Renault taking legal action against Nelson Piquet 11 Sep 2009
Renault announced on Friday that they have started criminal proceedings against former driver Nelson Piquet and his father, the three-time world champion of the same name, relating to allegations that Piquet deliberately crashed in last year's Singapore Grand Prix.
Renault will appear before the FIA's World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) later this month to answer charges that the team conspired with Piquet to cause an intentional accident with the aim of causing the deployment of the safety car to the advantage of their other driver, Fernando Alonso, who went on to win.
Now Renault are claiming that Piquets Junior and Senior have made false allegations relating to the matter and that they attempted to blackmail the team into allowing Piquet to retain his drive for the remainder of 2009.
Piquet retired from Formula One racing's inaugural night race after hitting the wall on Lap 14, just after Alonso had made his first pit stop. The subsequent safety-car period helped vault the Spaniard, originally 15th on the grid, to the front end of the field.
Responding to Renault's claims, Piquet commented: "Regarding the current FIA investigation, I confirm that I have co-operated fully and honestly with the sports governing body. Because I am telling the truth I have nothing to fear, whether from the ING Renault Team or Mr Briatore and whilst I am well aware of the power and influence of those being investigated, and the vast resources at their disposal, I will not be bullied again into making a decision I regret.
"I have every confidence in the FIA investigation and World Motor Sport Council and I will be making no further comment until the conclusion of the hearing of 21 September 2009."
FIA President Max Mosley confirmed at Monza on Friday that Piquet will face no action personally from Formula One racing's governing body, assuming he cooperates fully and truthfully with any enquiries. Mosley also said there was no suggestion that Alonso had any involvement in the alleged conspiracy.
The full statement from Renault:
"The FIA has announced that it is to hold an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council ('WMSC') on 21 September 2009. The ING Renault F1 Team is to attend that meeting and answer allegations that members of the team conspired with Nelson Piquet Jnr to cause a deliberate accident at the 2008 Singapore GP, so that Fernando Alonso might benefit from the resulting safety car.
"The ING Renault F1 Team had not commented publicly during the FIA's initial investigation into this matter.
"However, today the ING Renault F1 Team and its Managing Director Flavio Briatore personally, wish to state that they have commenced criminal proceedings against Nelson Piquet Junior and Nelson Piquet Senior in France concerning the making of false allegations and a related attempt to blackmail the team into allowing Mr Piquet Jnr to drive for the remainder of the 2009 season. The matter will also be referred to the Police in the UK."