New spin on Piquet's crash in S'pore F1......... - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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New spin on Piquet's crash in S'pore F1.........

New spin on Piquet's crash in S'pore F1

(SINGAPORE) Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned - or, it seems, a struggling F1 driver unceremoniously dumped by his team.

One of them has plunged the racing world into a new cheating crisis with suggestions that he was ordered to crash his car to help a team-mate win at last year's inaugural Singapore Grand Prix.

The driver in question is Nelson Piquet Jr. Sacked recently by Renault team boss Flavio Briatore, he is said to be at the heart of a sensational story of intrigue and underhand tactics.

Piquet - not officially named, but widely identified as the driver in question - was allegedly ordered to deliberately crash his car at the Singapore event, thus bringing out the safety car. The ensuing chaos propelled his team-mate Fernando Alonso to the chequered flag at F1's first-ever night race.

After this revelation - which was reported by a Brazilian TV station during last Sunday's race at Spa Francorchamps - the FIA (the International Automobile Federation and Formula One's governing body) said it had opened an investigation.

'The FIA can confirm an investigation is under way regarding alleged incidents at a previous Formula One world championship event,' said a spokeswoman at the Belgian Grand Prix. No other details were forthcoming but two websites have named the Singapore Grand Prix as the event.

For those who were too busy soaking up the party atmosphere at last year's Singapore race, here's a recap of that dramatic moment - and a theory of what might have actually happened.

Alonso had qualified in a disappointing 15th place. Renault gave his car an ultra-light fuel load for a quick getaway at the start and hoped the safety car would come out just after he made an early pit-stop. On lap 15, that was exactly what happened when Piquet hit the wall at the NDP floating platform.

This forced Alonso's rivals into the pits in the wake of the safety car while the Spaniard was able to build up a lead without having to stop.

Back then, Piquet said he spun off because he was pushing too hard. It seems he is changing his tune now that Briatore has given him the boot.

Not everyone is buying it, though.

'This is the first time I've heard about a conspiracy theory regarding that crash,' says a senior executive of race promoter Singapore GP in genuine surprise. 'Rumour and innuendo have always been part and parcel of Formula One but this seems a bit far-fetched. That incident looked like he just lost the car.'

He says one reason for this was the way Piquet's car had come to grief.

'If you review the footage, it wasn't a soft impact,' says the executive. 'If I had been told to crash and I had no choice in the matter, I would have hit a plastic safety barrier instead of a concrete wall.'

But assuming the crash had been intentional, it must have been a big gamble by Renault that somehow managed to pay off by a really long shot. To start with, there was no certainty of Alonso advancing from way back on the grid into a point-scoring position among the top eight. So does that make it blatant cheating or merely creative race strategy?

However that pans out, though, it won't be helping Renault's image much. Adding to the ignominy of a potential racing scandal is the fact that it is set to lose both its star driver and a big sponsor by year-end.

The once free-spending ING is pulling out at the end of this season, while Alonso is heading for Ferrari at around the same time. Without both, Renault will look more like a rag-tag outfit instead of the champion team it once was.

Piquet is silent over the latest storm, though he has gone on record before, labelling Briatore his 'executioner' and raging at the favourable treatment that Alonso reportedly received.

This new twist was an accident just waiting to happen.

New spin on Piquet's crash in S'pore F1
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