his career just for revenge on Briatore, so he's been probably given some kind of immunity from Mosley.

    (I ask you please to correct me if I write something wrong, I'm Italian and I'd like to improve my English ;) )

  3. We were discussing this with Stee last week, he pointed out that Symond's hemming ad hawing can only be explained if he thought there was a recording of some sort floating around....

  4. They should throw Flav under the bus and back up a few times! What an incredible thing to do! Mclaren gate with Ferrari was bad enough - this actually risked human lives - the driver, the safety workers, etc. $100 million and a 2 year Renault ban from the sport at a minimum. Really starting to wonder if Alonso new that something was up. He may not have been in on the planning but must have suspected something.

  5. Piquet JR is just a mess. Untalented, whiny, no character, no balls, bitch mess.

    Regardless of all other shenanigans

  6. Nelson was given immunity already so he will get no punishment whatsoever.

    It was obvious from the comments that Pat and Flavio made last week that they were guilty of at least encouring this to happen.

    I also have to wonder how Alonso didnt know. He deployed a strategy that no one else had ever tried and it was tried for the first time at that race. Surely he would have had to ask why am I starting so far back with so little fuel? Steve Machett pointed out during the race that this was in itself very odd and unusual.

    Crazy that Nelson agreed to do this in the first place, but I sort of feel bad for him. It is so super super hard to even get a seat and then to be subjected to this would just be awful.

    I wonder what Flavio also did that was corrupt??

  7. Anonymous

    I see it this way:

    - Renault will go like "the team was unaware and the two of them are already gone" and because of that they will get a much lighter penalty than McLaren's, if any at all.
    I even think it is quite fair because in this case there are few men involved, while in McLaren's there was a spread knowledge of the facts into the team.

    - I think Alonso must have known, or at least supposed. He started out of the top ten with less fuel than the first rows had. Nobody would ever use a tactic like that, expecially with a high risk of safety car.
    Why should a driver accept such a suicidal tactic without knowing that the sc will get in just after his pit?

  8. Really all one has got to do to see why Renault was suffering too much from this is to search the U.S. news on with "renault" to realize how any positive note on Renault as of late ha been followed by a negative "crashgate" one. On Twitter also.

    I for one am very glad that Renault has taken this route because it was clear that with the leaks it was not manageable in any way, any more.

    Briatore is a crazy bastard to have risked so much and he deserves all penalties.

    Piquet is a crazy bastard for having believed it was any good to do such thing. He decidedly met Briatore 2.0 after it despite Briatore having had so much to lose in case it was revealed.

    Pat Symonds just proved that in a hierarchy even second is not good enough, as Briatore was first.

    However inconclusive the evidences were, I am sure that many fans had made their minds already and the suspicions would not cease even if it was swept under the carpet at this point.

    From Brazil.

  9. And we're back to a previous discussion on the opportunity to change things... I'm definitely not interested in this kind of Formula One.

  10. Dear AC, or whatever you're called....

    Brilliant comment. I love your blog.

    Crid [CridComment @ gmail]

  11. The "Alonso must've known" movement seems to be gaining some momentum in media/blogs/comments around the world.

    If Renaults win in the race is retrospectively ruled out, Nico Rosberg gets his first win.

  12. this might sound mediocre, but i agree with "stig" that the "ALONSO KNEW" rumor is pretty much getting a high drive, after the world motor sports council meeting things will look a bit clearer, mosley and ecclestone will never let the judges kick out renault of the championship no matter what, renault in itself as an F1 team is super attractive in terms of financial sponsorship, Fan Base, and the weight they bring to F1, Yet i dont see this point really surviving that much after the briatore-symonds exit fiasco.......NPJ is a complete idiot who was protected by his loving spoiling father to get immunity from punishment, i dont think he will EVER get an F1 race seat again......i dont want to sound like a spoiled brat, but F1 is becoming more and more of an unbearable sport to watch, this season has been like a rotten tomato case, no good to anyone, the new teams will be a desperate brush-up from the FIA to give the sport a new image......back to RENAULT, i think axing them wouldn't be fair as of Mclaren wasnt kicked out of the championship as well, i bet you that if this incident happened in a new coming team, there butts would be grilled on fire!!!!

  13. One could argue that Piquet was just doing what his childhood heroes did when he was watching F1 as a kid...

    ...Senna, Prost, Schumacher. All of whom crashed deliberately at one point or another in their careers and are today's F1 biggest legends.

  14. I'm not buying the conspiracy theories. These are large organizations with huge budgets and armies of lawyers. My experience with such organizations is that they will fight tooth and nail to uphold their reputations even when they are guilty.

    To walk away and not contest the charges is an admission of guilt. There must be other evidence involved that makes a pretty tight case. If it were only word of mouth, who would you believe ... Renault management or the kid?

    Little Nelson is still a prick though. His career was over long before this happened.


  15. This accusations, I think, are obviously based on solid ground, otherwise, whoever is using this case for their political agenda would be in serious trouble. Considering that Briatore left the team, it only tells that the evidence was too overwhelming.

    I like Axis of Oversteer a lot, I just don't understand why cheating, where a lot of money is on play, rings like an almost impossible idea.


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