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Renault gets two-year suspended ban in 'Crashgate'

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-09-24

The FIA, Formula One's governing body, has handed Renault a two-year suspended ban for fixing last year's Singapore Grand Prix. Former team boss Flavio Briatore has been banned from the sport for life.

The Renault Formula One team were on Monday handed a two-year suspended ban for ordering their driver Nelson Piquet Jr to crash in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.

The verdict was handed down by the sport's governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA), after a one-and-a half-hour hearing at their Paris headquarters on Monday.

Renault were in the dock for conspiring with Piquet to cause a deliberate crash to help the Brazilian's teammate, Fernando Alonso, win the race.

The French outfit could have faced permanent exclusion from the sport over the “Crashgate”, as the affair became known, but escaped that ultimate sanction after the departure of Piquet, team boss Flavio Briatore and chief engineer Pat Symonds.

Renault 'rudderless'

FRANCE 24's Louis Massie said that although the verdict could have been much worse, Renault still faces an uphill battle to get back to the top in Formula One.

"It looked earlier in the day that Renault would be facing a huge ban," he said. "But it looks like they have got away with it and they will be free to compete next year.

"But Renault are going to lose their top sponsor at the end of the season and their driver Fernando Alonso is expected to sign with Ferrari next season.

"And having lost Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds, the two linchpins of their technical team, they really are rudderless at the moment."

As well as Renault's suspended ban, Briatore himself was handed an "unlimited" ban from the sport while Symonds was suspended for five years.

Piquet and Alonso were among those who appeared before the FIA hearing after which the 26 members of the World Motor Sports Council met to decide what action to take.

Alonso was cleared of any involvement in the conspiracy.

Date created : 2009-09-21