Nelson Piquet Statement About Crash-Gate Leaks

The problems for Renault F1 seem to be far more serious than anyone might have first thought. As I had first predicted after the Belgian Grand Prix, it was Nelson Piquet Jr. who informed the FIA that Renault told him to crash to put Fernando Alonso in a position to win. In a four page statement made to the FIA, Piquet gave details of a pre-race meeting between himself, Flavio Briatore (Renault team principal), and Pat Symonds (director of engineering) that outlined their plan for the race. Piquet’s full statement and analysis after the jump.

The highlight of Piquet’s statement is as follows:

At the time of this conversation I was in a very fragile and emotional state of mind. This state of mind was brought about by very intense stress due to the fact that Mr Briatore had refused to inform me of whether or not my driver’s contract would be renewed for the next racing year (2009) as is customarily the case in the middle of the year (around July or August). […]

After the meeting with Mr Symonds and Mr Briatore, Mr Symonds took me aside to a quiet corner and, using a map, pointed me to the exact corner of the track where I should crash. This corner was selected because the specific location of the track did not have any cranes that would allow a damaged car to be swiftly lifted off the track, nor did it have any side entrances to the track, which would allow a Safety Marshall to quickly move the damaged car away from the track. Therefore, it was felt that a crash in this specific position would be nearly certain to cause an obstruction on the track which would thus necessitate the deployment of a safety car in order for the track to be cleared and ensure the safe continuation of the race.

Mr Symonds also told me which exact lap to cause the incident upon, so that a strategy could be devised for my team mate Mr Fernando Alonso. […]

I intentionally caused the crash by letting go of control of the car just before the relevant corner. In order to make sure I would cause the incident during the correct lap, I asked my team several times via the radio to confirm the lap number, which I would not normally do.

It does seem very incriminating for Renault. Their policy of keeping silent on this matter hasn’t done them much good right now because all the cards are stacked against Renault.

The team has been called to a hearing on September 21st with the FIA. Given the punishment handed to McLaren for the 2007 Spygate, I think that if Renault can’t come up with a good defence, a several race ban would likely be the lightest punishment they could escape with. It’s also interesting to note that Renault is currently on the fence as to whether or not they should pull factory support for the team. If the team were to receive a massive punishment as a result of this hearing, you can add Renault to the list of manufacturers that have pulled out of F1.

A scan of Piquet’s full statement can be found below.

Source: F1 Fanatic

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