Renault summoned to explain crash

Renault face an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris later this month to answer charges of potential race-fixing.

The allegation surrounds last season's Singapore Grand Prix when Fernando Alonso won the race, aided by a crash from then team-mate Nelson Piquet Jnr.



If found guilty, the team face severe sanctions which could result in them being excluded from the current Formula One world championship.

A statement from the FIA read: "Representatives of ING Renault F1 have been requested to appear before an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Monday, 21 September, 2009.

"The team representatives have been called to answer charges, including a breach of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code, that the team conspired with its driver, Nelson Piquet Jr, to cause a deliberate crash at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix with the aim of causing the deployment of the safety car to the advantage of its other driver, Fernando Alonso."



Initially, Alonso appeared somewhat fortuitous in taking the chequered flag as the double world champion had started from 15th on the grid at the sport's latest addition to the calendar.



Intriguingly, Renault had opted to fuel Alonso short for his first stint, a bizarre tactic when starting so far down and on a typical street track where it is notoriously difficult to pass.



Renault gambled on there being a safety car incident, and just two laps after Alonso made his first pit stop on lap 12, Piquet's crash turned the race on its head.



The Brazilian's moment into a wall also took place on a part of the circuit where there was no crane to hand, otherwise the field might slowly have filed past under waved yellow flags whilst it was recovered.



But with the crane on track, it necessitated the safety car, resulting in the pitlane being immediately closed.



When it eventually re-opened, virtually the entire field dived into the pits, culminating in Alonso emerging in fifth place.



Of those ahead of him, Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella pitted later, whilst Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica were penalised as they had been forced to stop when the pitlane was closed.



Alonso then inherited a lead on lap 34 he cemented with victory, Renault's first for two years, and at a time when it was strongly rumoured they were considering quitting the sport.



At the time suspicions were roused, in particular by Felipe Massa who is understood to have confronted Renault team principal Flavio Briatore, accusing him of engineering the crash.



Massa started from pole and was leading when the accident took place, with his first stop then wrecked when he pulled away too early, leaving the fuel hose attached to his Ferrari.



Piquet explained the incident away at the time that he was trying too hard, made a mistake and scraped one wall a little too closely.



Only recently Piquet was sacked by the team, with the suggestion it is the 24-year-old, or his father and manager Nelson Piquet snr, who has since blown the whistle, prompting an investigation, and now subsequent hearing.



Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone this week warned "there is going to be a lot of trouble" if the allegations are found to be true.



The FIA proved with the spygate saga only circumstantial evidence is required for them to impose strict penalties.



On that occasion they fined McLaren £50million for breaching the same article now faced by Renault.



Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week