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