There was a time when the global economic recession became a serious criteria for teams to consider their participation in the sport. There were a number of teams that pulled out of their respective genres as they didn’t have the necessary funds to continue in the sport. However, just when things seemed to have slowed down a bit, in terms of pull-outs, the FIA has gone and pulled one out of the bag. >
Its called Renault-Ban!!!
It all started almost a year ago, at the first night-GP ever held in the history of Formula One. While the sport was looking at a brand new concept, Fernando Alonso crossed the chequered flag to become the first driver ever to win a night-race. But did he win it fair and square?
The answer, as found by the FIA, was “No”!!!>
Fernando Alonso, starting 15th on the grid of the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, came in for his first pitstop following which teammate Nelson Piquet Jr. was asked by the team management to crash his car heavily. The crash caused the safety car to come out and closed the gap at the front of the grid where Alonso had managed to climb up to. Thus with a better fuel load and fresh tyres, Alonso managed to take over the front of the pile and extend his lead as others came in for a pitstop.
Investigations have revealed, almost a year later, that Renault in fact had ordered Piquet to deliberately smash his car and, therefore, had used unfair means to get Alonso’s race strategy to work.
Flavio Briatore, Pat Symonds and Nelson Piquet Jr. were all found to be guilty of conspiracy and all other teammates were excluded from the punishment. >
Briatore, the long time Renault boss has been handed an indefinite ban from FIA-backed motorsports. This virtually means that Briatore will no longer be able to participate under any motorsports events on the FIA calendar, and any new events that come up to the FIA for sanction, which involve him in any way, will not get approval until the FIA deems it fit to lift the ban.
Pat Symonds received a similar ban although was reprieved by the fact that his ban would only last 5 years. Nelson Piquet Jr. however did not face any sanctions as he voluntarily provided evidence after he was dropped from the team in July.
Briatore and Symonds resigned from their posts last week.
Renault have been hit badly by the conspiracy and will have to serve a two-year suspended ban from the sport. This means that until the 2011 season, Renault will continue to be a part of the FIA calendar. The ban will only be levied if Renault is found to be guilty of a similar or comparable offense by the the end of the 2011 season. >
While the news may not have been as bad for Renault by the end of it, they were on the brink of being banned from all motorsports permanently. However, their 2-year suspended sentence has thrown them a lifeline.
The team will be looking for a new Team Principal and Engineering Director before the Singapore Grand Prix, hopefully people who will be averse to taking the law into their own hands and govern the outcome of the race.