Fernando Alonso has claimed that, had his Renault team instigated extreme tactics to enable him to win last year's Singapore Grand Prix, he was unaware of them.
Motorsport's governing body, the FIA, is currently investigating allegations that Renault team management instructed the recently-sacked Nelson Piquet Jr to crash in the early stages of the inaugural Singapore race so that Alonso - who had broken down in qualifying and was running a surprisingly light fuel load at the start of the race - could benefit from the ensuing safety car period. The Spaniard, being the only driver to have refuelled at the time of Piquet's accident, went on to win the race at a time when many believed Renault's future F1 participation to be in doubt.
Piquet, who was released from his contract after the Hungarian GP, has himself added fuel to the fire by endorsing the claims of a 'fix' in a recent statement to the FIA.
"During the Grand Prix of Singapore, I was asked by Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds to deliberately crash my car in order to positively influence the performance of the ING Renault F1 Team," the Brazilian, who claims to have been in a 'very fragile and emotional state of mind' at the time, admitted, "I agreed to this proposal and caused my car to hit a wall and crash during lap thirteen/fourteen of the race.
"The proposal to deliberately cause an accident was made to me shortly before the race took place, when I was summoned by Mr Briatore and Mr Symonds in Mr Briatore's office. Mr Symonds, in the presence of Mr Briatore, asked me if I would be willing to sacrifice my race for the team by 'causing a safety car'. Every F1 race driver knows that the safety car is deployed on a track when there is an accident which leads to the track being blocked either by debris or a stationary car, and where it is difficult to recover a damaged car, as was the case here."
Alonso, however, denies that he was in on the plan, despite the light fuel load that he was given to start the race on raising a few eyebrows up and down the paddock.
"It is difficult to understand all this situation, all these investigations," he told reporters at Monza, "I am very surprised. I cannot imagine these things or this situation."
The Spaniard, who is rumoured to be on his way to Ferrari next season, also admitted surprise that Piquet had gone public with his claims.
"We were team mates for a year-and-a-half, and I never had a problem with him," the double world champion, now partnered by rookie Romain Grosjean, insisted.
Renault, which only recently escaped a one-race ban for allowing Alonso to rejoin the Hungarian race with a loose wheel, is scheduled to appear before the FIA World Motor Sport Council on 21 September. Team members, including Alonso, have already been questioned about the incident and provided statements for the WMSC's consideration ahead of the hearing.