Whale the mud-slinging between the powers to be at the “Reggie” and “Nielsen Ho” have been getting pretty outrageous! As Nelson Piquet Junior’s “leaked” sworn statement painted a pretty bad picture towards Renault F1 Boss “Flavour Flav” (Briatore) and Pat Symonds, who both reportedly asked the young Brazilian F1 Piloto to purposely crash his car in Singapore in order for Fernando Alonso to win the inaugural night race in 2008. (And as we all known now, both Briatore & Symonds have left the Renault Building…)
Nelson Piquet's FIA statement revealed
As mentioned before, the Renault/Benetton affair has been copiously involved in several rules infractions over its time in Formula 1. As recall that Benetton was found to have illegal “launch” software imbedded on its B194 challenger, along with the Hockenheim pit lane fuel fire and the Spa underbody plank incident to name just a few incidents, while Renault was caught red-handed with McLaren technical documents on its computers.
Yet in all of these incidents, the team got off fairly light-handed, since the team was fined a sum of $100,000 for not having provided the software codes to the FIA in the required time, of which rival McLaren was also found guilty of, albeit the hidden launch codes were deemed to be deactivated.
The Hockenheim pit fire, in which Professor Steve Matchett was a participant in, was ultimately deemed to be the fault of a “Junior” racing employee for having removed a fuel filter, while Michael Schumacher’s Belgian GP victory was disallowed due to his underside FIA legality plank having been worn too thin, even if caused by an on track spin.
Meanwhile, other teams have also been caught seeking an “Unfair Advantage,” as obviously the most severely punished team in history is McLaren in the 2007 “Stepney-Gate” incident involving the transferring of Ferrari technical documents for which they were fined an OBSCENE $100 Million! (Along with their Constructors points being disallowed.) Whilst Renault basically had its knuckles wrapped for a similar incident.
Yet I recall cheering loudly when the Woking based squad was busted for having the sealed Mercedes Benz engine tabs discovered broken and fined a paltry $50k.
But does anybody recall that a quarter of a century ago, in 1984 that Tyrrell was caught reportedly “Cheating” by running a “Suspect” 3.3 liter water injection tank that was theoretically believed to have lead balls inside of it which were then disposed of on track in order to run a lighter ballasted chassis. As Tyrrell was first excluded from the final three races before having its Constructors results banned for the entire 1984 season, thus losing out upon its much needed travel funs for the following year, as it was Tacoma Bureau Chief Mary Ellen who reminded me of this transgression upon reading The Complete History of Grand Prix Racing book, which sadly only covers up to the 1989 season.
And how fast we’ve all forgotten the BAR Honda’s transgressions for having been caught with an illegal fuel tank system, where like Tyrrell, the team would simply top off the tank in the waning moments of the current Grand Prix event in order to meet the FIA’s minimum weight limit.
Thus, I’d surmise that BAR Honda got off fairly light-handed when only being excluded from two rounds of the 2005 F1 season, after being disqualified from the San Marino GP, as it’s ironic that BAR Honda was born out of the ashes of Ken Tyrrell’s selling of his floundering Grand Prix operation…
BAR Honda has nothing on Team Tyrrell
And NO, I’m aware that the Scuderia is a most culpable competitor, whom seems to get its overly fair share of breaks, as the 2007 “Flexi-Gate” affair of which potentially enabled Kimi Raikkonen to win his Ferrari debut Down Under in Melbourne was mostly swept underneath the table, not to mention a Barge Board appeal. While we’re all aware of Michael Schumacher being excluded from the 1997 Drivers Championship points standings after trying unsuccessfully to knock Jacques Villeneuve off the road in order to win the Drivers Title that season.
So it’s apparent that Teams (and Drivers) do and will continue to cheat in Formula 1 and other guises of Motorsports series around the world. Yet, I find the Renault “Crash-Gate” affair to be most troubling, since it seems to undermine the validity of the sport to me, As I’d like to believe that the Grand Prix results aren’t artificially induced like some other Roundy-Round sport where “Racin’ is Rubbin’ – Y’all here? And thus it’ll be interesting to see how the World Motor Sport Council rules in today’s hearing, as it seems most probable that Flavio Briatore could have easily done what he’s accused of, while I find this potential race fixing to be utterly inexcusable…
And a far worse offense then McLaren’s “Spy-Gate” shenanigans – which means that Renaults penalty should be of at least the same outcome if NOT even more so… (Although I’d like to see the Reggie remain in F1.)