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
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory