PARIS // Renault blamed departed team bosses Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds for the Formula One race-fixing controversy today and said their behaviour should not reflect on the carmaker or the sport. "I don't know all the details but there was a fault and a fault requires a sanction," the Renault chief operating officer Patrick Pelata told French radio station RTL a day after the two men left the team.
"Flavio Briatore considered he was morally responsible and resigned. "We will know more about the details after what will happen on Monday with the FIA. For the moment we have assumptions but it is clear that basically there was a fault," added the executive. "We don't like this, nor do we want a fault by two people to reflect upon the whole company and the entire Formula One team." Renault will appear before the governing International Automobile Federation in Paris on Monday charged with ordering their former Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet Jr to crash deliberately in Singapore last year to help teammate Fernando Alonso win the race.
Possible sanctions include being kicked out of the championship. Piquet, who lost his place at the team in August, has told the world body that he was told what to do in a meeting with Symonds and Briatore. The Singapore race came at a time when the team was desperate for success, without a win all season and Renault mulling their future in the sport. Double world champion Alonso was also talking to Ferrari about a possible switch.
Pelata would not be drawn on the French manufacturer's continuing involvement in the sport and the possibility that they could walk away. "This is not the debate today. We will have it calmly," he said. "Formula One is the world's most-watched show and you have to respect that. Formula One has been in the vanguard of progress for car technology. "It is probably not the case at the moment, but it could be again and it is always what Renault have tried to do."