Renault banned for 2 year sin F1, critics called penalty too ‘lenient’

Renault F1 got themselves into trouble after their sacking of their driver Nelson Picquet Jr. for reasons unknown. Picquet Sr, the driver’s father who was obviously dissatisfied with the decision told publicly that his son was ordered to crash during the Singapore round of the race last year which prompted an investigation by the FIA. Initial telemetry data showed the Picquet Jr was accelerating as he headed into the crash which was highly unusual.

Since then, the FIA has called on Renault to face the charges and before that happened, team boss Flaviou Briatore and Pat Symonds,t he chief director of engineering both resigned causing most to speculate that they were guilty as charged. The Council ruled then that the Renault F1 team be suspended for 2 years while Briatore be banned for life.

According to a statement released by the FIA, "The World Motor Sport Council finds that Renault F1 team members Flavio Briatore, Pat Symonds and Nelson Piquet Jr. conspired to cause a deliberate crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. The World Motor Sport Council considers Renault F1's breaches relating to the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix to be of unparalleled severity. Renault F1's breaches not only compromised the integrity of the sport but also endangered the lives of spectators, officials, other competitors and Nelson Piquet Jr. himself.”

“The World Motor Sport Council considers that offences of this severity merit permanent disqualification from the FIA Formula One World Championship. However, having regard to the points in mitigation mentioned above and in particular the steps taken by Renault F1 to identify and address the failings within its team and condemn the actions of the individuals involved, the WMSC has decided to suspend Renault F1's disqualification until the end of the 2011 season. The World Motor Sport Council will only activate this disqualification if Renault F1 is found guilty of a comparable breach during that time. In addition the World Motor Sport Council notes Renault F1's apology and agrees that the team should pay the costs of the investigation. It also accepts the offer of a significant contribution to the FIA's safety work."

The ban for Briatore is not only on his involvement in the Formula 1 but it also stops anyone from working with him which also includes drivers. This means that the only way Briatore can continue to be involved in Motor Sports would be through other championships and definitely not in Formula 1. He is said to be distraught and some speculated that he might be setting up a breakaway series. According to Carlos Gracia, the Spanish Motrosport Federation head commented that the ruling on Briatore is ‘excessive’ "Briatore's (penalty) seems to me excessive, there was no clear proof against him and he was not able to defend himself either. Moreover, I wouldn't rule out him going to ordinary justice because he has been left without his means of earning a living."