Renault may leave F1 over probe fears Ecclestone

Allegations about race-fixing at last year's Singapore Grand Prix could prompt Renault to walk away from Formula One, the sport's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone warned today.

"This is not the sort of thing we need at the moment," the 78-year-old Briton told the Times newspaper.



"I think it will p*** off Renault for a start. Them leaving the sport is a danger, obviously. I mean, I hope that it isn't like that, but it's the sort of thing that might happen."



Honda quit Formula One in December due to the global financial crisis while BMW have announced they are leaving at the end of the season.



The governing International Automobile Federation said at the Belgian Grand Prix on Sunday that they were investigating "alleged incidents" at an unnamed previous race.



The FIA gave no details about the incidents and did not say who had made the allegations.



However media reports originating in Brazil said the focus was on the sport's first night race staged in Singapore last September.



Double world champion Fernando Alonso won that race, his first in more than a year and from 15th place on the starting grid, after Brazilian team mate Nelson Piquet crashed and brought out the safety car.



Alonso had just refuelled at that point, a lucky break for the Spaniard who was able to come through and lead to the finish.



Renault, whose team boss Flavio Briatore co-owns English soccer club Queen's Park Rangers with Ecclestone, have made no comment on allegations that Piquet might have crashed deliberately to help his team mate.



"All I know is that Flavio is insisting that he knows nothing about it," Ecclestone told the Times, adding that the Italian was "well and truly upset".



"I think the FIA are looking into everything. They are trying to find out the reality. I suppose they would be upset if they found out that what people are assuming is true, is in fact true," he added.



"The only way you could say there is a case to answer is if there is any real evidence."



Alonso has not commented on the reports and neither has Piquet, whose father and namesake was a triple champion and won the title for Ecclestone's Brabham team in 1981 and 1983.



Renault replaced Piquet junior in August after he failed to score a point in 10 races, a parting that triggered an angry reaction from the driver who accused Briatore of being his "executioner".



"If it's just young Piquet saying this because he wants to say it, that's one thing. If, on the other hand, there's some reality to it, then it's all different," said Ecclestone.



"It will be difficult to prove. If there is something on the radio that said, `Er, Nelson, you'd better crash now,' then what the hell can they (Renault) do? It depends exactly what comes out of the investigation."



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before