Suspended sentence for Renault — does the punishment fit the crime?

September 21, 2009

piquetThe news has just come in from Paris, where Renault have been handed a suspended ban from Formula One, while their former boss Flavio Briatore has been banned from all F1 activities, including driver management, and ex-technical chief Pat Symonds is barred for five years.

So the immediate result of the inquiry into race-rigging at last year’s Singapore Grand Prix is that Renault can stay in the sport, provided they stay on their best behaviour for the next couple of years, even though the offence was described by the FIA as one of “unparalleled severity”.

Does that punishment fit the crime, would you say?

It’s well worth reading the FIA media release on this in full. It confirms that Renault admitted conspiring with Nelson Piquet Jr to cause the crash. Here’s a section of the statement:

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 … 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.

The other point to note is that Alonso was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Comments on this welcome. More to follow.

Reuters photo by Gareth Watkins


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Sounds like a joke to me. Bernie and Flav are clearly too close as friends for any suitable punishment to be handed out.

Posted by Simon Timmis | Report as abusive

I’m surprised to see no word of a fine. In comparison to Spygate, and the 100 million dollar fine for McLaren, it seems a little strange.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

A deal must have been reached before the meeting in Paris. Renault continue in the sport, needing to replace 2 employees. Big star Alonso keeps the race win and will go to Ferrari for his next big money deal and Renault stay in F1 as a team and engine supplier. Young Piquet should find it hard to get a new F1 drive, but if a deal was made look for him to return soon at one of the newly admitted F1 teams. F1 needs Renault! Cheats do prosper.

Posted by Brian Star | Report as abusive

Given the large fine imposed on Mclaren for spying a few years ago, I think the sentence imposed on Renault is too light. I also feel that the FIA have been persuaded not to impose a fine because of the financial state of F1 – but this inconsistency does the sport no credit.

Posted by John Martin | Report as abusive

If really only the three of them knew about it then I think it is a fair outcome. Sauber wont be chuffed though as they were the spare team next year. Maybe the grid will be extended anyway.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

I think a lot of people will share that summary, John … that it does little credit to the sport.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

100 million dollar fine for McLaren and a suspended sentance for Renault. Bernie surely protects his friends.

Posted by R Webster | Report as abusive

I think they got away without the fine because of the economic crisis, which hadn’t really started during spy-gate. The FIA has been keen to cut costs across the board having lost Honda and soon BMW and making Renault pay a huge amount was only going to further pressure their F1 side of the business.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

Can anyone tell me why is THIS crash so much worse than Schumi deliberately shunting Damon off the track to claim title?

Posted by Speedster | Report as abusive

That’s a good question, Speedster. Simon Barnes, writing in the Times last week, generated a lot of heat by arguing this was the worst act of cheating in sport. That idea was quickly rejected by pretty much everyone else, it seemed. This piece in the Guardian is pretty good, arguing that Ayrton Senna drivinto into the back of Alain Prost was just as bad. 9/sep/20/nelson-piquet-flavio-briatore-s ingapore

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

[…] Left field » Blog Archive » Two-year suspended ban for Renault … […]

Posted by Motorsports Links: Renault Gets Two-Year Suspended Ban – Wheels … | Sports Leisure Knowledge | Report as abusive

[…] from another sport by a governing body. Sources: Sky News, Sep. 25 — ESPN, Sep. 23 — Reuters, Sep. […]

Posted by Ethics Newsline® » News » Renault Loses Major Race-Car Sponsorships in Wake of Cheating Scandal | Report as abusive

when will Alonso get punished for anything?
it had been involved in every F1 scandal since he begun racing, and still, always get a FREE PASS, why?
clearly, he is a cheater, traitor, manipulate man

Posted by luisgoru | Report as abusive