Renault set to continue in Formula One

Renault set to continue in Formula One

Renault has confirmed its intention to remain in Formula One, despite the stain on their reputation caused by the Singapore race-fix scandal.

The team has also withdrawn the complaint made against Nelson Piquet Jnr and Snr of false allegations and blackmail.

The disclosures were made in documents submitted by Renault to the World Motor Sport Council, and during the hearing itself on Monday in Paris.

The team were handed a suspended disqualification from F1 over the conspiratorial plot involving Flavio Briatore, Pat Symonds and Piquet Jnr to cause a crash in last year’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Part of their written submissions read: “Renault F1 and its parent company have given serious consideration as to whether it should remain in the sport following the prejudice caused to its corporate image by the conspiracy, in addition to the existing background of financial pressures that have caused car manufacturers to withdraw.

“But it has concluded that it would like to remain in Formula One and continue to make an important contribution to the sport.”

Ali Malek QC, representing Renault in front of the WMSC, repeated the assertion the manufacturer would remain in the sport.

As Malek remarked: “We are keen to put this whole affair behind us.

“It was a ridiculous plot, a one-off, and Renault knows nothing like this can ever happen again.

“This is a black day for us, but it is our intention to draw the line, and to do everything we can to put this sad history behind us.”

Remarkably, Renault F1 informed FIA president Max Mosley the charge of conspiracy would not be contested on the morning of the Italian Grand Prix.

That was just 48 hours after Renault F1 and Briatore announced they had launched criminal proceedings in France against the Piquets.

Malek stated that what he described as “the Monza admission” was “unconditional and unequivocal,” with no intent made for “any kind of plea bargain.”

Renault F1 then wrote to the French prosecutor on Friday seeking to withdraw their complaint, although at present it is understood disgraced former team principal Briatore has yet to do so.

Malek further described Briatore as “a trusted head” who “should have killed off the ridiculous idea of causing a safety car.”

It was his submission that played a key part in what many feel was a lenient sanction against Renault, with the majority of the blame falling on Briatore.

Malek insisted Renault was a victim, by virtue of the damage done to their reputation; that the wrongdoing was confined to a trio of employees; that the manufacturer could have done nothing to prevent the incident taking place; that they responded appropriately, and that such an incident would never be repeated.

Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, feels Piquet Jnr could yet return to F1, as is the Brazilian’s intention now the saga has been concluded.

Speaking of his rival from his GP2 days, the world champion said:

“He’s a good driver and he’s had a great career, so who knows.

“For sure, there are opportunities for him in the future and I can only wish him the best.”

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