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GP Week : Issue 63
F1 NEWS >> THE scandal surrounding the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix dominated the headlines over the Italian Grand Prix weekend, as details of the evidence collected by the FIA in its investigation into Nelson Piquet's allegations that the Renault F1 Team ordered him to crash on purpose, were leaked to the media. The leaks showed transcripts of Piquet's statement to the FIA, and also included alleged telemetry from the crash itself, an alleged transcript of an interview by the investigators with Renault's Technical chief Pat Symonds, and an alleged transcript of radio communications between the Renault pit wall and eventual race winner Fernando Alonso during the laps in question. This leak was condemned by Renault, the FIA and FOTA. The scandal took a new twist on Friday when Renault made its first public statement on the topic. "The ING Renault F1 Team had not commented publicly during the FIA's initial investigation into this matter," a statement read. "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." Nelson Piquet Jr responded to Renault's statement with one of his own the next day. "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," he said. "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." Before the weekend had finished, however, Briatore was involved in yet further controversy when he told a group of reporters that he had been asked by Piquet's father, Nelson Piquet Sr, to intervene in his son's personal life. Fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello, who had claimed earlier in the weekend that somebody wanted "Briatore's head," slammed the Italian's insinuations: "It is a shame for Formula 1, that is all -- from what happened and from what Briatore said yesterday. That is a shame, it is too much. It is too low a level." What appears clear now is that the idea of crashing on purpose at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix was discussed in the Renault F1 Team's pre- race briefing, although there is still heated argument over whose idea such a tactic was in the first instance. With the FIA World Motor Sport Council set to convene in Paris in the days running up to the 2009 Singapore Grand Prix, we will have our answers soon. Renault crash scandal rocks Monza weekend And now it's getting personal ... 5