Renault F1 collapsing, Briatore and Symonds resign

Incredible news that Renault is not disputing the charges of intentionally wrecking Piquet. Flavio Briatore and chief engineer Pat Symonds have resigned their posts.

It appears that Renault knows they are busted and are doing what they can to lessen the huge penalties that are coming. It still is not clear exactly what the piece of incontrivertible evidence is, but it must be out there.

Planet-F1 posted a full transcript of Renault’s radio communication up through the point of Piquet’s crash. There’s nothing here that directly implicates them. Nor should we expect that to be the case. Certainly, Renault would not be foolish enough to say anything overt over the radio. It would be worked out ahead of time with Piquet. At the most, there would be some kind of coded signal over the radio to Piquet to tell him when to wreck. But not necessarily even that, he could know exactly which lap to wreck it and Renault works their plan around that. With that in mind, it’s interesting when reading the transcripts, how eager Symonds is to pit Alonso early. He can’t be talked out of it. If you read between the lines in the transcript, you can start to form a picture, but it’s far from a ‘smoking gun’.

Now that it appears that almost certainly, Renault is guilty, it raises a couple of questions:

1) Why, Renault, why? – It seems incredibly foolish on the surface that Renault would attempt such a thing, given the enormous downside if they were caught, and for what? A race win? Yes, any race victory is quite a big deal, but Renault was not in the running for any kind of championship. It doesn’t feel like enough to risk the whole organization for. But, Renault F1 was struggling badly at the time, and it’s possible they decided that they desperately needed a result, in order to retain support and keep the team afloat. I could buy that.

2) then you kick Piquet to the curb? Huh? – This is the one I can’t wrap my head around. Asking him to crash intentionally to effectively ‘fix’ a race result, you’ve handed Nelson Piquet a time bomb that he can detonate at any time to blow up your whole organization. With that in mind, why would you treat him so horribly, bad mouthing him and throw him off the team in the middle of the next season? Yes, his results were not there, but I still cannot imagine dumping him so unceremoniously, given what transpired at Singapore. Surely you owe him at least another season, asking him to do something that risks himself so, both his safety and his professional reputation. And getting on his bad side like this, well, now we have seen the obvious result. What gives?