/ 16 September 2009

Briatore quits Renault F1 team

Team chief Flavio Briatore on Wednesday sensationally quit the Renault Formula One team, which has been hit by serious allegations of cheating at last year’s Grand Prix in Singapore, the team announced in a statement.

Renault said in a short statement that Briatore and Pat Symonds, the director of engineering, had both left the team ahead of a meeting Monday with the sport’s world ruling body the FIA to explain recent allegations of race-fixing.

Renault have been summoned to appear before the FIA’s International Motor Sport Council in Paris on September 21 to answer claims by Nelson Piquet junior that he was asked by Renault to crash deliberately during the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, so giving a race-winning advantage to his team-mate Spaniard Fernando Alonso.

If Renault are found guilty of race-fixing, they could be expelled from the sport for the role they played in an affair which has been dubbed ‘crash-gate’.

The team had denied all of the claims made against them by Piquet junior, who was dismissed by the team in July after being told he had failed to perform to expectations.

But on Wednesday Renault appeared to partly admit some role in the controversy by saying in the statement they ”would not contest the FIA’s recent allegations concerning the Singapore Grand Prix”. — AFP