More F1 Controversy – Renault and the Piquets

Nelson Piquet Jnr and Fernando Alonso, Renault...
Image by Paul Genge via Flickr

As the paddock spats between sport regulators, owners, hangers-on, wannabes and teams die-down, another controversy has popped up at Renault, where released team driver Nelsinho Piquet is under threat of legal action from his former marque. Media comment has focused on accusations from Piquet Jr. of race fixing following Fernando Alonso’s win at last season’s Singapore Grand Prix. Nelson took a nasty spin as Alonso entered the pits, forcing out the safety car to bunch up the field and releasing the Spaniard just in time to capitalise on the slowdown, ultimately taking the race against the form book.

Team orders, subterfuge, irregularities and outright cheating in Formula One ? How unusual ! Yet any team guilty of encouraging such a dangerous high-speed crash amidst this most dangerous of activities, and on a closed street circuit, deserves serious sanctions. But is it true ? The circumstances – however fortunate for Renault and potentially suspicious to others – don’t necessarily point to a grand evil plot from Renault. Piquet Junior has struggled with his form continuously and, despite his father’s guidance and support, never really broke into the top stream of drivers last season or this. He was no doubt devastated at being dropped.

Whatever the truth of the situation, Team Owner Flavio Briatore is standing-to his legal guns and the gravity of the story and its associated innuendo will mean this will shoot straight into the media spotlight. It threatens to eclipse the drama of the remaining 5 races and the defense of his championship lead by Brit Jensen Button. The racing has certainly been as exciting as ever and it remains a brave pundit who calls the results of each race in advance of any chequered flag, team orders or not.

All part of the intrigue that is Formula One racing these days but one can only hope that ‘sport’ reigns ahead of celebrity and scandal. Regardless, Monza this weekend should prove entertaining.

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