Renault's two-year suspended ban from Formula One is a fair punishment for the team's involvement in the Singapore race-fixing scandal. That is the view of the FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) president Max Mosley, who felt it would have been wrong to hit the team with an immediate ban.
The World Motorsport Council heard the case on Monday that Nelson Piquet Jr had deliberately crashed in last year's Singapore Grand Prix to help create a safety car period that would benefit his teammate Fernando Alonso and allow the Spaniard to win the race. Former team principal Flavio Briatore was given a life ban from the sport by the FIA and also from managing drivers, while the former engineering head Pat Symonds received a five-year ban.
Briatore is reportedly considering legal action over the ban and told the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport: "I am distraught." But while the men involved in the plan with Piquet Jr, who had been given immunity from punishment by the authorities in return for his testimony on the accident, the team received a suspended punishment and no fine. Mosley though defended the punishments, saying: "I think it's the right decision. I think the blame has been placed where the blame should be placed.
"The penalty for Renault is disqualification, but suspended for two years, which means if they don't do something silly in the next two years, they don't have any problems. "The penalty we have imposed is the harshest one we can inflict, which is disqualification, complete expulsion from the sport. "However, because Renault have demonstrated they had absolutely no moral responsibility for what took place - that's to say Renault F1 the team didn't know, still less of course the company - it would be wrong in the circumstances to impose an immediate penalty.
"The penalty for Briatore is he can no longer be associated with the team, he can no longer be associated with the series, he can no longer come to the paddock at any FIA championship event and he can no longer manage drivers in Formula One. "In Pat Symonds's case, instead of 'for life' it is for five years because Pat did come forward and didn't lie to us. He has not denied it, he's admitted it. "The problem with Briatore is that he denied any knowledge of it, and continued to deny it even when it became quite clear he was involved."