Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Flavio's Public Shame Heaps More Pain on F1; after 'Liegate' and 'Spygate', This Latest Admission That Renault Told a Driver to Deliberately Crash Will Further Injure the Beleaguered Sport. by Andrew Hodgson

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Flavio's Public Shame Heaps More Pain on F1; after 'Liegate' and 'Spygate', This Latest Admission That Renault Told a Driver to Deliberately Crash Will Further Injure the Beleaguered Sport. by Andrew Hodgson

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew Hodgson

THE FIA will appoint a new president next month, and what a job he now has on his hands. Max Mosley's decision to stand down as the head of motorsport's governing body looks to be a more sensible move by the hour.

Formula One is the FIA's flagship event, it is the one that generates the most income and commands the greatest coverage and yet continues to attract the worst kind of headlines.

The latest hit is possibly the most remarkable of all. Renault's decision not to contest the allegations that they deliberately crashed a car during last year's Singapore Grand Prix is an admission that they cheated on the most outrageous scale.

By asking Nelson Piquet jnr to drive into a wall to allow Fernando Alonso to move up the field behind a safety car, managing director Flavio Briatore and executive director of engineering Pat Symonds not only put the life of the young Brazilian at risk, they also put other drivers in danger, while spectators could have been hit by flying debris should anything have gone drastically wrong.

The sport has already this year been rocked by 'Liegate', when Lewis Hamilton and McLaren were stripped of their podium finish and all points at the Australian Grand Prix after deliberately misleading stewards. Before that there was 'Spygate', when McLaren were hit by a record [pounds sterling]50million fine and thrown out of the 2008 constructors championship for stealing secrets from Ferrari.

As well as McLaren's deception in Australia. this season saw more early controversy when Brawn GP made a flying start with their split diffuser -- much to the dismay of the teams left behind. And the threat of a breakaway championship has only just been averted after the FIA and the teams came to a compromise over a budget cap.

Renault are facing an FIA hearing in Paris next Monday and could still be thrown out of this season's competition, while Briatore and Symonds appear to have little or no future in the sport after admitting to such a reckless act. The evidence against the pair was damning in the wake of Piquet jnr providing the FIA's investigation team with two statements detailing what transpired in Singapore. …

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