Briatore sued over Crashgate claims

Having steered clear of the limelight in recent months since the "Crashgate" scandal surrounding the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, Nelson Piquet and his son Nelson Jnr are back in the headlines after bringing a lawsuit against the disgraced former Renault team principal Flavio Briatore.

Piquet Jnr disappeared from the Formula One scene after admitting that he deliberately staged the crash in Singapore in 2008 which enabled his Renault team-mate Fernando Alonso to sweep to a surprise victory, and is now competing in an obscure championship on the American racing circuit entitled the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, for modified production pick-up trucks.

Now, however, father and son have launched a £200,000 libel action against Briatore, who was banned for life for his role in the race fixing. The 60 year-old Italian was successful earlier this year in having a French court overturn the ban, but that ruling is currently being appealed by the FIA.

The Piquets are suing Briatore in Britain over a Renault F1 Team press release which accused them of giving false evidence to the FIA and of blackmailing Renault F1. They have hired noted libel lawyer Dominic Crossley, who said: "Given Renault F1's failure to accept the Piquets' invitation to withdraw the allegations and apologise, they feel they have no other choice."