The allegations involving the actions of the Renault team at last year’s Singapore Grand Prix have been given added fuel today with a posting on a website of what it claims is a copy of Nelson Piquet Junior’s statement to the FIA’s World Motorsport Council (WMSC) given on July 30
After losing his seat with the team, after the Hungarian Grand Prix, Piquet claimed that he had been asked to crash deliberately in order to help team mate Fernando Alonso
win the race. A claim that, if found to be true, breaches the sports regulations.
In the statement Piquet plants the blame firmly at the feet of managing director, Flavio Briatore, and director of engineering, Pat Symonds, giving his version of a meeting which took place before the race in Singapore. He goes on to claim that Briatore even pointed the turn where Piquet should crash, as it was thought that it was most likely that doing so at this turn would require the safety car to be deployed.
Although Piquet does not deny he caused the crash deliberately, he claims in the statement he was under pressure to keep his race seat with the team for 2009.
Briatore and Symonds have also given statements to the FIA, and although they do not deny the meeting took place, they put the blame on Piquet.
Piquet has said he told a family friend and advisor about the background to the incident immediately after the race.
Bernie Ecclestone has warned both Piquet and Renault that, if found guilty, there could be serious consequences for both parties. The inquiry is being carried out by F1 officials, believed to include the steward’s advisor Alan Donnelly, and external investigators from the agency Quest.
Piquet has not spoken publicly on the matter since the investigation began, and the Renault team have declined to comment until the WMSC hearing set to take place in Paris on September 21.Fernando Alonso
, who benefited from the crash, has kept his loyalty firmly with the team. "I'm very surprised. I cannot imagine these things," he said at Monza today.
Commenting on team boss Briatore, he added: "He's always been a nice boss with me. A friend, he supports my career always. Flavio is one of the good people here."