Tuesday, 22 September 2009

How guilty

So the FIA have come to a decision over the Renault team’s Singapore Grand Prix heist. Its difficult to find anyone who does not agree with the WMSC’s summation: "The World Motor Sport Council considers Renault F1’s breaches relating to the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix to be of unparalleled severity."

After all, lives were put at risk.

But ‘Unparalleled’? Well if the ‘breach’ is so much worse than, say, Schumacher’s attempt to take the world title by driving his opponent of the road, or even ,dare I say, McLaren’s ‘economy with the actualite’ in Melbourne, then you’d expect the FIA to be down on Renault like a tonne of bricks, a long ban, and huge fine.

Didn’t happen did it. Renault blamed their guys on the ground and get a slapped wrist, and the world’s press reports “Renault escape with suspended sentence” and looks for the nasty political truth.

Its not hard to find. On the face of it F1 needed Renault; both entrant and supplier to engines, so some sort of deal was worked out which involved Pat Symonds and the colourful Flavio Briatore being the fall-guys.

Compare this to 2007’s 'spygate’ saga, which enabled the FIA (aka Max Mosley) to drive Ron Dennis out of F1. At worst McLaren were passive recipients of Ferrari information provided by a disgruntled Ferrari team member. No one’s life was endangered and in spite of the FIA trawling though terrabytes of data they were unable to prove any benefit to the team whatsoever. Only the Spanish drivers (De la Rosa and Alonso) and a couple of team members knew of the information source, they even kept it from Hamilton.

Now I and most of the F1 world are happy to believe Dennis was kept in the dark and only heard about it when the petulant Alonso tried to use the information to blackmail Ron into favouring him over Hamilton.

However, in this case Max Mosley's judgement contained the view that 'On balance' he 'suspected' McLaren management knew about this, and that the team owners were going to carry the can. To the tune of $100m, and all their points.

Of course it wasn’t that at all, it was simply the endgame in the despicable pervert Mosley’s destruction of anyone who dares ridicule him. Well someone spilt the beans to the News of the World allowing them to set up the sting.

To recap: Piquet Jnr, initiates and then takes part in the cheat. He says nothing until months later and then only as a revenge on Briatore for being sacked. But the FIA were told in October last year; the chief steward Charlie Whiting in particular but did or said nothing and Max bided his time. Its also pretty difficult to believe that other Renault team members didn’t know by that stage either; Flav and Symonds managed to blindside the FIA and snatched a race out of thin-air, I’msure they would have smugly told a few favoured teamates once they thought they were getting away with it. Certainly Piquet senior knew and kept quiet and at the time there were eyebrows raised over the serendipitous timing of Junior’s accident.

Against a background of dark threats from Flavio last year about Mosley’s dark secrets, he (Flav) makes the mistake of firing the underperforming and mentally shattered Piquet Jnr. The war of words is pretty unpleasant and growing in vindictiveness. Spanky spots his opportunity to put Briatore to the sword and that exactly what happens.

In reality it was a vendetta by the old pervert against Briatore, just as 'spygate' was a campaign to destroy Dennis. Don't underestimate Mosley's hubris - that is the real reason why F1's condemnation of Renault has been so muted.

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