Framed By The Frogs

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No, not my words, these are from Simon Barnes, Chief Sportswriter of The Times when commentating on the so called 'Crashgate' incident involving the ING Renault F1 Team and Nelson Piquet, Jr at the 2008 Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix.

In a sworn statement to the FIA, Formula 1's governing body, Piquet said that he was asked to crash his car by the head of the Renault's F1 team, Flavio Briatore and the team's Technical Director, Pat Symonds.

The reason for such an extraordinary and potentially deadly request?  Allegedly so that the race would be suspended temporarily. This ploy would allow Piquet's teammate and F1 Championship contender Fernando Alonso to catch up with the race leaders as all the competitors would have to follow a safety car slowly (by F1 standards) around the Singapore track whilst the wreckage of Piquet's car was cleared away.

Piquet claimed that he was even told by the Renault F1 Team people about which corner to stage the crash in order to maximise the impact on the race and thereby give his teammate Alonso the best advantage from it.

The Renault F1 Team managed to cover up what had really happened until Piquet was dropped by the team in August 2009 and then spilled the beans on the cheating.

Attempts were then made by Renault F1 people to try and gag and discredit Piquet by filing criminal complaints with the French police, suggesting that Piquet had tried to use the allegations to blackmail the F1 team into retaining him when he was dropped.

However, at a subsequent FIA investigation Renault F1 did not dispute the charges made against it and was banned from Formula 1, with the sentence suspended for two years.

Read the article by Simon Barnes of The Times ...

Read Nelson Piquet, Jr's statement ...

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