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?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific