Renault is understood to be under investigation by Formula 1's governing body the FIA for 'alleged incidents' at a previous race – believed to be the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.
According to Reuters
, the FIA has revealed that 'an investigation is underway regarding alleged incidents at a previous Formula One world championship event', and whilst no further details were given, it is widely held that the event in question was the inaugural race held around the Marina Bay street circuit in the Far-Eastern city-state just under a year ago.
The floodlit grand prix was won by double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso, but the Oviedo native was lucky to benefit from a timely safety car period after qualifying woes had left him down in 15th on the starting grid. The safety car emerged on lap 14, just after Alonso had made his first pit-stop, and the ensuing flurry of pit visits from his rivals promoted the 28-year-old into the lead, from where he would never look back.
The safety car intervention was caused by an accident for the Spaniard's then Renault team-mate Nelsinho Piquet, and at the weekend Brazilian TV station Globo
reported that Piquet had been ordered to crash into the wall by his team, in order to vault Alonso up the pecking order.
At the time, Piquet refuted suggestions that he had crashed deliberately, insisting that he had merely been pushing too hard, but it is understood that fresh evidence has since come to light.
Piquet was sacked mid-season by the French outfit ahead of the European Grand Prix in Valencia earlier this month, prompting a vitriolic war of words in the media between the Brazilian and Renault F1 managing director Flavio Briatore. The former accused the Italian of being his 'executioner' and a man 'with no friends' who 'thinks only about money' and 'doesn't understand s**t about F1' [see separate story – click here
], describing his stint at Renault as 'the worst period of my career'.
Briatore subsequently hit back in stringently denying his former driver's contention that he was never treated equally within the team and arguing: “When a driver lacks results, he opens the book of excuses and begins. The fault is the weather, a spectator's sunglasses, a spin on the straight, this and that...”
It is not the first time Renault has fallen foul of the FIA in 2009, following Alonso's wheel-shedding incident in Hungary.