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GP Week : 01-Sep-2009
THE Renault F1 Team is being investigated for allegedly manipulating its race win at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. Reports on Brazilian television channel TV Globo on the afternoon of the Belgian Grand Prix claimed that Renault was being investigated for allegedly ordering Nelson Piquet to crash and bring out the Safety Car during last year's inaugural F1 night race. The timing of the Safety Car period in the race, which occurred as a direct result of the Brazilian's retirement, played perfectly into the hands of his team-mate Fernando Alonso, who went on to win. Alonso had gambled on a very short 13-lap first stint in the race, and Piquet's accident occurred just one tour later on lap 14. Under 2008 Safety Car rules many drivers were caught out with having to stop for fuel when the pit-lane was officially closed. The advent of the Safety Car took Alonso from last on track into a healthy position from which he went on to post Renault's first win of the season. "An investigation is underway regarding alleged incidents at a previous Formula 1 World Championship event," an FIA spokesperson told GPWeek in Belgium, repeating the line each time further questions over the investigation were raised. Although many jokes were made at the time that Piquet's exit from the race had probably secured an extension to his contract for 2009, nobody really believed their cynicism to be based in fact. With the FIA now investigating claims that the race was in fact rigged, it could yet be proved that the cynical jokes of the F1 paddock may not have been as far- fetched as originally thought. *RenaultF1 Team personnel, including their spokesperson, had left the Spa paddock by the time this story broke on Sunday night, and despite e orts on GPWeek's part to contact them were unavailable for comment at the time of going'live'. FIA to investigate Piquet's convenient Singapore crash Nelson Piquet's spectacular exit from last year's Singapore Grand Prix helped Fernando Alonson win the race -- but was it a ruse? Li 6